Plastics facts for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! I know, I know. Don’t get all tree-huggy on me, you say. OK, I won’t. But did you know that Genesis 2:15 says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Yep. Our first responsibility (or, as I like to call it: The Oldest Profession) was to take care of the planet and stuff God made for us and gave to us.

With that in mind, the following article is vital, not only for the health of yourself and your family, but for the stuff we were told to care for. Enjoy.

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If America were going to be characterized by any one material, it would have to be plastic. It’s in our food packaging, our clothing, our cars, our toys, our waterways, our streets, and, yes, it’s even in you.

By way of the food chain, and also drinking water and using plastic items in your everyday life, you are ingesting plastics every day, in the form of the following chemicals:

  • Cancer-causing PFOAs
  • PBDEs, which cause reproductive problems
  • Phthalates, another group of reproductive toxins
  • BPA, which disrupts your endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone estrogen

There is even a plastic “stew,” twice the size of Texas, that has formed in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have dubbed the mass of floating plastic trash the “Eastern Garbage Patch,” and its volume is growing at an alarming pace. Even more shocking: when researchers tested the water of the Pacific Ocean, they found it contained six times as much plastic as plankton, by weight!

What is the result of mankind breathing, eating, drinking and absorbing all of this plastic? Obesity, declining fertility rates and other reproductive problems, cancer and more.

Reducing Your Use of Plastics

No matter what recycling symbol is on the bottom of your plastic water bottle or plate, I can confidently say that you’re better off using an inert, reusable material like glass or ceramic instead. This is because all plastic, particularly if you use it with hot beverages or foods, or if it’s scratched or worn out, can leach chemicals into your foods and drinks.

The worst of the plastics appear to be those that are marked with the recycling label No. 7, as these varieties may contain BPA.

And this is not even taking into account the environmental impacts of plastics, which kill more than 1 million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and even more fish in the North Pacific alone, every year.

Well, it may seem like plastics are an indispensable part of your life, but I think we all have room, for our own health and the health of our planet, to reduce our use, and here’s how:

1. Boycott plastic shopping bags. Use reusable canvas or cloth varieties instead. (This also applies to the plastic produce bags in the grocery store.)

2. Don’t buy bottled water. Filter your own using a reverse-osmosis filter, and put it in a glass bottle. If you’re concerned about it breaking, some companies now offer silicone sleeves that go on the outside to protect the bottle.

3. Avoid using plastic cups, utensils, dishware and food storage containers. This includes Nalgene bottles, which many mistakenly believe are safe.

4. Buy toys made of natural fabrics instead of plastic.

5. Look for products that use minimal packaging, or buy in bulk.

6. Give up plastic wrap (and never use it to cover your food while it’s heating).

7. Stop buying canned foods and drinks (the can linings contain plastic chemicals).

8. Parents, use cloth diapers instead of plastic ones.

9. Look for non-plastic home items, like cloth shower curtains and wooden spoons instead of plastic ones.
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You can purchase environmentally correct products for your family – steel travel mugs and cloth shopping bags – at our on-line store at http://www.zazzle.com/STEPcoach
A portion of your purchases support STEP-Carefully! for Stepparents! and the services you enjoy.

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