Plastics and Their Xeno-Biotic Effects Part 2 of 2 – Your Health Detective

Heat speeds the release of chemicals into food. “People are being sold microwave-safe plastic, when in fact we’re not being told what’s in there and the rate at which these chemicals leach out,” says researcher Frederick vom Saal. Avoid this uncertainty by using ceramic or glass instead.

“I have one word for you: glass,” says Terry Hassold, a professor of genetics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, who has studied the health effects of bisphenol-A (BPA) on mice. You can also store your food in ceramic containers, waxed and brown paper bags, and stainless steel metal canisters made for hot and cold food.

Many studies indicate that most of the cling wrap used by delis and grocery stores contains high levels of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – a plasticizing chemical that has been linked to hormonal abnormalities in mice. (Happily, the cling wraps made for home use are safer, but not safe.) Ask the butcher to wrap meat and fish in paper. And transfer fatty deli foods out of plastic wrap and into waxed paper when you get home. “If you put cling wrap that’s been plasticized on fatty foods, that stuff will migrate,” says Consumer Union’s Ned Groth. You might also want to cut off cheese’s outer layer–which has been directly exposed to plastic–before rewrapping it in something safer.

     NOTE: Being raised by my paternal grandmother, us kids believed alot of her “customs” were “old-fashioned”. I remember grandma saying, “I don’t think nature intended us to wrap our leftovers in plastic.” So, she always used these funny little plastic bowl lids that had elastic around the perimeter. We thought it was so funny because she’d wash them then hang on the clothes line she’d rigged over the washer and dryer in the laundery room. Well, my friends, grandma was a wise old woman, she maybe didn’t understand the complexities of the dangers of plastic chemicals, she did however, know it wasn’t natural. As I display a photo of these cute little covers, which are still available online, I think I’ll buy some, thanks grandma for even more, “I told you so’s” than I’d like to admit. Hopefully this photo will bring back as many good memories for you as they do for me. Note: Yes, these are also plastic, however, they don’t touch the food, simply keep it from drying out.

Discoloration, cracks, or other signs of wear suggest your plastic containers are degrading and may be leaching chemicals into your food. Once you’ve purged your kitchen of old plastic food bins and cups, splurge on a replacement set made of glass. Remember that even if the lids are made of plastic, they do not touch the food so you’re safe!

The longer food sits in plastic, the greater its time of exposure to chemicals that could migrate into it. If you must buy food in plastic–and it’s hard not to – transfer it into a more food-friendly container once you get home.

“It only takes 20 washings in the dishwasher for BPA to start leaching,” says professor vom Saal. Along with high heat, harsh detergents break down plastic as well. Wash your plastic containers, even those labeled “dishwasher safe,” by hand in warm water and mild detergent.

   This old photo of the 1950s sure brings back memories, doesn’t it?

While you’ll never find an actual list of ingredients, many plastics come with labels of sorts: those triangles with numbers inside found on the bottom of plastic containers. The numbers you most want to avoid are 3, 6, and 7. The safest numbers are 1, 2, and 5, the type of plastics used in most small water bottles and all soda bottles, yogurt containers, tubs of butter, and so on. At the very least, look for brands billing themselves as “PVC-free.”

Some of the clear plastics, like baby bottles, are treated with bisphenol-A, to which infants are particularly vulnerable. “Using these bottles is like putting a serious drug into what the baby’s drinking,” says professor vom Saal. Look for glass baby bottles, and avoid drinking water from those five-gallon water jugs delivered to offices and homes, which also contain BPA. Opt instead for filtered water from the tap.

Health food stores are selling everything from pasta to tofu in bulk, and the plastic used to bag bulk products isn’t known to be toxic, says Groth. To play it really safe, you can transfer your bagged items to glass containers at home.

Plastic by the Numbers
Many plastics are classified by one of seven codes located in that familiar triangle on the bottom of containers and bottles. (The triangle doesn’t mean a plastic container is recyclable; the number inside it simply indicates the kind of resin used.) With plastic wraps and bags, it’s harder to know which chemicals have been used. At the very least, look for brands that advertise on their packaging that they don’t contain PVC. Until consumers demand better labeling on plastic products, you’ll never know exactly what you’re getting in your bottles, bins, and bags, but here are a few suspects to try to steer clear of.

#3 Vinyl or PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
Where it lurks: Most commercial cling wrap used in grocery stores and delis; bottles used to store many brands of olive and cooking oils; some water bottles.
Risks: Contains plasticizers that are suspected endocrine disrupters and carcinogens.

#6 PS (polystyrene)
Where it lurks:
Some disposable plastic cups and bowls; most opaque plastic cutlery.
Risks: Contains p-nonylphenol and styrene, both of which are carcinogens and suspected hormone disrupters.

#7 “Other” (Usually polycarbonate, or PC)
Where it lurks: Most clear plastic baby bottles, five-gallon water jugs; clear plastic sippy cups; some clear plastic cutlery.
Risks: “Other” is a catchall category, meaning you don’t know what you’re getting. Most worrisome, many plastics labeled “7″ contain bisphenol-A (BPA), an endocrine disrupter.

The Way I See It…

If you’ve been using plastics and now, hopefully, you realize the potential dangers, my suggestion is to make it a point to perform a natural detox protocol that will support the organs of detoxification to better do their job (liver, kidneys, lymphatics). It doesn’t have to be difficult. You can take LKL, a homeopathic specifically formulated to assist in detoxification, by simply placing six drops under your tongue three times a day. This is not only helpful for assisting some immediate reduction of the body’s toxic load, but also in long-term maintenance since we are inevitably going to have exposures to plastics.

Additionally, it’s very important to keep in mind that it doesn’t do much good to use a supplement to assist in reducing toxic load if your bowel elimination isn’t up to par. Simply achieving bowel elimination daily is NOT enough if you’re consuming more than one meal. Supplementing your detox protocol with a professionally formulated vegetable fiber, ColonSweep, a colon cleansing supplement made into tablets – is an easy and effective method of expelling those toxins that are keeping you from achieving total health, naturally.

Your Health Detective:

Uncovering Clues to Add LIFE to Your Years…NOT Merely Years to Your Life, Naturally

Dr. Gloria Gilbère (aka Dr. G), N.D., D.A.Hom., Ph.D.,

EcoErgonomist, Wholistic Rejuvenist

Creator of certificated courses to become a Wholistic Rejuvenist™ (CWR) and for post-graduate education for health and spa professionals. Go to and click on Wholistic Skin & Body Rejuvenation (WSBR™) for course outline. Available on-site at worldwide locations, and via distance-learning at your convenience from your home or office.

Dr. Gilbère is renowned worldwide for her work in identifying and finding natural solutions to chemically-induced and inflammatory disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Gulf War Syndrome, and digestive disorders that defy conventional diagnosis and treatment. She consults worldwide via telephone and at her Institute in north Idaho. Visit her website at for details about consulting with her.

Some of the above information was extracted for educational purposes from work by Leslie Crawford with appreciation for her contribution to health through education.

Crawford, Leslie: Natural Solutions

Ref: Wagner et al. Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: total estrogenic burden and migration from plastic bottles. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2009; DOI: 10.1007/s11356-009-0107-7

Vom Saal F, Hughes C. An extensive new literature concerning low-dose effects of bisphenol A shows the need for a new risk assessment. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2003:111. pp. 926-933. See:

Toxicol Lett. 2006 Sep 3. Laboratory of Structure-Function Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, Faculty and Graduate School of Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.

 Hunt P, Koehler K et al. Bisphenol A cause meiotic aneuploidy in the female mouse. Current Biology. 13: pp. 546-553

Akingbemi B, Sottas C, et al. Inhibition of testicular steroidogenesis by the xenoestrogen bisphenol A is associated with reduced pituitary luteinizing hormone secretion and decreased steroidogenic enzyme gene expression in rat Leydig cells. Endocrinology 145. pp. 592-603.

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