Plastic Toxins and Gut Health DON’T mix! You probably are dreaming up an image of someone chomping down on plastic, and you’re thinking, “How stupid do you think I am?!” Even though you are smarter than that, you still may be ingesting plastic.
So the questions come up –
- How Do Plastic Toxins Get In My Gut?
- Does It Matter If I Have Plastic Toxins In My Gut?
- What Can I Do To Avoid Having Plastics In My Gut?
Getting rid of plastic toxins DOES matter and really can impact your gut health AND overall health.
If you are asking Why Should I Even Care About Reducing Toxins? I wrote about this important consideration here.
Here are the plastics we will be looking at in this article:
- Bisphenol A (or BPA) – this type of plastic has been around since the 1960’s. BPAs are found in Polycarbonate Plastics (water bottles, CDs, and medical devices)
- Epoxy Resins – Bottle tops, coating on food cans, and dental sealants.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) – found in soda bottles, cooking oil, condiment jars, mouthwash containers.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) – durable plastic found in food protective wrappings, heat resistant packaging, baby bottles, chip bags, milk jugs, ice cube trays, and toys.
Polyvinyl Chloride (V or PVC) – this chemical has the scary ability to become altered and enter the gut when heated by cooking, dishwasher, and other means. It can be found in Saran Wrap (other brands too), teething rings, and shower curtains.
Polystyrene (PS) – AKA styrofoam, even though PS is BPA-free, it can leech carcinogens and hormone disruptors into the gut
Polycarbonate (PC), Polylactic Acid (PLA), or Other – Chemicals by these names disrupt the gut too. “Other” is a term to look for on labels, it is not an innocent chemical. Find these chemicals in blenders, reusable drink bottles, syringes, bowls/ plates, yogurt containers, utensils, and produce packaging
When first learning this, I was overwhelmed, are you?
The comforting news is this – once we know the offenders, we can gain some empowerment by learning what nastiness they do to our gut and body.
How Do Plastic Toxins Get In My Gut?
So now we are back to the original question found above,
How stupid do you think I am!?
I’m not eating plastic!
So do I REALLY have plastic in my gut?
I have a few questions that will serve to answer your questions.
- Do you eat foods that have a wrapper or plastic bag?
- Do you microwave food in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic?
- Do you place warm food on/in plastic plates?
- Do you drink from styrofoam cups, disposable bottles, or BPA-free reusable bottles?
- Do you ever drink from a disposable water bottle that got warmed up in a hot car?
- Do you lick your fingers in order to open the plastic produce bag?
- Do you eat or drink from plastic containers that have been in the dishwasher?
These are all reasons to be concerned about. These are the practices that cause plastics to leach from the original source and get INTO our gut.
Never Fear! There are steps we can take to reduce these plastic toxins. It would be near-impossible for us to get rid of ALL exposures, aside from becoming a Mountain Man.
So the best we can aim for is to Reduce our exposure to plastics.
Does It Matter If I Have
Plastics Toxins In My Gut?
Short answer – Yes.
Long answer – YE-E-E-S-S-S!
Sorry….I never can resist that one.
The truth in the long answer is plastic in the gut truly matters. Here is why:
Plastic contains hormone disruptors that mimic estrogen in males and females. This matters because is throws off the balance of fertility. Plastics are a BIG reason why infertility rates have increased in the last couple of decades.
Consider further the research findings that plastics usually settle in the breast tissues. The good news about this – women can decrease their levels of plastics when they breast-feed. The bad news? (sigh) When mama breast feeds, the milk carries the plastics to the baby. Newborns have been tested, and plastics are found in their urine. What a way to start a life!
Plastic is also shown to be cancer-causing, or carcinogenic. This plastic exposure can come through the gut in terms of the toxins leaching from bottles, packaging, and all those items. When leaching occurs, the plastics travel to the gut.
BUT plastic toxins haven’t yet reached their final destination when they reach the gut. The toxins continue by traveling throughout the body. And THAT is where the danger occurs.
Plastic toxins can settle in the lungs, breasts, liver, spleen. And once there, the body tries to handle these foreign particles. This can be a way that cancer happens – the body doesn’t recognize these plastic toxins. This is something that can happen with old or young people, (or newborns) males or females.
The SAD BIG finding is that plastics can affect brain development for babies while they are in the womb. (sigh) And that is just the start of a young child’s exposures to plastics.
It is near impossible to avoid ALL exposure to plastics in our current world. However we can’t naively live in a pink cloud of ignoring facts. It’s important to take SOME steps, that help us get rid of some of the ways we encounter toxins.
What Can I Do To Avoid
Having Plastic Toxins In My Gut?
First off, it’s important to acknowledge that plastics, and even micro-plastics are found everywhere…. our fruits and veggies, the meat we eat, it is even in our water supply.
This doesn’t mean we surrender and let plastic toxins do their nasty work in our bodies.
By taking some basic steps, we can bring an important reduction in our toxic load.
- 1. Drink filtered water
- 2. Carry a glass, steel, or ceramic bottle instead of disposable or reusable plastic
- 3. Limit canned foods and baby formulas
- 4. Use BPA-free baby bottles
- 5. Don’t cook foods in plastic containers, “roasting bags”
- 6. Use glass, porcelain, stainless steel as containers for food and drinks.
- 7. Read labels to look for plastics with recycling symbol 2, 4, and 5. These are generally considered the safer plastics.
- 8. Recycling symbol 1 is also OK for you to use. But this kind of plastic shouldn’t be used more than once. DO NOT refill a store-bought water bottle.
Pam Seems To Know The Solutions.
Is She Successfully Eliminating All Plastic Toxins?
Nope! I’m being honest here. I have accepted the idea that it is impossible to eliminate all these plastics while living in today’s world.
Yes, there are times when I use disposable water and beverage bottles. More times than I want to admit.
There ARE times when we have canned foods. Tuna and canned green beans are my area of weakness.
I use glass food storage containers that have snap-on plastic lids. On occasion I DO microwave the container with the lid perched on top.
Every time I write a new article about reducing toxins, I come to my own new realization of areas I need to improve upon. This time, I realize that I have melamine bowls that I use for hot foods, like my homemade soups. Heating this plastic is a bad habit.
I’m not perfect. Yet I understand how tricky it is to navigate today’s complicated world.