Is Life in Plastic Really Fantastic?

I’m sorry y’all. I couldn’t not. I have a 3 year old. Barbie and princesses are her life. This includes shows, shirts, cups towels, and it’s summer which means beach trips, park days, and all the fun outdoor activities including said Barbie and Princess items! If you’re a mom then you already know the routine- everyone has shoes, check. Pottied, check. Safe sunscreen, check. Sippy cups, check- every single time you leave the house.

During the Summer my kiddos always have water with them, even if we are doing indoor activities- so needless to say every time we get in the car I find a leaking (insert extremely girly version of anything) cup on the floor board or my water from the day before. It’s something I have tried to get better about but with two tiny tots it often gets overlooked (because let’s be real if it isn’t already hard enough getting out of the door on any given day, this Mississippi heat makes it feel like a three ring circus.. if that circus was in a Sauna with sun lamps).

The thing is, I know this isn’t just me. I see it all the time- kiddo’s at the park drinking from water bottles, or mommas at the pool trying to do what’s best for their kids to keep them hydrated while their plastic cups are soaking up just as much sun as they are. I cringe. But mom guilt is real. So do I say anything? No. Should I? Probably.. But don’t we have enough things to worry about then some rando semi-crunchy momma (my hand is raised here) coming over and calling out your cup of choice? Hence the post. I feel like this is important. This is the stuff I didn’t know about years ago that I wish I knew.

Since starting our journey to clean(er), low tox living we’ve slowly swapped the majority of our containers and dishes over to glass, stainless steel, and silicone. When both of the babies were little I was way less informed- so I hope you can take this from a momma that hasn’t (and still doesn’t) get it all correctly. (Disclaimer: *In the name of transparency I feel like it’s so important to say that we still have plastic items in our house that we haven’t swapped over.) It’s taken me years to swap the majority of our things over as I’ve continued to learn and there are things still that I feel I could do a better job at or find a better alternative for. I have a huge heart for educating on safer, low tox alternatives and helping friends to make more informed decisions (that’s the entire premise of my site).

Since this is a new space I want to let you in on a couple things I feel are important. The first being that I’m always going to do my best to provide you with credible, third party validation to support claims. I think that’s important. There’s way too much out there on the internet that people read and assume as truth but it’s often perspective or lacks any credible scientific evidence. The second is that I’m never going to fear monger or fake that we have it all figured out (do I need to remind you of the corn dog?). I hope that you’ll take this information on, think about it, and see how and if it fits into your life. My aim is that I’m taking some of the research and hard work out of it for you. Am I an expert? Nope! I have a master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders.. which hardly qualifies me for this type of work-But my very genuine hope is to share what we have learned, are still learning, and to use this information to serve. So here goes nothing folks.

Plastic water bottles have gotten a lot of heat in the last several years (and I don’t just mean in the trunk of your car). A lot of the bad rep is from conservationists urging more sustainable options due to microplastics or building awareness around pollution, but did you know that there have been several studies linking plastics to health issues as well?

I think it’s safe to say that everyone has heard of Bisphenol-A (BPA). Not to get too far into the science (and let my total nerd hang out), BPA is added to plastics to make them stronger. It can be found in food storage containers, disposable cups, plastic water bottles, and the lining of cans.

BPA is also a known endocrine disruptor, mimicking the body’s natural production of hormones. Harvard University’s Center for Environment stated that it blocks estrogen receptors and can disrupt the thyroid hormone. Since the buzz around BPA has increased significantly in the last several years, manufacturers have started taking BPA out of products to be able to label their products “BPA free”. According to research done by the US Evironmental Protection Agency (EPA) comparing BPA and BPA alternatives, “The team showed that some of the BPA alternatives were actually more potent than BPA itself in activating the estrogen receptor. These findings highlight the need for testing of replacement chemicals prior to their introduction into commerce to demonstrate that they are safer than the chemical being replaced.” Can I get a face-palm here? I mean really. Yes, chemicals need to be tested prior to introduction into the marketplace (more info for another day). The reason I feel like this is important is because this information is applicable to any plastic-whether labeled “BPA free” or not.

Whether you were already informed on BPA or you’re just really finding out what it is, I feel like it is safe to say that we all look for BPA free plastic. We all (hopefully.. if not yet then start now) refrain from microwaving plastic. We take precautions that we feel protect ourselves and our families. But what about that super convenient case of water bottles we pick up from the store that sits out in the garage? Or that plastic Barbie cup that’s been left out in the car a few to many times. Do they actually pose a health risk? And what the heck does that have to do with your summer activities and your kids?

Well, a study by the University of Chicago found that the harmful chemicals in plastic bottled are released into the liquid when the bottle is exposed to higher temperatures. Stating that plastics release hormone disrupting, neurotoxic chemicals 55 times faster when the liquid is piping hot or when exposed to heat.

So not only are plastics already a concern (whether BPA free or not), this concern multiplies significantly when they are exposed to heat.

With Summer being busier and hotter than ever, this is the prime time to leave something out too long, grab it for convenience, and unknowingly expose yourself and your kiddos to harmful chemicals.

The good news is there are some super easy swaps you can make to reduce your exposure. Choose glass, stainless steel, or even silicone when you can. Take that mom/dad adult beverage in a glass bottle rather than a can, refrain from using plastic containers with hot beverages as well as leaving them in direct sunlight, in cars, or in the garage.

It’s impossible to protect ourselves and our children from everything, especially when it comes to environmental factors. I don’t think that you need to go trash everything in your house and spend a small fortune on new products. I do, however, think that you can slowly and intentionally limit yours and your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals as they relate to plastic with a few easy swaps. This is a very small, yet impactful way to do just that.

Our favorite for the kiddos is this Pogo from Target.

It’s about half the price of a Camel Back but the Camel Backs are traditionally a high-quality a safe bet. I’ve linked our favorite alternatives from Amazon below, you do not have to purchase these products-these are just one’s we have personally used and trust!

I hope this has been some useful information for you that you feel like you can put into practice. I can’t promise that I have all of the answers but I can promise that our family cares! If you have questions-reach out! I’m happy to help how I can! ’til next time y’all!

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