The dangers of using plastic for carrying food, storing food, covering food, heating food, and using plastic for wrapping food are, fortunately, fast becoming common knowledge. For example, Canada has declared the plastic’s chemical bisphenol-a (BPA), which is used to strengthen some plastics, toxic and banned its use.
As plastic ages or is exposed to extreme temperatures, such as heating or freezing, it releases traces of dangerous components.
The two components of greatest concern are BPA (mentioned above) and phthalates, used to soften plastic.
Other plastics are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which leaks acetaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen (capable of causing cancer) into your food and drinks.
These chemicals are used in the following items:
· baby bottles
· can linings
· children’s toys
· vinyl shower curtains
· shopping bags
· plastic food covering
· some plastic containers
· salad dressing bottles
· cooking oil bottles
· plastic containers made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which leak lead, cadmium, mercury, phthalates and the carcinogen, diergyl hexyphosphate into your food
· soft drink bottles/soda bottles
· water bottles
· peanut butter jars
· meat trays
· foam take-out food containers and cups
· foam packing material made from polystyrene (PS) which leaks styrene into your food, known to damage your nervous system
These chemicals come into your body through food, water and bits of dust you consume or a simply absorbed through your skin.
BPA and phthalates affect the endocrine system as they mimic estrogen and other hormones, and therefore are a cause for concern in your AD-HD child and siblings, as well as for adults.
Plastics have been linked to the following problems:
· Structural brain damage
· Increased aggressiveness
· Impaired learning
· Increased fat formation
· Risk of obesity
· Changed immune system
· Early puberty
· Stimulation of mammary gland development
· Disruptive reproductive cycles
· Ovarian dysfunction
· Changes in gender-specific behaviour
· Abnormal sexual behaviour
· Stimulation of prostate cancer cells
· Increased prostate signs
· Decreased sperm production
So, what can you do? Avoid:
· plastic bottles
· toys labelled with the numbers of 3 or 7
· canned foods, especially those with acidic contents like tomatoes
· heating plastic in microwaves
· freezing plastics in freezers
· plastic cups, utensils, dishware and feed storage containers
· canned drinks
· plastic nappies, use cloth ones
· boycott plastic shopping bags, use the canvas or cloth varieties
· filter your own water using a reverse-osmosis filter, and fill up glass bottles
· for ease of carrying around use a stainless steel bottle
· if preferring a glass bottle to carry around cover with a neoprene sleeve to avoid breakage
· bring your own cup for coffee/tea-on-the-go
· buy toys made of natural fibres
· look for products with minimal packaging
· use cloth shower curtains
· use wooden spoons and other wooden kitchen utensils
· use biodegradable bags for pet clean up
The sad thing is that it is children and the foetus who are the innocent victims of contamination by plastic toxins.
It is going to be difficult to have a plastic-free environment because plastic is evident in shoes, clothing, electronics, every processed food package, cars, household items and personal care products, but some action is better than none.
This is also an environmental concern, for no matter how vigilant you are at home, you are still in danger of this chemical contamination from the environment.
Having an AD-HDer in your family many of whose bodily functions are ‘different ‘, it is more important than ever to be aware of what toxins your child consumes, especially those insidious, inadvertent ones.
Alpha Murgev is a passionate writer within the ADD and ADHD drug free treatment environment. She is co-author on a blog which looks at the behavioural, nutritional and alternative or complementary therapies for parents of children diagnosed with ADHD, up to 18 years of age.