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Sustainability & the Hidden Health Risks in Plastics

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As summer with picnics, camping, hiking, games, and other outdoor activities is upon us, single-use plastics are a tempting convenience. But there are hidden health risks in plastics making sustainable living more healthy and important than ever.

From straws to plastic water bottles and in so many other areas, plastic has inserted itself into just about every part of modern-day living. Take a moment to glance around and notice the plastic that surrounds you. I’m sitting in a chair made mostly of the stuff, ticking away at a plastic keyboard, and staring at a shiny screen that wouldn’t exist without the plastics that have made so many innovations possible and cost-effective in our modern world.

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As tempting as it would be to vilify all plastic as toxic filth that should be banned from our lives entirely, it does have its place in the electronics we rely on in this age of communication, information, entertainment, and education. Even solar panels used to conserve the sun's energy and provide greater sustainability and cleaner air are made up of plastic components. We must make the best of what we have and work to do our part to recycle, reuse, upcycle, and to utilize our devices until they can’t be used any longer.

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No place in Food

In the meantime, there is one role plastics have come to fill that should be vilified and banned. Plastics with BPA should have no place in food. Unfortunately, plastic seems to have taken to this part too well. It surrounds bread, lines tin cans, holds drinking water, and is wrapped around just about every food imaginable. We even tear off plastic in the produce aisle to “protect” our fresh fruits and vegetables from the cart and other food. Then we serve that food on plastic plates, fill up plastic pitchers, use plastic utensils, and drink from plastic glasses.

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The molecules used to harden or soften plastics so they can be more readily used are actually very similar to the hormones our bodies rely on to carry out essential biological functions. BPA has received a lot of attention lately, but it is not the only chemical to worry about in plastic. There are BPA, BPS, phthalates, adipates, styrene, and more.

Plastics, BPA, and the Endocrine System

All these compounds mimic hormones that disrupt the endocrine system. This vital system communicates via hormones to control growth, development, sexual function, and other important processes within the body. These synthetic chemicals attach to cell receptors and alter the normal and natural progression of our endocrine system. BPA alone has been the focus of hundreds of recent studies to see how it affects the endocrine system. The results have been frightening.

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BPA has been linked to early breast development, a risk factor for breast cancer, infertility, egg defects, lowered sperm count, deformities in the urethra, hyperactivity, attention deficit, sensitivity to drugs of abuse, obesity, and cancers including leukemia, testicular, breast, and prostate. This is troubling as one study showed 93% of children and adults in 2003 to 2004 had BPA present in their urine. This is why it is important to increase recovery and stamina with detoxifying electrolytes and antioxidants like those found in Sunwarrior's Liquid Light. And it's important to look for the words BPA-free on lables containing food products.

BPA and Obesity

Our body has a defense system in place to deal with toxins when there are too many to be easily dealt with by the kidneys and the liver. Our body dumps them into fat cells to keep them out of the bloodstream where they can do more harm. This contributes to the obesity problem the world is facing. There have even been studies that show these endocrine disruptors can switch normal connective tissue cells into fat cells. This isn’t how fat should be stored. It is a last-ditch effort to remove toxins. The cells that contain these chemicals are then unable to function properly. It also means those who lose weight quickly are subjecting themselves to massive amounts of toxins—just another reason for the yo-yo effect of dieting. The body naturally starts shoving the avalanche of chemicals back into fat cells.

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How to Reduce Plastic Use and Live BPA-free

There is still some hope for us to redeem ourselves. Begin today; eliminate as much plastic from your foods and beverages as possible. You probably won’t be able to get rid of it all, but a step in the right direction will help. When you buy foods that come in plastic packaging, make certain to always check for the words BPA-free.

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Ditch the Bottle and Plastic Storage Containers

Drop the plastic bottles as much as possible when it comes to liquids. Use glass and stainless steel to store food in your fridge. Use glass or stainless steel for your water bottle. Get a good filter to help remove toxins from the water you drink.

Choose Fresh

Drink plenty of fresh fruit juice and eat organic fruits and vegetables. The vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and antioxidants in these will help cleanse and clear out the chemicals. Choose fresh or dried foods over canned. A good fulvic acid complex is also a great addition to aid the body in removing unwanted synthetic invaders.

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Get Reusable

Reusable straws and cutlery and reusable grocery bags like Sunwarrior's jute tote go a long way toward whittling away the mountain of plastics towering over our society. Start with one source of plastic in your life, eliminate it entirely, and then slowly pick away at your plastic addiction by adding new plastic items to eliminate from your daily use.

Your body is actually very good at protecting you and removing harmful materials if you just help it along a little. Give it a break now and again and it will thank you. The earth feels the same way. Give it a break and it will thank you.


Sunwarrior, detoxify, antioxidants, Liquid Light, Vegan, health


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