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How to reduce the amount of plastic you eat

Water bottles-4276208_640Although I’ve written a number of times about how to eat less plastic, it’s time to take a look at it again.

Recent research offers more information for your consideration.

Consumer Reports recent research showed that in addition to plastic leaching from containers into food, there’s actually chemicals from plastic in food.

The testing organization looked for bisphenols and phthalates. Bisphenols, BPA is one, are linked to a variety of health problems, even at low levels, as are phthalates, a plasticizer.

These chemicals can get in food from tubing, conveyor belts, and gloves used during food processing, and in addition, into meat and produce from contaminated water and soil.

Tips from Consumer Reports on avoiding plastic in your food include:

Don’t use plastic food storage containers. I store leftovers in glass canning jars. A bonus: You only have two sizes of lids so you avoid all the wasted time of looking for the right lid.

Reduce the amount of fast food you eat or don’t eat it at all. Consumer Reports’ testing found high levels of bisphenols and phthalates in fast food.

Limit high-fat foods. Many plasticizers are fat soluble so it’s likely high-fat foods contain more of the chemical.

Choose fresh, minimally processed food. It’s less likely they’ll have contact with phthalates.

Select wood, stainless steel, and silicone kitchen utensils. If you chop food on a plastic cutting board, microplastics can get into your food.

Don’t use plastic water bottles. Use water bottles made of glass or steel instead.

Nonfood tips from Consumer Reports for avoiding plastic include: don’t buy cosmetics, cleaners, or soaps with fragrance; ventilate your home so you don’t breathe in phthalates from furniture, flooring, and shower curtains; ask for an email receipt because many thermal receipts contain bisphenols; and limit your use of vinyl which has a high plasticizer content.

Other new research found 240,000 particles in the average liter of bottled water, most of which were “nanoplastics” – particles measuring less than one micrometer, less than one-seventieth the width of a human hair.

While not much research has been done on the health effects of nanoplastics, they can potentially get into the blood and then they can be transported to the vital organs, Beizhan Yan, an environmental chemist said in a CBS News article.

Some scientists have estimated the average person might eat 5 grams of microplastics in a week – about the weight of a credit card. It’s important to take steps to reduce the amount of plastic you eat daily.


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