I'm not that hippy-dippy, but when my friend is telling me that her daughters have friends who are ovulating and menstruating at age 8, it gets me very worried.
Adding fuel to my fire are articles like this, this, this, and this one, which all point to studies showing that BPA-free plastics, which often use BPS, are also capable of causing hormone disruptions and early-onset puberty, among other side effects. That babies in utero and young children are particularly susceptible to such effects, when plastic containers are the norm for our youngest populations, is very alarming to me.
I can't change the world, but I can definitely make decisions that will help limit Little L's exposure to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals. By no means am I doing everything I can, but slowly and surely I am trying to make better choices that will hopefully help stave off early puberty and the risk of cancers later on in my little girl's life.
Here's what I'm doing now:
1. No more plastic drink bottles at home
I found some super-cute glass bottles at our Dollar store, with metal lids and plastic straws. I plan to sub out the straws with stainless steel ones or silicone ones just as soon as I can get a hold of some shorter stainless ones (the ones we have right now are crazy long). I also picked up some Silikids stretchy lids to go over top of regular drinking glasses, so that Little L can use our glasses as well. And as for why silicone? It's safe.
2. No more plastics in the dishwasher
This one is still in-process, because old habits die hard, but I'm trying to be more intentional about hand-washing the plastic serveware that we do have. I suspect that it is in the drying process that the chemicals get leached out and then consumed. Obviously, I have no science to back that up, but it's just my gut feel.
3. No plastics in the microwave
I thought this was a given, and we have not been putting anything plastic in the microwave for a long time, but it seems to me that many plastics manufacturers do deem their products "safe" for microwave use. Again, I am most concerned about chemical leaching out through high heat exposure, so I just don't want to chance it.
4. No more plastic water bottles at school
Another work in progress is eliminating Little L's plastic water bottles from her schoolbag. We have some stainless steel ones in our rotation already, and I try very hard to use those when possible. However, when they're all dirty, it is still far too easy for me to reach for a lightweight plastic one. I'm trying to build up more of the stainless ones so that I can phase out the plastic ones entirely, but again, this is going to take some time...and money!
5. No saran wrap on food
I still use the stuff to cover the top of bowls of leftovers, but I don't wrap food in saran wrap anymore, and most definitely don't put it in the microwave, ever!
6. Good-bye Yum Box :(
This one is painful, but I am in search of a stainless replacement for our beloved Yum Boxes. The boxes are, unfortunately, completely made out of plastic, and while we are handwashing them to minimize any potential chemical leaching, I'm fully aware that I still need to switch them out before too long or the plastic begins to degrade from wear. I really really hate doing this, but I just know I would hate it more if I had to deal with a third-grader going through PMS :S Hence the extreme precaution.
7. Food on regular plates
We had stockpiled a sh~tload of fancy plastic plates and bowls for Little L, including collector Peter Rabbit melamine ones and those fancy Toddler ones and everything in between. We dishwashed every last one of them, so now they're probably toxic. Despite my fears of breakage, I'm now trying to serve Little L's food in our grown-up china, rather than her plastic plates. And while I have yet to build up the heart to pitch her collection of dishes, I am slowly and surely retiring them. It's still a process, though, and I find myself often reaching for a plastic plate first. :(
While it is quite likely that most people don't expose themselves to enough BPS or BPA-free alternative plastics to cause the kinds of hormonal effects being observed in the mice studied, the scary thing is that we simply don't know what is causing early-onset puberty, and just how much of an effect early childhood (or in utero) exposure to these kinds of chemicals will have on children. I may be overreacting a little, but I'd rather that than under-react and find myself living with regret at the expense of my little girl's well-being. That's always the trump card; threaten the health of my kid, and I will end you, whatever the "you" might be.
So there ya have it; instead of a plastic splurge, we are on a plastics purge. :)
What's your take on BPA-free plastics in your littles' lives?