Do you ever think about how much plastic (made from petroleum) you are in contact with every day and the effect it could be having on your health? If you’re like a lot of us, you are covered in or touching plastic from the time to wake up in your poly/cotton blend or microfiber sheets to the moment you fall back asleep on them.
Every time you are sitting on microfiber, wearing polyester or handling plastic food containers you can be absorbing potentially toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of those products – and it’s happening way more often than you probably realize.
In fact chemicals that leech from plastics like BPA, phthalates and other additives have been recognized as dangerous by the World Health Organization and other authorities (even the FDA is starting to see the light) but you’re still exposed to it 24/7.
The CDC has linked plastics to heart disease, diabetes and liver disorders.**
Not to mention the direct link to miscarriages, hormone interference and being endocrine disruptors.
The Harvard School of Public Health has published multiple articles on it, most recently about the effect on not only the health of humans but the destruction of the entire world! Did you know that in 2017 there was about 300 millions of plastic produced?***
Sadly, a lot is never recycled and doesn’t bio-degrade, so it’ll be around forever.
Of course there are truly useful ways that plastics are used like life saving medical devices and safety equipment, that we don’t want to live without!
What I’m talking about today is the deluge of plastics that we are drowning in and probably don’t even recognize because it is becoming the norm to use these super cheap products all the time.
Does that make sense?
Today I’m inviting you to start to purge some of this harmful stuff (responsibly) from your life too.
Here is a list of some items you may have in your home and are using every day that are made from plastic and could be contributing to a chronic health issue and other discomforts:
- Poly/cotton sheets, comforter & pillows
- Clocks, decor and home furnishings
- Toilet seat (TMI?)
- Tampon/Maxipad (waaaay TMI?)
- Soap, shampoo, conditioner from a plastic bottle
- Personal grooming tools like plastic mesh loofa, razor, comb, toothbrush
- Shoes and slippers
- Clothing and undergarments
- Accessories like bags, wallets, eye wear and jewelry
- Towels, dish rags, sponges and other cleaning tools
- Foods and beverages packaged in plastic bottles, wrappers, bags and boxes
- Tea Bags (https://foodbabe.com/do-you-know-whats-really-in-your-tea/)
- Pans with plastic handles and teflon coating
- Laptop (keyboard, touch screen, cords, mouse and headphones)
- Office Supplies
- Flooring (carpet, rugs and vinyl)
- Microfiber, nylon and polyester upholstery
- PVC pipes that carry water to your home
That is just a short list, once you start taking notice, it becomes shocking to see how much plastic is in your environment and the world!
So, you’re ready but it’s overwhelming? Where do you start?
First, I’ll walk you through the easiest and least stressful way I know to start and don’t forget to scroll down and grab the cheat sheets I created to help you first, identify where plastic may be hiding under it’s mysterious names and also some reasonable alternatives to help you get out from under your plastic burden.
It seems logical to start with the things closest to you, that you are in contact with the most and are easiest to change.
Please recycle as much as possible because, the fact of the matter is there are a whole lot of users out there still so cutting down production is a nice start. Yes?
On a related note, there are debates about “big picture” threats, pollution and ethical concerns about almost everything. For practical purposes, I’ll leave you to do your own research about what natural fibers or products you feel most comfortable with because that’s a big conversation and frankly, our goal right now is to just get started the best we can.
So, for now, we’ll just focus on replacing some of the plastic with more natural, sustainable and less toxic alternatives while you live life, as usual. For instance when you are shopping for food, new clothes, housewares and personal products, simply choose natural alternatives like cotton, glass containers, cast iron pans and so forth.
The first place I want to start is with food and nourishment.
I know it’s nearly impossible to control how your food is coming to you, but we can make choices toward foods that have spent LESS time in plastic or other toxic containers.
How? Simple, my dear! Avoid processed foods.
Processed foods are almost always manufactured and packaged in plastic. Bags, laminated boxes, clam shell type containers, styrofoam and plastic lined cans.
So, choosing whole, fresh foods is a good start to at least get them out of the plastic ASAP.
Another way is to choose foods that are packaged in glass jars or out of bulk bins so there’s less contact with plastic containers, over all.
Also, can you start a little garden? Even I, with my purple thumb, can successfully grow a few herbs in my window sill. My philosophy is that every little bit helps.
Don’t forget your kitchen utensils and cookware. If you’re using pans lined with teflon, please please please get rid of them ASAP! If they are lethal to pet birds, what are they doing to you? Dupont, the manufacturer of Teflon even admits that human illness can occur when the pans are heated (what else do you do with them?)!! ****
Nice alternatives are cast iron (which is surprisingly non-stick once properly seasoned), stainless steel and even glass!
As you recycle those old plastic storage containers and dishes, bring in pretty glass storage so you can even see what’s in them. If you’re feeling super thrifty, wash and re-use those glass jars you’re buying food in now.
Plastic cutting boards and utensils can be recycled and replaced with bamboo, hardwood and glass which will also look great!
Second, start swapping out what touches your skin the most because yes, you absorb chemicals through your skin all the time. Skin is not impermeable and many places on your body are so susceptible to absorbing what you come in contact that it goes directly into your blood stream.
100% cotton clothing is often inexpensive and easy to find, as are pajamas, sheets, bedding, towels and shoes. You are (hopefully) spending 8+ hours in bed so that’s a good place to start. Then, what are you wearing the other 16 hours?
P.S. Sleeping naked has been found to be beneficial in a few ways, so maybe think about that!
Down pillows and comforters with cotton covers are another natural alternative to poly filled bedding.
Hemp is another fabric that is becoming more popular and is highly sustainable and grows without much help at all. Clothing, shoes and curtains…maybe give it a try?
Bamboo is also a great alternative that is surprisingly soft and highly sustainable since it grows like gangbusters in certain climates. Consider bamboo sheets, cutting boards, cupboard organizers, shelving, clothing and flooring.
Silk tends to be a good investment for quality and durability, even though it can cost more than other fibers.
Leather can be surprisingly affordable as well and can’t be beat for comfort and durability in bags, wallets, shoes and jackets.
If you live in a cold climate, fur is the most natural material for warm outer-wear.
I do encourage you to try and source animal products responsibly as well.
Don’t forget about your personal products like soaps, cosmetics, lotions and potions. Not only do they come in plastic containers but many contain plastics themselves!
Third, your other house furnishings.
Like curtains, carpet, rugs, upholstery on your chairs & couches, electronics, appliances, book shelves, desks, tables, toys, tools, hobby accessories, cleaning tools, knick knacks, plastic bags, bins, closet organizers, exercise equipment etc.
The bonus to making these changes could also be joyful feelings and better self-esteem. Not only because you’re doing something good for yourself by lowering the toxic burden you carry but when you invest in quality instead of disposable plastic cheapies, you know you’re worth it!
Now, don’t forget to grab your cheat sheets, below, to remind you of some super simple swaps you can make now!
And if you’re interested in more research, here are a few links to the actual studies I referenced, showing how important it really is to become aware of this problem, not only for your personal health but so future generations can have a healthier start in life as well.