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


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’.


20% off ReWrite Sale

I love Guided Products recycled binders & notebooks. Read my review.

Leave a Reply

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

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest

most metal containers are lined with plastic

I want to be sure of one thing, is PET okay to use for homemade products, since it is not being digested in any way? Floor cleaning etc?

My 20 year-old son has a hernia and is scheduled for surgery in about 3 weeks. They want to use a polypropylene mesh in the repair. I’ve read the pros/cons of using mesh but can’t get past that it’s PLASTIC and they’re implanting it in his body for the rest of his life! Have you come across anything substantial about polypropylene in the body Beth?

I’m looking for a safe plastic bottle for my
Baby. (We are not able to use glass) I came across the “Joovy Boob PPSU”
Is PPSU plastic considered safe?

We Live in an Onion With Infinite Layers: Accepting Our Core Beliefs About the World Were False - Era of Wisdom

[…] in the water bottle you’re drinking out of? It’s plastic number 7. Well that plastic is probably sealed with Bisphenol S, even though it says BPA free. If you don’t pay attention now, one day you might wake up with […]

I am looking to buy a crib mattress for my baby that is the best mattress to prevent SIDS and is non toxic because it does not contain the toxic chemicals that standard, and even organic, crib mattresses have. It is basically an open wood box with a spacer fabric sheet that lays on top. So it is completely hollow with no fillings, hence the avoidance of many chemicals. But the wooden base has a plastic inner lining made from recycled milk jugs, polypropylene #5. This polypropylene base lies 5 inches below the sleep surface and there is nothing between… Read more »
I was worried about toxins in mattresses too. We have twins and could not afford to buy latex crib mattresses. I finally made my own zippered covers and bought a pure latex rubber mattress pad for a full size bed. I cut it with a bread knife and, presto, I had two pure latex mattresses for my children. The hardest part was sewing a zipper into a cover, and vacuuming up the latex mattress crumbs after I had cut the pad to the proper size. However, it only cost $136.00 each to build my own mattresses. $111.00 was for the… Read more »

I am trying to find a phone case for our galaxyS6 smart phone. Every phone case that I find is made from polycarbonate and TPU material. Please give me an alternative. Everyone I turn to has no answers. I already have a hormone imbalance so I really want to avoid the ones made with these materials

You’re already cooking youself and those around you with radiation from your dumbphone. Why worry about some toxic chemicals on the side?

Or check out

I have a Fish Oil in a PETE1 bottle. Does that leach? And can chemicals leach into an oil more so than water? If I transfer the fish oil into a glass bottle will that help or the chemicals remain? Any other info would be appreciated. Thanks

Nate , you don’t need to waste money on fish oil , just eat the fish . Dark tuna fish has selenium in it which dampens or puts out any mercury or radiation , plus you get the protein and other nutrients when you eat the food .

And the only acceptable number to hold liquids in plastic containers is” 2. “

Awesome plastics article by the way! Very researched and informative… nice to see someone cutting away at all the fat of the internets many avenues of misinformation!

It sounds a bit preachy, but people really do have a right to know the ways in which the regulatory agencies that are tasked with protecting the common interest of our health are allowing the industries of American capitalism to poison our lives, our fisheries, our environment and the wellbeing of the world–all for a dollar.

Not sure if someone has mentioned it yet or not.. Didn’t make it through all the comments. Fungus based “plastics” (which how can I even call them plastics) are going to be our ticket out of this mess.

This is where plastics research may be leading in the end: sustainable, biodegradable, cheap, inert and 3D printable ;)

It’s a Vice News profile and it’s very very cool.

On the subject of BPA Free vacuum sealer plastic bags, is the leaching potential of other chemicals equally concerning when sealing dried vegetables and other dried products? With the air having been removed and the contents being dry, does this remove the potential for leaching? Many Thanks!!!

no it doesn’t, as long as the plastic is touching the food, additives can freely move in and out of the basic polymer structure (source: my high school chemistry knowledge)

Traveling by Car with Hashimoto’s & Celiac — Part 1 | License to Live!

[…] Plastics are a byproduct of petroleum, some of which are known cancer causing agents. And even “safe” plastics have been found to have hormone-disrupting effects. I will do an entire blog on this at a later […]

Hello Beth,

I hope you are aware that drinking from stainless steel bottles can expose you to Chromium toxicity.


I highly doubt any of the plastics are safe. They are just promoting those as safe that haven’t been outed in the media as unsafe yet. The health of the consumer is not a concern to the manufacturers. Check out this astounding account of plastics:

” 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… Read more »
Hormone-Mimicking Nightmare? L.A. Just Dumped Millions of Plastic Balls into Its Drinking Water | Alternative News Network

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

Hormone-Mimicking Nightmare? L.A. Just Dumped Millions of Plastic Balls into Its Drinking Water | The Daily Sheeple

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

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!!

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 ?

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.

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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
Don’t forget porcelain. My babies drank water from a teaspoon when newborn and by the age of 2-3 months could drink from a porcelain or china cup if they need other than breast milk- you know the ones with Peter Rabbit on. Babies are quite capable there can be nothing worse than sticking a dummy in their mouth or a teat from a bottle or the plastic nozzle from a none spill cup with spout. It’s not necessary – just spend some time with your little one and hold the cup to their lips and let them drink instead of… Read more »
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… Read more »

AnnieB: you can’t.

You can’t get another person to tell the truth … unless you’re a crackerjack lawyer I suppose. Even then, it can be iffy ….

With new “diseases” like environmental and chronic conditions, up-to-date doctors know that your diagnosis should be based on your experiences, not theirs.

Canada has been a leader in this emerging field. Check out the Integrated Chronic Care Centre in Nova Scotia, found here: … and all the best to you.

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

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

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

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.

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.*

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.

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!

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.

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

hashtag FirstWorldProblems

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

Why You Should Never Put Plastic in the Dishwasher

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

Bamboe servies: Bitossi Home van Leeff - Duurzaamheid ~ ~ Lifestyle blog over duurzaamheid

[…] 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 […]

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

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… Read more »

Do your everyday knifes and forks emit any chemicals

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?

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:

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

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

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… Read more »

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

My stainless steel bottle (I think it is Kleen Kanteen) a screw-on cap that is lined with stainless steel inside where it touches the liquid. (It also has a plastic sippy cap, which I do not use.)

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

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… Read more »

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.

Plastic bags for quarantine - Dendroboard

[…] 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… […]

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

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.

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!

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!

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.

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!

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

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.

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

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… Read more »

i’d really like to know as well.

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?

Time to switch from a goth shade of lipstick to a more neutral color ….

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… Read more »
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… Read more »

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

How about a mason jar and stainless steel screen like this?

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator

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.

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…… Read more »

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:

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.

Ever tried hand-washing?

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.

Merienda sin plástico « La chica del panda tattoo

[…] /2011/04/bpa-free-does-not-mean-safe-most-plastics-leach-hormone-disrupt… […]

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:

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:

Plastic Mesh Produce Baskets « Trash Backwards

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

Green Moms Unite to Talk About Toxic Chemicals | Groovy Green Livin

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

Sunday Speed | LoveLiveGrow

[…] 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. […]

Project Pura Vida · Baby Steps.

[…] 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: /2011/04/bpa-free-does-not-mean-safe-most-plastics-leach-hormone-disrupt… […]

Food Storage Update « Living My Values

[…] 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 […]

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

BPA-free but safe?


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   That doesn’t give you much of a… Read more »

Raychelle, I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole for all the reasons I listed in this post. And more. Plus, it’s not eliminating plastic bottle waste — just slowing down the process.

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama

This is such important info – thank you for sharing!

Other People’s Handiwork « Change Is Possible

[…] 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!) […]

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… Read more »
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!… Read more »

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

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:

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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… Read more »
Debe, you’re right. For those who don’t know about Klean Kanteen’s new plastic-free lid, I wrote about it here: /2011/01/klean-kanteen-introduces-new-reflect-plastic-free-stainless-steel-water-bottle/ But the new Reflect bamboo cap doesn’t solve the problem for people who insist on having a sport cap with a spout to suck on. You and I don’t need that, but there are those who wouldn’t use a non-plastic bottle without one. I’ve never heard of feeding an infant with a spoon or cup. Is that something that’s done? I don’t have kids, so I don’t know, but I thought that the action of sucking was a natural instinct… Read more »
Is it possible to develop a long-term food storage system and NOT use plastics? « Living My Values

[…] 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 […]

Hey Laura,

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

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! :~)

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… Read more »

Jenny, I totally agree with you, and that’s my concern… that there are other harmful chemicals besides those with Estrogenic Activity that we have to be careful of. BUt I’m glad that at least this research is being done because most industry research focuses on proving how safe something is rather than how harmful it is. Yes, these guys obviously have a vested interest, but I think their interest, in this case, is also our interest.

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… Read more »
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. 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,… Read more »

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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… Read more »
Yvonne aka sleepwalker

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.

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.


Thanks for summarizing a long paper!

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 …

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?

Hi Laura. The journal Environmental Health Perspectives publishes a lot of studies on chemicals in plastics. However, it is a scientific journal and so the articles are not written for the general public. You can also look at the Environmental Working Group’s web site.

Kathryn, stainless steel is not lined with plastic. Aluminum is. So make sure your bottles are made from stainless steel and not aluminum. (Most Sigg bottles are aluminum and have been lined with BPA. Sigg says they aren’t anymore, but they are definitely lined with something.)