July 14, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Helpful Concise Guide to Safe Use of Plastics

Plastics GuideOur entire world is full of plastics these days to the point that we ourselves are now partially made of plastic literally.

When you hear someone say that another person is so “plastic”, slang meaning artificial, these days it is kind of literally true, but for all of us.

Even the seemingly infinite oceans of the Earth are utterly contaminated with plastic.

Plastic is so ever-present that every single human being on Earth is contaminated with varying levels of plastic chemicals, such as BPA, and these chemicals pose threats to our health. Most likely every organism, not just humans, on Earth is contaminated with plastic.

You might think that the trace amounts of plastic that enter our bodies through packaging, food, toys, etc. are incidental, but they build up in our adipose tissue and some of the chemicals are powerful biologically active compounds that can screw up how our cells function and our hormonal functions. Kids are especially sensitive to these chemicals.

I’m particularly concerned about the influence of these plastic-related chemicals on stem cells.

Above is a guide, based on the currently available knowledge, to the safest use of plastics. Print it out, send it to friends if you like, etc.

If you are super concerned about these chemicals, then one big safety tip is to never microwave any plastic container of any kind that contains a food or beverage that you (or your child) intend to consume. Yes, I know there are countless products that say “microwave safe” that are made of plastic, but don’t put too much weight on that term “microwave safe” because it remains unclear just what it means. Reportedly the FDA strictly regulates the use of that term, but I could not find any detailed information on the testing. The safest bet is to microwave in ceramics that are labeled microwave safe. Second safest is to only microwave in containers, whether plastic or ceramic, that say microwave safe.

No one these days can avoid exposure to plastics entirely and it is difficult to even avoid the  most potentially dangerous plastics completely, but through awareness you can reduce the risk for you and your loved ones. The FDA is set to rule within a week on banning BPA. Stay tuned!