I found this about plastics and what harm they can do. I dont know if its been posted before but boy we really need to know these things so we may stay a bit heather. Sue PS its long. Plastics we'll stay safer, you and me when we avoid 6, 7 and 3 Plastics #s 1, 2, 4, and 5 are safer and are not known to leach chemicals. We got drinking cups from #5, polypropylene, online, but I'm sure we can find things locally. You have to ask what it's made of since it doesn't say anything on the box. You can also get matching plastic plates. Betras' cups are made of polypropylene too and they are colorful and inexpensive. Never use Styrofoam, especially not for hot drinks/soups. Don't reuse plastic containers by washing in the dishwasher; wash by hand and dispose before too many uses. This is just my own theory that the heat and dishwasher soap will break them down quicker but this is based upon that study about leaching from reused water bottles that were cleaned with very hot water. Don't put any plastic in the microwave (you know, we don't even have a microwave) including plastic bags or containers - only use glass or ceramic. And never microwave with plastic wrap despite what the cooking or instructions tell you! It may be safe for microwaves in that it won't melt, but it's not safe for you to eat from the leaching of the heating of the plastic wrap. When storing things with fat (cheese or covering a fatty soup or oil), don't ever use plastic because the fat tends to cling to the plastic and it leaches more into fatty foods. Liquid, water, as well as acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes also encourage leaching so those should only be stored in glass or ceramic as well. When you get the cheese home from the store, take it out of the container and store it in a safer container. If you really want to be extra cautious, slice off a thin layer of cheese from the top and bottom that touched the plastic. Don't use plastic wrap from Costco (the Stretch-Tite brand) and instead get Glad or Saran Wrap. Don't get cheese prepackaged by deli bc they probably wrap in the bad (PVC or #3) plastic wrap. And don't let your food touch plastic wrap. I only use plastic for cool/cold food for the kids and use ceramic or glass for hot. Most of the time our kids, even the baby, eat on our regular plates instead of kid plastic plates to avoid any potential leaching of chemicals and lessen their exposure to plastics. I use Pyrex for storing food though I've read that most Tupperware is fine; other brands of plastic storage may not be fine though. See The Green Guide for a complete list and CHEC for more information. Get food in paper and glass when possible. This includes when you get things for take out. At Whole Foods, for example, opt for the paper box over the plastic container. Use Pyrex for storing food or Anchor Hoching. These are nice since they'll also double to reheat food in the oven (or microwave) so it's easy. Polly tells us that K-Mart has a nice inexpensive glass storage line by Martha Stewart too. (thanks for that tip, Polly!) Safer plastics are: #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) - usually for soft drinks, water bottles, ketchup and salad dressing, peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars #2 high density polyethylene (HDPE) - used mostly for milk, water and juice bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, and grocery, trash and retail bags #4 low density polyethylene (LDPE) - bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles #5 polypropylene (PP) - margarine tubs Plastics to avoid include: #3 polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC) - 2nd most commonly used plastic in the world. Many toys are PVC too and kids put everything in their mouths so watch out for those! Opt for more wooden toys instead - they last longer in play meaning less time in a landfill and the time they are in the landfill is a whole lot less than plastic as they will disintegrate. My concern also is that so many things we may use regularly are made of polycarbonate including juicers, food processors, dehydrators, and sometimes even blenders and coffee machines. If that product is made of glass, we always choose that instead. Sometimes you can find alternatives in stainless as well. I am checking into Juicers, Food Processors and the like and will post additional information as I learn about it. #6 polystyrene (PS) - foam & Styrofoam #7 other (usually polycarbonate) - many drinking cups are made of this, baby bottles, big water jugs (and we thought we were doing a good thing having that full water jug ready for drinking anytime, right?) - these leach as they age and mostly into fatty foods. I think it's probably ok for grains but better to get rid of all of these. There is a link between bisphenol-A and phthalates and early onset of puberty. Puberty and Plastics, Dec 2003, Mothering Magazine Some Tupperware products are made of this but very few. This is the plastic that looks like glass; it's very stiff and doesn't have a "plastic" look to it. Some simple tips for reducing exposures to industrial chemicals. Avoid processed foods and chemical additives. Eat organic fruits and vegetables. Don't microwave food in plastic containers, use glass or ceramics. Filter home drinking water. If you eat meat and dairy, eat only organic meats and dairy, preferably grassfed not grainfed. Choose Grassfed meats from Grassland Beef. Cosmetics and Personal health care products can contain harmful chemicals so use only natural products and use less of these. Don't use artificial fragrances and perfumes. Don't use stain repellants on clothing, bedding or furniture. Get natural household cleaners you use or make your own. Avoid inhaling gasoline fumes - sit inside the car with the door closed. Eat seafood known to be low in PCB and mercury contamination, including Wild Alaska salmon and canned salmon. Avoid most canned tuna - they contain unusually high levels of mercury. Particularly if you're pregnant, try to follow the tips listed above. Is there someone in your household who can take over using household cleaners and pumping gas while you're pregnant? Eat canned salmon instead of canned tuna. Paint the baby room well before you conceive. Don't use nail polish, which contains chemicals linked to birth defects in laboratory studies. Ways to reduce exposure to plastics toxins: * Avoid disposable plastic packages and opt for storage containers like glass that can be reused. * Buy food in glass or paper containers or transfer to these containers shortly after purchase. * Don't microwave or heat food in plastic containers. * Avoid storing fatty foods, such as meat, oil, and cheese, in plastic containers or plastic wrap and don't buy fatty foods in plastic if at all possible. * Avoid storing acidic foods in plastic like tomatoes or citrus as those tend to draw out the plastic poisons much like fats. * Avoid storing liquids and water in plastic as those are great transporters and will help the plastic leach into the liquid. * Don't drink the water if it tastes like plastic; plastic is sure to have leached into the drink if it does. * Don't drink from the outdoor hose; the plastic is not food grade or safe and the harm is compounded since the hose is heated causing these chemicals to easily enter into the water that flows from the hose. * Instead of relying upon the establishment for their containers, bring your own glass bowls to salad bars or bring your own paper cups to yogurt shops. Ask that they use your container instead of the plastic one offered for environmental and health reasons and educate others at the same time! * Instead of plastic forks, sporks, spoons and knives, use the real thing. Use stainless steel or wooden utensils over plastic especially when cooking or heating food as well as when eating heated foods. Offer these to guests and children and even opt for the real thing in lunch boxes. Choose plastic made of corn that is compostable or opt for recycled paper products. * Use wood instead of plastic cutting boards. Use separate boards for uncooked poultry, vegetables, uncooked meats, fruit, and cooked meats. To disinfect, there are plenty of more environmentally sound products but spraying first with vinegar and then with hydrogen peroxide should kill bacteria just as well. Then rinse well and store dry. * Remember that the plastic wrap used in the supermarket will leach into the foods wrapped in them. Try to get foods wrapped in paper instead or if not available and they use plastic, slice off a thin layer where the food came into contact with the plastic as soon as you get home and store in a safer container (like glass, parchment, ceramic, or a safer non-PVC cling wrap.) * Buy containers in glass or paper whenever possible. Read the bottom and refuse to buy anything packaged in the worst plastics: 3, 6, and 7. Write to the manufacturers that use plastic, especially the ones using the worst ones, and share your concern and information and tell them that you are choosing products based upon packaging as well as quality. Environmental Working Group says: Hundreds of studies in the peer-reviewed literature show that adverse health effects from low dose exposures are occurring in the population, caused by unavoidable contamination with PCBs, DDT, dioxin, mercury, lead, toxic air pollutants, and other chemicals. The health effects scientists have linked to chemical exposures in the general population include premature death, asthma, cancer, chronic bronchitis, permanent decrements in IQ and declines in other measures of brain function, premature birth, respiratory tract infection, heart disease, and permanent decrements in lung capacity (EPA 1996, EPA 2000, Gauderman, et al. 2002, Jacobson and Jacobson 2002, Jacobson, et al. 2002, Kopp, et al. 2000, Longnecker, et al. 2001, NAS 2000, NTP 2002, Pope, et al. 2002, Salonen, et al. 1995, Sydbom, et al. 2001). Some exposures to pesticides and industrial chemicals are unavoidable. Persistent pollutants, some banned for decades, still contaminate the environment and end up in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Yet even exposures to persistent pollutants can be reduced through a varied diet that contains fewer meat and high fat dairy products. Other chemical exposures, like toxic substances in household cleaners, can be avoided altogether. Green Guide says: Phthalates - Most cling-wrapped meats, cheeses and other foods sold in delis and grocery stores are wrapped in PVC. To soften #3 PVC plastic into its flexible form, manufacturers add various toxic chemicals known as "plasticizers" during production. Traces of these chemicals, known as adipates and phthalates, can leak out of PVC when it comes in contact with foods. According to a recent National Institutes of Health report, di-2-ehtylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), commonly found in PVC plastics, is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. While DEHP is not expected to cause harmful health effects in humans at the levels found in the environment, harmful effects did occur in animals with prolonged exposure or in those that were administered high amounts of the chemical. These effects include reproductive problems, birth defects and damaged sperm and liver in mice. Bisphenol-A - Many #7 polycarbonate bottles (including baby bottles), microwave ovenware, eating utensils and plastic coating for metal cans are made with bisphenol-A, a chemical invented in the 1930's during the search for synthetic estrogens. Bisphenol-A can leach into food in cans or from polycarbonate bottles as they age. Many studies have evaluated bisphenol-A as a hormone disruptor, a chemical that alters the body's normal hormonal activity. A March 1998 study in Environmental Health Perspectives found that bisphenol-A simulates the action of estrogen when tested in human breast cancer cells. They recommend most Tupperware, Glad, Hefty, Ziploc and Saran, most Arrow complete list: http://www.thegreenguide.com/reports/product.mhtml?id=44&sec=3 Dr Weil says: Concern about a chemical used in making the clingy plastic wrap that markets put on meat, cheese and other foods may be justified. The suspect chemical is di-(2-ethylhexyl)adipate better known as DEHA. Some animal studies have suggested that DEHA (not to be confused with the hormonal precursor DHEA) is an endocrine disrupter, one of a number of chemicals that can negatively influence the hormonal activity in our bodies possibly leading to breast cancer, birth defects, low sperm counts and mental problems. Other suspected endocrine disrupters include dioxin, DDT and PCB's. The problem here is that DEHA can leach into food that is wrapped in plastic. In a recent study, Consumers Union tested prewrapped cheese to see if it had picked up DEHA from its wrappings. Those encased in commercial cling wrap used by supermarkets contained levels of DEHA averaging 153 parts per million, much too high if it turns out that DEHA is an endocrine disrupter. Of the retail brands -- brands such as Glad, Saran Wrap etc. -- tested by Consumers Union, it found only one Reynolds Plastic Wrap contained DEHA. The manufacturer concedes that DEHA is in its plastic wrap but maintained that it is unaware of any study connecting the chemical with endocrine disruption. At present no one knows how the chemical affects humans. The FDA maintainsthere's no evidence demonstrating that DEHA causes hormone disruption, but the Environmental Protection Agency has begun to screen thousands of chemicals, including DEHA to identify possible endocrine disrupters for further study. Until then we won't know for sure whether or not the DEHA in plastics is a health risk. In the meantime, you can take steps to protect yourself: * Remove cling wrap from cheese or meat as soon as you get home from the market, then scrape or otherwise remove the surface layer and store in a heavier plastic bag or container. * Better yet, avoid buying foods wrapped in cling wrap. Instead have the butcher or deli cut your meat, cheeses, cold cuts, etc, for you fresh and have them wrapped in paper * If you use plastic wrap to cover food, make sure that it doesn't touch the food. * Never let plastic wrap come into contact with food cooked in a microwave oven. Reused Water Bottle Study - Dr Weil says: You may have heard about results of two studies, one from Canada and another done recently at the University of Idaho. The Canadian study found that reused water bottles carried by youngsters at an elementary school were contaminated with bacteria, including fecal coliforms. Researchers speculated that the bacteria came from the hands and mouths of the children and speculated that the kids probably didn't wash their hands very often and that the bottles weren't being washed at home frequently. Results of the study were published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health and school officials in the Calgary town where the study was conducted advised parents to make sure that the bottles were brought home and washed properly and frequently. The other study looked at what could happen if you do wash plastic water bottles well enough to kill bacteria. Here, researchers found that frequent washing might accelerate the break-down of the plastic, possibly causing harmful chemicals to leach into the water or other beverages in the bottles. One of the chemicals the researchers identified was the carcinogen DEHA, suspected of causing cancer in humans. The water and soft drink bottles studied are made of a plastic called polyethelene terephthalate (PET) and are intended for single use, but researchers said that reuse is widespread and that some people hold onto the bottles for months, sometimes until they begin to leak. The Canadian Bottled Water Association has advised against reuse and urged that plastic bottles be recycled after a single use. You may think it is environmentally irresponsible to throw out so many plastic bottles (as a nation, we toss 150 million daily), but given these results it may be healthier to do so. If you routinely re-use plastic water bottles, you may want to replace them after a few washings, or better yet, use the heavier clear plastic bottles made for camping. Avoid the softer opaque bottles for any liquid, as they may shed chemicals even before washing. Annie Side Note: There is also information that freezing a water bottle may cause the plastic to leach into the water. Dr Mercola says: Environmental exposure to a widespread compound used to make common plastic food containers and baby bottles and to line tin cans interferes with cell division in the eggs of female mice, according to research. If cell division is disturbed, it can result in aneuploidy, or an abnormal number of chromosomes in the eggs. This condition is the leading cause of mental retardation and birth defects in humans, including Down syndrome. Even extremely low levels of the compound, called Bisphenol A (BPA), produced genetic abnormalities, according to researchers. BPA exhibits hormone-like properties and imitates the effects of naturally occurring estrogens. Researchers began to study BPA after normal mice began to display genetic abnormalities that are typically uncommon. The defects were linked to plastic cages and water bottles that had been cleaned with a harsh detergent, causing BPA to leak from the plastic. Researchers then determined how much BPA the mice had been exposed to and how small a dose would produce effects. An extremely small dose of 20 parts/billion daily for five to seven days was enough to produce effects. Researchers are uncertain of the effect of BPA on humans, however they noted that mice and humans have a very similar cell division program for eggs. Previous studies have suggested that exposing animals in the womb to levels of BPA similar to those found in the environment disrupts their sperm count, prostate and testicular development. However, other studies, some funded by the plastics industry, have not found any risks associated with BPA exposure. Some experts say that, taken together, study results suggest that efforts to begin reducing human exposure to BPA are warranted. DR. MERCOLA'S COMMENT: Bisphenol A (BPA) was invented in the 1930s during the search for synthetic estrogens. The substance is now deeply imbedded in the products of modern consumer society, not just as the building block for polycarbonate plastic (from which it then leaches as the plastic ages) but also in the manufacture of epoxy resins and other plastics, including polysulfone, alkylphenolic, polyalylate, polyester-styrene, and certain polyester resins. This is one of the major reasons why you will want to store your food and water in glass if at all possible. Plastics are far more likely to contribute dangerous types of chemicals to the contents. One of the easiest things you can do to cut back on your exposure to this chemical is to NEVER use Styrofoam cups, especially for hot drinks. It is bad enough that people drink coffee but to put it in a Styrofoam cup is extremely unwise. Why would anyone want to expose themselves to these types of dangerous chemicals (bisphenol A and polystyrene)? I don't believe the coffee is nearly as dangerous as the chemicals you receive from drinking it from a Styrofoam cup. If you use baby bottles, you will most certainly want to consider using glass bottles in place of plastic ones for similar reasons. Also, please remember that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have a safety limit for BPA on foodstuffs, so the government is not looking out for you on this one. Read the evidence and make the decision yourself. I did this many years ago and avoid plastics in nearly all situations when it comes in contact with my food or water source. I got this from Quality Heath.I do not know who wrote it it does not say.