Okay folks, I’m not gonna lie. This article will terrify you. It does me. After working so hard to learn about clean food and water, now we have to worry about the plastic containers and preservatives that are hiding dangerous threats to our health. And they are everywhere.
Beware of Chemicals called BHT and BHA
Think your non-sugared, whole grain cereal is safe? Think again and re-read that label. There may be a chemical called butylated hydroxytoluene, or BHT hiding in there, an antioxidant, fat-soluble compound that is added to foods to preserve fats. It’s also found in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, jet fuels, and even embalming fluid.
However, many studies have shown that it increases the risk of cancers, promotes tumor growth in various organs, enlarges the liver, impairs blood clotting and has been linked to adolescent hyperactivity. When research started to come out in the 1970’s about these toxic effects, many companies started using BHA, or butylated hydroxyanisole, a related compound. BHA can be found in butters, meats, cereals, snack foods, baked goods, even gum, but unfortunately for us, it seems to produce the same ill effects.
How about Bottled Water?
Bottled water safer than tap water, you say? Not when it’s contained in a toxic plastic, which can leech their chemicals into their precious cargo. But this one is easier to avoid if you know what to look for. I am a recycling nut, so I always look on the container to see what number is inside the triangle of arrows.
Know your plastic bottle numbers
Avoid #3 plastics
Avoid #3 plastics which contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride). These include cling-wraps, clear food packaging and cooking oil bottles, as well as some soft bottles, i.e. water!! The risk rises when the plastic warms up, starts wearing out, or is put through the dishwasher. Sound unlikely to you? Remember that bottle of water you let sit in the car on a sunny day while you were running errands, only to drink it later when you returned? That’s all it takes.
#4 plastics are LDPE
#4 plastics are LDPE (low density polyethylene), and are used in food storage bags and some soft bottles.
#5’s are polypropylene (PP)
#5’s are polypropylene (PP) and include rigid plastic containers, cups and bowls, and even some baby bottles.
#6’s are polystyrene (PS)
#6’s are polystyrene (PS) and include plastic cutlery, plates, bowls, egg cartons, meat and bakery trays, and clam-shell and carry-out containers. Even Styrofoam coffee cups. There goes breakfast. Studies have shown that the chemicals leeched can disrupt hormonal functioning, and some even claim cancer!
But plastic bottle #7’s are the WORST
Plastic bottle #7’s are the worst of all, because these include BPA (bisphenol-A). Anyone remember that baby bottle scare a couple of years ago? Well, it was because BPA causes birth defects of the reproductive systems. There are no government safety standards concerning this ultra-toxic chemical, and it is found in the linings of baby formula, soda, canned foods and even drinking water. In one study, a single serving of a can of infant formula contained over 200 times the safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals.
Scared yet? Okay, I’ll stop, but only after I mention a BBC article talking about the dangers of mineral oil used in inks printed onto food boxes. Too scary, better read for yourself at: here.