Main photo by Karina Tes on Unsplash
Plastic-free July is a global movement that is working on creating a solution to reduce plastic pollution.
Plastic is polluting our streets, oceans and communities as well as having a huge effect on our health.
On average people consume roughly 5g of plastic each week. This is about the weight of a credit card according to Australian researchers, and equivalent to 250g per year. Most of the plastic enters our body through the micro-plastics that we ingest. The amount of micro-plastics varies depending on where you live. For example, water in Lebanon and the United States contains the high levels. High levels of exposure to micro-plastics can affect the lungs, liver, brain cells, and endocrine system.
You are likely to be exposed to many plastic products every day as nearly everything that we purchase comes in some sort of plastic packaging. Research suggests that all plastics leach chemicals, especially if they are scratched or heated. Exposure to these chemicals known as bisphenol A (BPA) can cause serious health problems.
BPA is a weak synthetic oestrogen known as xenoestrogen. Plastics oestrogen-like activity makes it a big hormone disruptor by blocking or mimicking your body’s normal hormone balance. Sources of xenoestrogens are not limited to just plastics but include pesticides chemicals and contaminated foods and liquids.
The physiology of the reproductive system is complex however the action of xenoestrogens is thought to mimic the effects of oestrogen and trigger their specific receptors, or bind to the hormone receptors and block the natural hormones.
It is likely to be impossible to avoid all plastic products since we are exposed to plastic in so many different ways but we can reduce our exposure to plastics. Here are some tips to reduce your exposure to plastics:
- Carry your own glass, steel, or ceramic water bottle.
- Don’t cook food in plastic containers.
- Avoid covering food with plastic wrap, instead, put food into a glass container with a lid.
- Change plastic storage containers to glass storage containers. Or alternatively, choose BPA free plastic containers.
- Look closely at the plastics with the number 7 recycling symbol. These contain BPA.
Erin O’Hara is the owner of Golden Yogi. She has a BSc in Physiology and BNatMed in Naturopathy. She has spent over a decade gathering knowledge and qualifications in health and wellness through; study, scientific research, personal illness, racing as a professional athlete, and an intrinsic passion for health naturally.