The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
April 12, 2011

BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe. Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals.

Which plastics are safe?  I get that question all the time. The Internet is full of charts listing the numbers of the various types of plastic and explaining which ones are safe and which ones are not.  Supposedly, #2 (high density polyethylene), #4 (low density polyethylene), and #5 (polypropylene) are safe, right?  Does that mean the lid on my travel mug is safe?  It’s #5 polypropylene.

stainless steel travel mug with polypropylene lid

So is the sport cap on Michael’s Klean Kanteen water bottle.

Klean Kanteen water bottle with plastic sport cap

We’re supposed to avoid plastics #3 (PVC), #6 (polystyrene), and #7 (polycarbonate). Polycarbonate is the plastic that is made from the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). And BPA has a bad rap because it’s a hormone-disruptor. Walk down the aisles of any drug store these days, and you’ll find rows of plastic products labelled BPA-Free.  BPA-Free water bottles…

BPA-free water bottle

Baby bottles…

BPA-free baby bottle

Pacifiers…

BPA-free pacifier

In fact, entire shelves of baby products are labelled BPA-free.  Are they safe?

BPA-free baby products

Plastic #1 (polyethylene terephthalate), the type of plastic that disposable water bottles are made of, is not made with BPA either. Is it okay to drink from?

cases of bottled water

My response: we can’t be sure any plastic is safe as long as we don’t know what chemicals are in the plastic and as long as those chemicals have not been tested.  I’ve said this over and over again.  And I’ve pointed out chemical additives that have been found to leach from “safe” plastics like polypropylene.

Now, a University of Texas study published last month in Environmental Health Perspectives confirms that hormone-disrupting chemicals leach from almost all plastics, even BPA-free plastics.

That study?  Is 33 pages.  I read the whole thing, so you don’t have to.

BPA is not the only chemical with Estrogenic Activity

BPA concerns us because it has Estrogenic Activity (EA), meaning it mimics the hormone estrogen in the body. According to the study authors, chemicals with EA have been linked to all kinds of health problems, including

early puberty in females, reduced sperm counts, altered functions of reproductive organs, obesity, altered sex-specific behaviors, and increased rates of some breast, ovarian, testicular, and prostate cancers.

Theorizing that BPA was not the only EA chemical, the authors of the study tested 455 everyday products of all different kinds of plastic from various retail sources to determine if they had estrogenic effects. Products included food wrap, deli containers, hard or flexible packaging, plastic bags, baby bottles, and reusable plastic water bottles. Most of these products were BPA-free.  But what other chemicals were in them?  Just like you and I, the researchers didn’t know.  We are, after all, talking about the plastics industry and their secrets.

The exact chemical composition of almost any commercially available plastic part is proprietary and not known. A single part may consist of 5-30 chemicals, and a plastic item containing many parts (e.g., a baby bottle) may consist of 100 or more chemicals, almost all of which can leach from the product, especially when stressed.

So, to test the products they had gathered, the researchers first extracted chemicals from the various plastic products using different solvents to mimic the types of foods/beverages the plastics might contain, and then they exposed those extracted plastic chemicals to MCF-7 cells, a type of human breast cancer cell that is receptive to estrogen. If the cells multiplied in the presence of the leached plastic chemicals, the researchers knew those chemicals were estrogenic and therefore potentially harmful to humans.

Their finding? Almost all of the plastic products tested leached EA chemicals.

Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably-detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than BPA-containing products.

Stressed Out Plastic is Even Worse

Realizing that plastics are more likely to leach chemicals when exposed to various stressors like heat or light, the researchers also tested the products after subjecting them to UV radiation (mimicking the effect of sunlight), wet heat (as in a dishwasher), and microwave radiation. As you might expect, there was more leaching of EA from stressed plastic products than from unstressed ones. In fact, in some cases, products with no detectable EA levels when unstressed were found to release EA chemicals after being roughed up a bit. Wouldn’t you?

The Point: it’s not enough for a company to test its products in an unstressed environment.  Only by exposing plastic products to the kinds of stressors it will be subjected to in real life can we know for sure whether it will leach EA chemicals or not.

Bio-Based Plastics Like PLA are Not Exempt

PLA is a kind of compostable plastic made from starch, usually corn. It’s generally touted by its manufacturers as safe simply because it doesn’t come from petroleum. So guess what. 71% of all the PLA samples tested were found to leach EA chemicals as well.

The Point: just because a plastic is made from plants doesn’t make it safe.

It’s in the Additives

The researchers also tested “barefoot” polymers, meaning pellets of the basic plastic before any other chemicals have been added to it.  And while a few of these barefoot plastics (#2, #4, and #5) did not leach EA chemicals by themselves, nearly all commercial products made from these plastics did.   It’s those darned secret additives!

The Point: it’s not enough for a company to tell you that a certain type of plastic (#2, #4, #5) is safe.  Without knowing what additives are in it, we don’t know what could be leaching out.

Some BPA Replacements are WORSE than BPA

The researchers tested baby bottles made from PES (polyethersulfone), a new plastic being used to replace BPA in hard plastic bottles.  Among others, Born Free brand bottles are made from PES.  What did they find?  Some PES baby bottles released more EA chemicals than those with BPA in them!

The researchers also tested water bottles made from PETG, a copolyester like the new Eastman Tritan which has replaced BPA water bottles.  Again, EA chemicals were found to leach from those bottles as well.

As for our good old #1 PET disposable water/soda bottles?  Big time EA leaching.

The Point: be skeptical of new plastics being developed to replace harmful ones.  And remain skeptical of old plastics too.

Are There Any Safe Plastics?

One of the study researchers works for a company called PlastiPure, which is working to develop EA-free plastics.  To do that, the company hopes to create an EA-free supply chain, requiring that all the chemicals that are added to plastics be certified EA-free as well.  Their WaterGeeks plastic water bottle is advertised as EA-free.

I had a conversation with Brent Meikle from PlastiPure last year.  I asked why go to all the trouble to develop a “safe” plastic bottle when they could just promote stainless steel or glass instead.  Brent’s feeling was that it was not practical to expect everyone to switch to stainless steel bottles, especially those involved in sports, and that plastics are here to stay, so they should be safe.

Whether or not the new EA-free plastics are safe or whether they will turn out to have other harmful health effects, the fact remains that like all petroleum-based plastics, they are not biodegradable and will cause harm to the environment when not handled properly.  I hope that PlastiPure will continue to focus on making durable plastic products rather than single-use disposables.

As for me, I’m going to stick to my stainless steel travel mug and water bottle.  No plastic water bottles for me.  But as for my plastic lid?  If it has to be plastic, I’d rather it were EA-free.

The Point: we can only act on the information we have at the moment.  Ask questions.  Remain skeptical.  But keep an open mind.

 

This post is included in the March 2012 Green Moms Carnival on toxic chemicals hosted at Groovy Green Livin’.

Leave a Reply

109 Comments on "BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe. Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals."


Guest
Bill Pickersgill
14 days 8 hours ago

” 2″ is the only acceptable number , and it’s has to be the soft plastic not the hard . Here’s how you can tell , your tongue will tell you which is better , put any other number against” 2″ of course the water should be chilled and do the experiment yourself . Better yet in the book of Job he said animals can teach us things , put a bowl of chilled water in front of a dog from water with the number 2 and any other number and the dog will pick the water from the number 2 .

Guest

[…] From the blog “My Plastic Free Life”: […]

Guest

[…] From the blog “My Plastic Free Life”: […]

Guest
sat kartar
2 months 21 days ago

looking to buy housebaot to live on and a few have replaced their steel tanks with proploylene water storage tanks…..Are they safe? not so sure although people who`ve bought them seem convinced!!

Guest
Rabi s
4 months 3 days ago

I was looking for a Ultra Filtration Membrane Filter  which is BPA free and is biodegradable. Most of the commercial available  filters  are made of poly sulpone, poly-ether sulpone ,polypropylene , which are known to leach BPA  in the water it is supposed to filter . Any recommendations ?

Guest
Justice
4 months 15 days ago

Wear cotton or leather gloves. There is a small thing called “History” that I think might help People remove plastic and other toxins from their lives. What did people use on the 1930’s or 1950’s? Alot of things can be found at a second hand store. Glass, wood, some metals or cotton sheets, etc. Quite being a slave to plastics because it’s making kids gay or confused about their gender (look at the crocodiles) that’s a fact that people in the industry would kill to suppress. Hey good luck.

Guest
Olive
5 months 9 days ago

This is not a rant towards you, but towards the way things have been established in our world in the last century. I’m about to have a baby and I’ve been researching all the things I thought I was doing right a bit more in depth and seeing how far I actually am from living chemical free. Everything is bottled in plastic. And don’t even get me started on the mattress I bought that I thought was certified to be safe, which I come to realize is a completely bullshit certification. WHY IS THIS SO HARD!? I feel like I’m going to start living in the woods under a rock, because worrying about all of the shit in everything is going to drive me off a cliff. I feel like I’m going to get sick from fear and worrying sooner than I’ll get sick from anything in any product I’m using. You need a PhD from MIT to be able to understand all of this crap. Even all of the healthy organic foods I buy are still wrapped or packaged in some kind of plastic. Unless I move to the country and have my own farm (which I would love, but is not financially feasible at this point) there is no way to avoid it all.

Guest
1 month 7 days ago

Agreed, it’s super frustrating to try and live more organic and chemical free. It shouldn’t be this hard to live as nature intended if one wants too. Humanity’s drive to create is admirable, but progress should NOT come at the expense of health. Every chemical and material manufactured should be tested, and clearly labeled with possible health concerns so people can avoid them if they want to. And chemical free options should be actively supported by those such as the FDA and other government establishments that have influence in industry. Perhaps they can give out grants to companies that are striving to be organic and find alternatives to harmful chemicals.

In the meantime, just have to do our best to avoid things that we feel are unsafe for us and our family. And maybe get other’s talking about the issues to by sharing valid blogs (that share their sources such as this one) and scientific articles . It may take a lot of people, but if enough limit or outright stop purchasing plastic products, the companies will take notice. Consumers have more power than they think sometimes; just like any fight winning can take time and it takes a lot of us to be heard.

Guest
youhurtmyears
4 months 4 days ago

Just stop. If you have a better solution, then work on it. If you don’t, then who are you griping at? We all grew up living with worse plastics and our parents even worse. I’m still here, you’re still here, Marcus Gitterle is still here and we’re all healthy (well, I am at least). Some of this stuff IS bad, but there are no links that SPECIFICALLY tie the use of some baby cup you sipped on 30 years ago and any disease you may get now or in the future. It could be genetic, it could be from some other environmental control, who knows. Things are changing, which is good. But to go all nutjob on an industry that you want to change but haven’t offered any real solutions isn’t. doing. anything.

Guest
Marcus Gitterle
4 months 11 days ago

Olive, I feel the same way, and I’m an MD whom people often turn to to answer exactly this sort of question. My stance is shifting further and further from accepting the validity of these (often manipulated) “certifications,” toward a more basic suspicion of anything material or additive that comes into contact with my kids. If were were having another baby right now, I would be hypervigilant all the time, and would probably want to use only glass, stainless steel, and so forth, for mom and baby. Breast feeding only, with avoidance of milk storage as much as possible, and when necessary, again in glass or stainless steel only. There is a clear need for a new testing standard that uses real-world scenarios (heat, light, variety of liquids, etc.) and only tests final products (not just pure, un-molded plastic), and tests for all known EA’s. Perhaps we need a third party QA organization to implement this, and publish the results openly?

Guest
3 months 8 days ago

I am highly sensitized to plastic. I had a systemic allergic reaction that left me very sick. I have lost 37 pounds and suffer daily. My doctor at one of the top medical facilities in the USA did not document that the reaction happened 1 hour after I was exposed to short cured dental acrylic. I was in the emergency room within hours. How can I get him to correctly document? I was sent to him because of the life- threatning reactions I have to plastics and he didn’t even address my severe health issues. I can’t I can’t get the dentist to disclose exactly what chemicals and curing process were used. My life is in constant danger-I am so allergic to plastics.I have contacted all the agencies I know of to get help with disclosing concerning chemicals. No one seems to be able to help. My face is numb,and my arms and legs get simi-numb when I touch plastic. How can I get correct documentation so I can get the medical help I need?

Guest
IrekJanek
7 months 8 days ago

This is a great post (btw I love the blog address too). I have been avoiding plastics for as long as I can remember, sadly it is unrealistic to eliminate them completely from our life. The one thing that we can do is to eliminate them as much as possible from our food handling, water bottle is a great start. If anybody is looking for recommendations I create a list and a mini review at http://mytop10bestsellers.blogspot.com/2014/12/top-10-stainless-steel-water-bottles.html

Guest
BPA arrgh
7 months 18 days ago

How do you know stainless steel is safe? Most of those bottles come from China and they are notorious for miss use of metals

Guest
19 days 5 hours ago

Stainless steel leaches too. The only truly safe material to use is clean glass made without lead.

Guest
IrekJanek
7 months 1 hour ago

I could never be 100% sure of all of them, but in my review there are a few that I’m about 99% sure. Personally I trust and use Klean Kanteen w/ bamboo cap. It is made from the same material that most of food industry cooking equipment manufacturers are using for their products.

Guest
collinsRyan
7 months 20 days ago

I am wondering about Cell phone Cases. There many ones that are natural wood but they break very easily. Does anyone now any great BPA cell phone cases?
Just wondering since a cell phone is something you use all day. Have a great week everybody. 
http://www.zazzle.com/holidays4you*

Guest
TheUnknown
1 month 8 days ago

I can’t believe you even own a cell phone if you’re genuinely concerned with something so small such as cell phone cases containing BPA. Cell phone radiation poses a much greater overall health risk than BPA. Basically, try to stop stressing over such little things, it just causes unnecessary stress.

Guest
BethTerry
7 months 20 days ago

This is one I have not solved.  I bought a bamboo case, and it broke immediately.  Then, I was living without a case, and I dropped my phone and broke the screen so bad it would not work.  I had to replace the phone.  So now I have a heavy duty plastic Otter case because I figure protecting the phone will save more resources in the long run than breaking it and having to replace it.  But if anyone else has a better answer, I’d love to hear it!

Guest
jaytoolman92
8 months 16 days ago

BethTerry I have heard about the different effects of drinking from certain plastic bottles before. One thing I am curious about is if reusing the plastic bottles makes them potentially more harmful than the first time? I feel like the plastic could become more stressed over the different times you put new water in. http://imperialwaterinc.com/services.html

Guest
BethTerry
8 months 14 days ago

That’s correct.  It’s not a good idea to reuse plastic bottles.

Guest
Anonynmous242
8 months 21 days ago

hashtag FirstWorldProblems

Guest
BethTerry
8 months 17 days ago

Actually, you are incorrect.  The people in this world who are the most affected by toxic chemicals are those in poor communities.

Guest

[…] Hormone-disrupting chemicals leach from almost all plastics, even BPA-free plastics. Heating the plastic (stressing it) may cause more leaching of the chemicals.  […]

Guest

[…] ik dat niet helemaal. Ik vond ook artikelen over die beweren dat alle plastics onveilig zijn. Onderzoekers toonden bijvoorbeeld aan dat alle plastic soorten hormoonverstorende stoffen lekken. Het moge duidelijk zijn dat ik geen expert ben op dit gebied aangezien ik noch bamboe, noch […]

Guest
BarleySinger
10 months 18 days ago

Sorry – editing issues.disbiosys can be the result of chemical exposure. Even good bacteria like lactobaccilis can cause arthritus like autoimmune issues if their functional state
Changes from exposure to certain molecules

Guest
BarleySinger
10 months 18 days ago

The sad thing is none of this is new information and no effort at all was made to effect change last time around. . People act as if this was new information, but I first read about the supposedly inert hard granuels of*all* known plastics testing as hormonal disrupters back in the mid 90s, as well as research into plasticers, softeners and other ingredients being far worse… back then. That was during the first push big push by breast cancer reseachers who had found tumer cell lines were mysteriously ggrowing in petri dishes without feeding them estrogen. Why? because the lab supplier had turned away from glass to plastic petri dishes.it is also true that diseases if dysbiosis are now big news and many of the add resulting autoimmune conditions that leave oeoople in misery and pain are the result of microbes reacting to man made substances in the body or dysbiosys that is caused by chemical interfierance (environmental poisoning).

Guest
Tom lyons
11 months 1 day ago

Do your everyday knifes and forks emit any chemicals

Guest
melie
11 months 24 days ago

I would like to know how much touching of a plastic for is too much.  Say a fork for instance, is eating with one say cold food too much exposure?

Guest
KinderOrganic
1 year 4 months ago

This is a brilliant post, would it be okay to share it on Kinder Organic’s blog? We have a post about BPA free products, this would compliment it as it covers other areas that we haven’t talked about. We would place a link to your blog and give you full credit! Kindly let me know if that’s okay with you? Here is our blog: http://www.kinderorganic.com/blog

Guest
melie
11 months 24 days ago

I am new to this.  Are you writing to me? Melie

Guest
BethTerry
1 year 4 months ago

Hi.  Would you please contact me to discuss via email?  beth at myplasticfreelife dot com.  Thanks for your interest!

Guest
Anahi
1 year 5 months ago

About a year ago I bought a glass bottle that I loved (bkr). Unfortunately, I broke it and I didn’t buy it again. I did decide to buy another glass bottle from another brand (takeya), but one day I thought to myself: well yes, the bottle is made of glass , but the cap is plastic! Shortly after this, I watched a video about a study like the one mentioned here (it might be the same one) and now I feel bad using my “safer” takeya glass bottle. Does anyone have any suggestions of glass bottle that don’t have plastic caps? I definitely want to invest in one, no matter how expensive. I was also thinking of using mason jars, but I am not sure if the material put on the lids to prevent things from leaking is plastic or what. I really need to do more research into this, but if anyone knows I would appreciate if you could tell me.

Guest
mojackson10
1 year 5 months ago

I haver a Klean kanteen bottle but am worried about the cap.  It’s not stainless steel does it leach some hazardous chemical?  iobviously its not bpa but this article from mother jones got me wondering http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tritan-certichem-eastman-bpa-free-plastic-safe

Guest
BethTerry
9 months 9 days ago

I don’t use the plastic Klean Kanteen cap because I don’t know what chemicals are in it.  Better safe than sorry.

Guest
1 year 5 months ago

I am wondering what you think of HPP or High Pressure Processing and the effects it has as a stressor on plastics. Pressure can of course cause heat and so I’m curious. I don’t know of any studies that have been done myself. I, myself, choose not to use plastic for my family and this most importantly included my child. But, I’m concerned about this new craze of HPP and the touted health benefits of the products that are getting packaged inside of these bottles exposed to these extreme pressures. Drinks like “raw” juice and coconut water come packaged this way and I would like to inform my otherwise aware friends. Have you seen this Mother Jones article. PlastiPure is featured prominently…http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tritan-certichem-eastman-bpa-free-plastic-safe

Guest
annonymous
1 year 6 months ago
Guest
BethTerry
1 year 6 months ago

Hi.  Stainless steel water bottles do not contain BPA.  Aluminum water bottles, which is what they tested in that study, do.  We have known for a long time that all aluminum bottles and food cans are lined with BPA or other type of plastic.  Stainless steel does not corrode and does not need to be lined.  Klean Kanteen is a good example of a safe bottle.

Guest

[…] Re: Plastic bags for quarantine I would avoid plastic for amphibians at all costs, simply because of the hormone disrupting properties of just about all plastics. Here's the study: Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved And an article to break it down: BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe. Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals. :: My Plastic-free Li… […]

Guest
marinamelissa
1 year 7 months ago

Have heard acrylic is safe – no leaching into water/food – what does your research show??

Guest
BethTerry
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t know if it can leach or not.  It would depend on the conditions it is subjected to.  And since manufacturers don’t have to disclose the additives in their plastics, we can’t necessarily know that any plastic is safe.

Guest
Water Dilemma
1 year 11 months ago

Hi, thank you, Beth for this.  I can’t decide between keeping my countertop stainless steel water filter from MultiPure or getting a reverse osmosis instead.  Plastic vs Fluoride is my dilemma.  The reverse osmosis is all plastic except for the last container.  MultiPure customer service says the NSF tested their plastic and it does not leach.  After reading your blog, I really have a hard time believing that.  What’s worse -plastic or fluoride?  Our water company says we have .84 ppm Fluoride in our water (Key West, FL).  Thank you!

Guest
Kathi G
1 year 11 months ago

Hey I am having the same issue and no one seems to have info or any ideas or answers…. (the dilemma betn. plastic and fluoride) both problems seem to be endocrine disruptors and cause issues with thyroid and cancer etc etc. from what I can see…but reverse osmosis IS the only thing that will remove fluoride… but nowhere can I find any info about what will remove plastic from water, does anyone know if there is a filtration system that removes plastic from water?  Because if there is, I will do both!

Guest
BethTerry
1 year 11 months ago

Hi. I’m not an expert on fluoride. I can only tell you that we go ahead and drink our water straight from the tap. But if you’re concerned about fluoride, you should probably filter it. You may have plastic pipes in your house, anyway.

Guest
Water Dilemma
1 year 11 months ago

Thank you!  I went with the Reverse Osmosis with MultiPure.  Come to find out, the last filter in the system is the one I already have, so at least it gets filtered through the stainless steel container one last time.  I’m asking NSF if there are any filters that are certified to filter out BPA, etc., because it’s not listed, from what I can see, on their website as one of the contaminants they check.  Thanks for the blog!  It helped a lot!

Guest
Kathi G
1 year 11 months ago

please let me know what you find out.  I have the same questions/same issues as you do. thanks

Guest
Reality Check 1
1 year 8 months ago

Kathi G Water Dilemma You”ll have to watch out Reverse osmosis also removes all the minerals and other benifits from drinking water in the first place. I asked about this to an industrial chemist and he said “stay away from them”, as when the water you drink that has been through a R/O machine has had everything stipped from it. So when you drink the water that has everything stripped from it the minerals it’s suppose to add to your body is then leached out of your body.

Guest
Somebody
2 months 22 days ago

Back in 1990’s purchased RO filter at costco. Did research and replaced second fine filter with a KDF fine filter to balance the minerals. I also started in 2007 purifying the filtered water with 1.5 drops activated mms per gallon. Cats love the water and no long have any hard stools. Water is soo smooth. Go to jimhumble.biz

Guest
jeannegoldberg
1 year 19 days ago

It seems that a ceramic filter would be perfect since it filters fluoride and doesn’t need an
outer plastic or nylon housing, but for some reason, it seems the manufacturers
just can’t seem to take that last little step to make it completely plastic-free
and just replace that plastic base/nipple at the bottom that the water passes
through with a stainless piece.
If they would replace that little bottom piece with a stainless one, it could then be
placed in a Berkey or Propur stainless carafe and it would be a completely
plastic-free system that would clean both the fluoride and chemicals out of their water and wouldn’t leach any toxins back IN in the process. Companies like Berkey and Big Brand Water filter Inc. are so close
to this- a simple stainless piece would resolve the problem and be the first
completely non-plastic fluoride-filtering system in the world.
Perhaps if all of us continue to contact these filter manufacturers and ask for this, the will take this last step and realize how many people would purchase this.

Guest
essie145
1 year 10 months ago

i’d really like to know as well.

Guest
Deb
1 year 11 months ago

I attended a school event last night, and had a disposable bottle of water. Only after drinking it did I notice the neck of the bottle was tinted a transluscent black.  !!!! What has happened?

Guest
Concerned Mom
1 year 11 months ago

Here is the other thing, the proprietary thing is horrible. It is going on with the ingredients in our food supply too Made/mixed in the USA which is supposed to make everyone feel like the actual ingredients are from the USA too. NOT TRUE! Food manufacturers have admitted they are sourcing from places like China for our food supply–horrible food safety standards there–as well as near the Fukushima nuclear power plant–the nuclear power plant that has been leak HUGE amounts of contamination into the environment for 2.5 years. That stuff causes all minds of problems from cancers, to genetic mutations causing everything from birth defects to DNA mutations that cause from that point forward inherited cancers, diabetes, heart defects, and allergies. Anything that is in a box, bottle, can or dried is fair game for thIs possibility. Made in USA is the only thing we get on the labeling but the reality is the ingredients are coming from all kinds of other places. Which ingredients are coming from these places? We have absolutely no idea so we can’t avoid it. You ask places like Kellogg’s, PEPSICo, General Mills–they own most of our food supply through all the conventional and organic brands the own–to please tell you where each of the ingredients are from in your favorite product they will refuse to tell you citing proprietary info–none of your business–stop asking questions just eat up. Check out www dot newsforyourfamily.blogspot.com click on corporate responses on the right hand side of the page. I was shocked beyond belief when I learned about all of that. Try calling the companies yourself. They will try to trick you with their first response “we are proud that all of our products are Made in the USA! Don’t be fooled. Say” No, that is not what I asked. Where are the actually ingredients I am putting in my body from?” They will then probably put you on hold for a minute or two and then they will come back with something like, “Sorry, that’s proprietary information. We can’t tell you that.” Call them yourself. See what you get.

Guest
Concerned Mom
1 year 11 months ago

Hi, great article, thank you. Here’s another HUGE issue to consider. The nuclear industry has tons and tons of radioactive waste material siting at each and every one of our our 100 nuclear reactors that can cause cancer, birth defects, etc at every single nuclear power plant around the country. The gov is allowing the nuclear industry to mix that stuff it what the industry considers “trace amounts” with supposedly “no ill health effects” into things made with metal from belt buckles, to forks, knives, and spoons, to who knows what else. Could even be the water bottles and the inside of our new fancy dishwashers too! It is insane that the gov would support this but it is going on. Stainless steel should not be radioactive. Stainless steel should be certified nuclear free.
I am struggling to find a way to transport my kids’ food as I don’t think school food is that great. Any suggestions? I do think that glass is best but is it not practical for little kids.

Guest
Jacob
1 year 11 months ago

Hi. I’m looking for a sprouting system, but most are plastic. Would a hemp bag leach any chemicals?

Guest
BethTerry
1 year 11 months ago

How about a mason jar and stainless steel screen like this? http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000N05GJW

Guest
1 year 11 months ago

I’m not very familiar with sprouting but I would think a hemp bag would be safe as long as it’s organic and GMO free.

Guest
Kathi G
2 years 23 days ago

I am new to this quest to go plastic-free and I am having trouble with finding what I really want to know….Where do people go to get their drinking (and bathing?) water that hasn’t already been exposed to alot of plastic before it even hits their water bottle?  everyone is so concerned with the vessel that they drink from.. but what about the delivery system?  Our plumbing is PVC… they plumbing at the Watermill Express (reverse osmosis station) is all plastic and the storage tanks are polyethylene.. and here in florida that whole station is exposed to alot of heat… You can’t really water at the market in glass bottles (except a a scant few and very expensive european waters but those only come in single serving sizes, not practical at all) and even if you did,  where was it before it got put into the bottle?  Does this come down to me having to have my own reverse osmosis at home and if I did that,  does that guarantee no fluoride, other toxins including plastic, antibiotics, pesticides and the like?  I am looking for more info but it seems to be hard to find…. As I said,  everyone is so focused on the actual cup or bottle that they put to their lips and by the time you put your water into THAT glass or stainless vessel it may have already had plenty of plastic leached into it…. ??  Any input on that?

Guest
BethTerry
2 years 1 month ago

Apparently, Eastman is now suing PlastiPure and CertiChem for saying that Tritan produces estrogenic activity.  To me, it feels like a David and Goliath type of case.  See what you think:  http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/08/lawsuit-filed-against-two-labs-founded-ut-austin-professor-raises-questions-conflict

Guest
Jessica N
2 years 5 months ago

I had twins 2 years ago–preemies–and I’ve become more and more aware of the plastics in our environment since then. I just realized that our DISHWASHER tub is entirely plastic, and God only knows what’s in that! I wish there was some sort of home testing kit to test for plastic chemical residue. I don’t know if my non-plastic items are being coated with chemicals with every wash or if it’s not something to worry about. Ugh.

Guest
lloyda24
1 year 1 month ago

Ever tried hand-washing?

Guest
BethTerry
2 years 5 months ago

Hi Jessica.  The dishwasher is definitely a consideration.  Ours is completely plastic inside too.  We still use it…  we don’t have kids and have decided that we just can’t worry about exposure to every bit of plastic.  We’re not buying new plastic but still using the plastic we already have.  But your mileage may vary.  You may want to hand wash.  I actually use plain baking soda for the dishes that I do hand wash.  It works great.

Guest
Human Beaing
2 years 8 months ago
Guest
Kitten
2 years 9 months ago

I really appreciate this post.  I’ve been leary of the ‘bpa free’ bottles, simply on the grounds that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  What are the chances, really, that plastics companies just happened to invent a brand-new but totally safe plastic as soon as the old ones became vilified?  Seemed far more likely that these ‘new’ plastics would have just as many problems, and now I have an easy-to-read guide to why and how to share with people.

Guest
Guest
lukeyg
3 years 1 day ago

Using a stainless steel or aluminium bottle is worse for the environment when you consider the mining and processing that goes into securing and converting the raw materials, take a look at this article here: http://www.gmagazine.com.au/features/2436/plastic-vs-stainless-steel-vs-aluminium-reusable-water-bottles

Guest
BethTerry
2 years 10 months ago

@lukeyg Drink out of plastic if you’re not concerned about chemicals leaching out.  I will use the same safe stainless steel water bottle and travel mug for the rest of my life… assuming I don’t lose them!

Guest
lukeyg
3 years 1 day ago

Using a stainless steel aluminium bottle is worse for the environment when you consider the mining and processing that goes into securing and converting the raw materials, take a look at this article here: http://www.gmagazine.com.au/features/2436/plastic-vs-stainless-steel-vs-aluminium-reusable-water-bottles

Guest

[…] Think About It: Plastic food packaging (even BPA-free plastics) have toxins in them. Here’s an easy-to-read review. […]

Guest

[…] Beth at My Plastic Free Live sheds some light on how BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe. […]

Guest
Sunday Speed | LoveLiveGrow
3 years 7 months ago

[…] BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe. Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals from Beth Terry at My Plastic-free Life is kind of depressing if you think you’re making good choices by buying BPA-free plastics. […]

Guest

[…] To continue: Plastic is plastic! Just because the manufacturer of the reusuable bottle, or the case of water bottles you purchase, tells you there isn’t any BPA (bisphenol-A, a cancer causing chemical in pretty much every plastic that doesn’t specifically say otherwise, as well as in can linings and thermal receipt paper) in their product, they DON’T HAVE TO tell you what else is in there. Seriously. So that means you really SHOULDN’T reuse these bottles. Heating the plastic generally releases the chemicals into the water you’ll eventually be drinking. More on this: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2011/04/bpa-free-does-not-mean-safe-most-plastics-leach-hormone-disrupt... […]

Guest
Food Storage Update « Living My Values
4 years 3 months ago

[…] Terry of the blog (formerly known as Fake Plastic Fish) My Plastic Free Life made this post about BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe.  In my frustration I posted this and included a link to Beth’s post.  Well, I had no idea […]

Guest
raychelle
4 years 4 months ago

Beth, have you seen this– what do you think?

http://www.waterbobble.com/

BPA-free but safe?

Thanks!

Guest
lukeyg
2 years 9 months ago

Raychelle, we looked at the Bobble Bottle, but from memory it is PET plastic – so it would be the same as reusing any bottled water bottle you buy off the supermarket shelf. We have been looking into bottles a lot, and I mean A LOT!
 
While we want to cut down on plastic in the environment and obviously avoid any health issues, we also struggle with the steel and aluminium bottles as they have such a heavy environmental foot print in the production process (and some still contain BPA http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/332291/title/Metal_water_bottles_may_leach_BPA).
 
That doesn’t give you much of a solution but I suppose some other factors to consider.

Guest
BethTerry
2 years 9 months ago

@lukeyg Yes aluminum is problematic because it, like metal food cans, always contains some kind of plastic lining. Stainless steel and glass are safe and make up for the impacts off production if you keep them and reuse them enough times.

Guest
lukeyg
2 years 9 months ago

@BethTerry thanks, do you have any stats on how many times stainless steel bottles need to be reused to balance their production footprint?

Guest

This is such important info – thank you for sharing!

Guest

[…] BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe. Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals. from My Plastic-free Life: More, more, more on plastics! (I love her blog and her commitment to being plastic-free!) […]

Guest
Olivia
4 years 4 months ago

Beth,
Yes, babies need to suck. It’s part of their development. Some older infants are fed by spoon or cup and this is often done in orphanages in the developing world because it’s harder to come by baby bottles with nipples. But for little babies it’s a complete mess. For babies who need to be bottle-fed for whatever reason, it’s not all that hard to use glass bottles (I’m doing it now) and silicone or rubber nipples.

But it’s true…we don’t need all those plastic sippy cups. This would be a great blog post BTW: disposable sippy cups. Just go to a big baby store and take some pictures. Some companies like Kleen Kanteen have come out with plastic sippy spouts for their small bottles. Too bad the spout has to be plastic of course, but at least the liquid is sitting in stainless steel.

Guest
Jennifer
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you for this great summary Beth! I’m printing out the Texas study and putting it my file as well as your blog. And @Laura — I’m printing that one out too, thanks for linking us to it. BTW, I’ve got the PPC hooked up with a section or 2 of writing students in the fall–the students will be creating an electronic toolkit to for university student activists. Maybe you could talk to them some time over Adobe Connect or Skype? Thank you again (and again!) for everything you do — your voice is an inspiration to all of us! <3 Jennifer

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Beth,
You are a great citizen of earth. I love you and really appreciate the time that you take to craft intriguing, content full and informative blog posts.
Thank you<3
Dianna

Guest
Laura
4 years 4 months ago

Thanks for the feedback. I know the scientific articles are out there, just find accessing them online to be a pain since most are not free. Interesting article coming out in the New Republic:

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you for reading the study in its entirety. I posted a bit on how to avoid BPA and steps we’ve taken as a family to avoid plastic in general (see link below). Personally, I wish there were a safe durable plastic alternative (with all ingredients disclosed and no crazy additives that has undergone rigorous testing) for when one absolutely cannot find a viable alternative. For now, I’m just trying to use less plastic.

Guest
Molly
4 years 4 months ago

Thank goodness for scientific proof. All of my colleagues have been looking at me like I’m a nut when I say that I don’t microwave plastics or put them in the dishwasher. It will be nice to be able to cite a study instead of just telling them that I don’t trust plastics to not leach icky things into my food.

Guest
Kathryn
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you for clearing up my confusion about which bottles are lined with plastic. Your blog is such a wealth of information and inspiration. So glad you’re here.

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Great post as always! Thanks for all your hard work, Beth. Srsly.

Guest
Sarah Franklin
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you for this, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the whole article myself with my two kiddos! Plus it makes it easier to share with others.

Guest
debe
4 years 4 months ago

Klean Kanteen has listened to consumers questions and suggestions and now offers a bottle with a bamboo lid.
I think avoiding pacifiers altogether is a good idea. Studies show They have and can have a detrimental effect on vocal as in language development.
As for baby bottles: Obvious first choice should be breast. Next is human milk fed with a spoon or a cup…Why would formula need a bottle? SIppy cups? No point really- have no clue why they are believed to be necessary. Plastic teethers ?? Again most stuff marketed to parents for babes and children is this plastic crap that truly is unnecessary. I am not really blaming here the parents- We all grew up with this stuff and it is so very ingrained. I am just kind of weird and have never liked having lots of stuff except books, so it has been easier for me to continue to pare down some things – Some things I have not- Wish I could find alternatives…

Guest
Is it possible to develop a long-term food storage system and NOT use plastics? « Living My Values
4 years 4 months ago

[…] disruptive than BPA.  Rather than re-tell the information here, you can check this out over at My Plastic Free Life.  (Beth Terry’s blog is my go-to source for information about trying to reduce the amount of […]

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Hey Laura,

A 2009 study done in China found a link between BPA exposure and Erectile Dysfunction in men.

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-11-11/health/bpa.erectile.dysfunction_1_bpa-erectile-sexual-dysfunction?_s=PM:HEALTH

Since many plastics and additives contain estrogen mimicking chemicals, it wouldn’t surprise me if other plastics had similar effects.

If that won’t get him on board, nothing will! :~)

Guest
Jenny Gillespie
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you for your excellent summary. I plan to share this. I worry, though, when I see an author-researcher of a scientific study with a vested interest, as this author working for PlastiPure seems to have. Scientific research, as we’ve all learned, is objective only in its finest moments. I also wonder if these particular researchers are purposely overlooking other groups of harmful plastics additives, focusing only on the EA’s simply because this will bring their products to market more quickly. It’s a start, but only helpful to consumers as an early step toward possible future safety when food and plastics must mingle; not a definitive last word.

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Wow! Thanks for writing such a succinct and powerful entry.

I am going to link this article to my site and send it out to my clients.
This backs up my assertion that no plastic is safe.
My scientific friends always said that plastic has plasticizers and plasticizers are all probably endocrine disrupting.

If we woke up tomorrow and there were no plastics:
Local goods would be most affordable.
Goods from far away would be expensive and treasured.
Packaging would be precious.

And the reduction in brain damage, cancers and immune diseases would change our schools, our health care, our lives.

I mail things in glass containers daily.
It costs more, breaks more often.
That’s why my mission is primarily to teach people how to make their own stuff locally.

For me it’s been worth it in every way to give up new plastic.

Thanks always, Beth, Tracey

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

time to fire those husbands as the head of the family science department. if you don’t look you won’t find any articles! but there is a whole world of scientific research dedicated to the topic of endocrine disruptors, from every angle, including looking at the effects (proving they exist), and documenting the mechanisms. bottom line is, this is real, it’s not a fairy tale, and there are tons of references available. http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/basics/chemlist.htm this website has over a hundred. three just for BPA specifically, and then lots of others. but seriously there are NUMEROUS entire scientific journals devoted to this- ecotoxicology, etc. speaking of which, pesticides and herbicides are another excellent example of endocrine disruptors, (check that link and you can find info on DDT, atrazine, lindane etc.) as well as flame retardants, so eating organic, wearing organic cotton/hemp etc., and buying organic mattresses to sleep on would all be a good idea. :)

thanks for the great article!

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

A great alternative to plastic pacifiers are Natursutten all natural rubber pacifiers. The are made in one piece, so no plastic. The rubber comes from the tree Hevea Brasiliensis, so it is renewable and sustainable. And they are made in Italy. They are available at major retailers including Amazom and many baby boutiques across the US.

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Another excellent post! I am heartened that this sort of study is finally being done.

It always makes me wonder… am I the only person who can taste this stuff? Seriously, I can’t stand bottled water because it just tastes like toxic soup to me. Makes me wonder if I’ve just got extra sensitive taste buds or if the rest of the world just isn’t paying attention.

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Excellent article Beth! I forwarded widely and hope my Nalgene bottle addicted daughter will finally believe me! She warns her friends about BPA but insists that her Nalgene is safe. next time when I visit her she may accept my glass water bottle gift! Great job as usual Beth! Thanks! Lisa

Guest
Kathryn
4 years 4 months ago

Question: Aren’t some stainless steel containers lined with plastic? How do we know which ones?
Thank you for your tireless efforts.

Guest
Kitten
2 years 9 months ago

To be honest, the only way of finding out is to open it up and take a look.  If it’s boxed so that you can’t unscrew anything, save the receipt and check at home.  Or ask an employee to open a box up for you so you can check – most places will do this, they’d rather have employees with sharp knives opening product than customers prying it apart with their fingers and tearing packaging.

Guest
Ann
4 years 4 months ago

Um, there’s that John Muir quote about everything being attached… While I have long minimized personal use of plastics, I recognize that one positive point that has magnified its use in packaging is its weight. Lighter weight reduces shipping costs, as in taking less fuel to transport, thus lowering the pollution associated with distribution.

While I hope we have the sanity to bring back regional growing of food and production of some products, I think there will probably be a need for some kinds of production to be concentrated. I agree that we should see if plastic can be made safe, for the benefits it does confer.

Guest
Yvonne aka sleepwalker
4 years 4 months ago

The link above it on this subject with regard to baby products. I’m with you on just trying not to use the plastics because of the EA of the chemicals they are made of.

Guest
Cathy Day
4 years 4 months ago

Hi Laura,
I have a husband that feels the same way as your husband. I’m sure we are not alone. I think if those of us try our best it will make a difference. We can’t make it perfect but we can make it better.

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Thanks for summarizing a long paper!

Guest
Janine Jordan
4 years 4 months ago

Just keep up the good work! Keep us inspired to stay away from Plastics … there was once a day when we didn’t use them …

Guest
Laura
4 years 4 months ago

My husband is somewhat resistant to my efforts to reduce our use of plastic (and most of my other efforts to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle). He is not one to believe that one’s individual efforts can really have much difference. He agrees with the environmental argument, but not enough to significantly change his behavior. As for the leaching of chemicals into our food and the potential negative health consequences, especially for our young children, he wants actual scientific proof. Can you suggest more articles for me to share with him?