Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Plastics, Synthetic Fragrances and Canned Food, Oh My!

If you're not a chemist, words like "phthalate" (thal-ate) and "Bisphenol A" probably aren't part of your everyday vocab. Considering you likely ingest or absorb (through your skin) these toxins every day, becoming more familiar with the phthalate and BPA products in your life will allow you to protect your family with safe alternatives.

BPA and Phthalates Hurt Your Body
Click on the links below for clear-cut exposés and articles which explain that BPA -- a chemical used to create plastics and line all metal food cans including soda cans, beer cans, and all canned food except the Eden Organic brand -- and phthalates --chemicals used in vinyl, soft plastics, make-up, toiletries and wherever artificial fragrances are found -- are endocrine disruptors that cause reproductive disorders and cancers (breast, testicular, ovarian, etc.), diabetes, heart disease, genetic damage and birth defects. Sadly, these chemicals have also recently been shown to pass through a mother to her baby in utero and through breastmilk (breast is still best!).
PBS Expose on BPA -
PBS Phthalate Report --
Plastics Fact Sheet --
Phthalates in Fragrances (skip down to "What is a Plasticizer Doing in My Perfume?") --

Are Your Products Safe?
Thinking that if it were that bad, it wouldn't be legal and sold in stores everywhere? Sadly, no U.S. agency polices our cosmetics industry, which means that your shampoo, perfume, make-up, body wash and other toiletries may be toxic. Check the safety rating of your products at the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep database:

Mark Shapiro, author of Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products, and What's at Stake for American Power talked to NPR, describing the United States' "wait and see" approach versus Canada's and Europe's "better safe than sorry" ban of potentially dangerous chemicals:

VERY IMPORTANT: Heat encourages these chemicals to leech out -- into your food and drink. So DO NOT: microwave your food in plastic containers; cook with plastic spoons/spatulas; wrap a warm item in plastic wrap; leave a plastic water bottle in the sun: or put hot food into a plastic/styrofoam container for storage/takeout. Get rid of your Tupperware, or at least only use it for cold items or non-food storage. Consider bringing your own safe food/drink containers to coffee shops and restaurants. At once you will be protecting yourself and reducing demand for disposable food containers. More substitute suggestions:

Where to find them:

Essential oil diffusers, burners and plug-ins
Desert Essence
Funk Butter
Castile Soap (scroll down)
Shea Butter
Stainless steel baby spoons
Enamel or Stainless Steel Dinnerware
Stainless Steel Water Bottles
Cloth Teethers
Glass or Stainless Steel Food Containers


  1. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? That's the proverbial question for those of us that for decades have used items harmful to our environment and us. Who knew???? Thanks to people like Angela who raise our conscientious level and get us to think about the toxins in these everyday products, hopefully in time we can reduce if not eliminate the effects caused by these products. I'm happy to say that this middle-aged person is heeding the warning bells and is slowly changing the products we use which hopefully will keep my family, the environment, and me from further exposure to these harmful toxins. Keep up the good work Angela!!

  2. Wow! Great blog. You really have me thinking about small steps I can take to make changes in my family's footprint. Keep them coming - even if they're not perfect! ;)

  3. you have hit the ground running with this blog this year!!

    When I was pregnant in 2008 I tried dozen of healthier lotions and soaps, terrified of what I was doing to my poor baby! I ended up throwing most of them out. Not because they didn't work but because the smell made me literally gag.

    But here I am with a sweet baby off to buy Castile soaps at the coop.

    Keep up the good work. We greenie-weenies need to stick together!