A New Perspective on Plastics and Our Health, and the Health of the Planet

Plastic surrounds us. We discovered how to make plastic in the 1850s, and by 1925, the word plastic entered our language. Unfortunately, every piece of plastic made, if not recycled, is still with us.

Plastics contain two especially unhealthy compounds, BPA and phthalates. These chemicals help make plastics more pliable, but they also affect our health. These chemicals interfere with how our hormones work. Hormones affected include estrogen, testosterone, growth hormone, insulin, and thyroid.

We’ve found BPA everywhere on the planet, including the air we breathe. You’ll find BPA in baby bottles, water bottles, food and beverage can liners, pacifiers and baby toys, water bottles and cash register receipts. You may see products saying “BPA free” but these are not necessarily safer. The replacement for BPA may be no safer than BPA.

Phthalates are made from naphthalene, the ingredient giving moth balls their distinctive odor. That odor kills moths, but naphthalene is also toxic to us and may cause cancer. Phthalates help carry fragrance in products. Using fragrance-free products, an easy step when shopping, reduces our exposure to the phthalates.

You’ll find phthalates in wellness, personal care and cosmetic products, such as drugs, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and nail polish. Commonly used products like lotions, soaps, cleansers, and shampoos contain phthalates as well. They reduce cracking of nail polish, stiffness of hair spray, and allow products to penetrate and moisturize skin more easily. Unfortunately, those qualities are outweighed by their health risks.

Phthalates in plastic food containers can leach out and into the food. These compounds are also linked to certain cancers.

As plastics are found everywhere, studies have found BPA and phthalates in virtually every human tested.

These compounds affect wildlife as well. Young birds may die of starvation because they inadvertently eat plastics along with the food they are given. Fish are affected since much plastic eventually winds up in the ocean. Plastic agitated in water sheds smaller and smaller plastic particles. Ocean life consume these small particles along with their normal foods, and in turn, we eat the plastics in the seafood we eat.

Convenience and utility come at a price, and that price is how our health is affected.

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To learn more about how plastic affects our health and our planet:

National Geographic: Planet or Plastic at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/planetorplastic/

Life without Plastic
https://lifewithoutplastic.com/about-us/

My Plastic Free Life
https://myplasticfreelife.com/

Environmental Working Group
https://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors

New Perspective on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day of giving gifts and expressing our affection for our loved ones. Social relationships and support are beginning to be understood to be key to our health. They are as important to our health as the food we eat.

Relationships impact our mental and emotional health, which affects overall health and well-being. With depression and anxiety rising world-wide, these mental health issues may increase the risk for physical disorders, especially heart disease. Our bodies experience distress when we are stressed due to hormone imbalances. These imbalances may make it more difficult to choose to eat healthier foods, refrain from drinking alcohol excessively, smoking, or even inappropriate drug use. Imbalances in our body may even make it difficult for us to obtain a restful night’s sleep.

Some people may deal with mental health issues by isolating themselves. People are becoming more Isolated because of the rise of social software like Facebook. Loneliness, however you define it, increases inflammation in the body, which leads to further health issues. The UK has instituted programs to help people feel more connected to help increase their wellness. This intervention saves the government money in health care costs.

There are ways to improve social connections for better emotional and physical health.

Face-to-face interactions with family, friends, and loved ones is important. Social media has a place, but it should not be a replacement for face-to-face conversations. Even small micro-conversations with strangers, like the barista at the coffee shop, or the cashier at the grocery, can help make you feel more socially connected.

Surround yourself with people who live healthier lifestyles. The habits of your friends greatly influence your habits. Our health habits may account up to 40% of our health. People who engage in eating well, or moving often, offer you a supportive environment.

Practice gratitude and compassion. People who think positively about their relationships may experience a more positive health outcome. Research has shown that a four-step practice of sitting quietly each day to send compassion and loving kindness to yourself, to a loved one, to a difficult person in your life, and to our earth and all its creatures, large and small, increases positive emotions.

This Valentine’s Day, give yourself and others the gift of connection.

Disclaimer: This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only.  It is being provided to you to educate you about healthy eating and lifestyles and as a self-help tool for your own use.  It is not medical or psychological advice.  This information is to be used at your own risk, based on your own judgment.  For my full disclaimer, please go to donnakkelly.com\disclaimer.