Saturday, September 1, 2012

How to Avoid Sickness From Plastic

You probably already know that keeping food in the wrong kind of plastic can be very bad for your health. In case you don't know, some kinds of plastic shed carcinogens into any food in contact with them. The fun part of this is that some of these kinds of plastic were used as food containers until that information got out.

In the USA, plastics are mandated to have a number in a little triangle on them. This is usually located on the bottom of the plastic item. Look at this number before you put any food in plastic.

The numbers that you want your food in are: 1, 2, 4 and 5. You do not want your food in 3, 6, and 7. 

I use those numbers in my daily life and in my food storage especially to try to keep from increasing my chances of getting cancer. I only use storage bucket that are food grade plastic numbers.

I strongly suspect that paying attention to plastic numbers is not enough protection, however. I think that even "good" food grade plastics are probably a health hazard over the long run. Plastics are so ubiquitous in our lives now they are very hard to avoid completely.

I am forming an ambition to reduce my use of plastics and contact with them in my daily life as much as possible. I do know for certain of one very bad impact of any kind of plastic on all of us. This bad impact is by killing sea life.

Humans have been so careless with plastic that huge floating garbage dumps have formed in our oceans. The worst one is in the Pacific ocean. Scientists are studying it now. It is enormous and plastic never goes away. It only breaks down into smaller bits. Even microscopic bits can be harmful. They find them in the stomachs of all kinds of sea birds, mammals and fish.

If you eat any of those sea creatures you are definitely getting more than your minimum daily requirement of plastic. If you don't eat any of those, you may be getting over your MDR in plastic by eating seaweed. I eat the last and am not fond of the idea of eating plastic along with it.

I also think it is a bad idea to kill off a lot of sea life that is already stressed enough by stupid human activities. It makes me think of when I was growing up in a town by the ocean. I used to walk along the beach a lot then.

One of my walks took me past a dead sea gull washed up by the tide. It had a plastic six pack bottle holder around its neck. A little further along the beach I came to a dead seal. The seal had a bigger plastic ring around its muzzle. The muzzle was dug into its flesh and there was a sore around it. It had clearly struggled to free itself from the plastic.

I cried to think of that beautiful animal dying in that terrible struggle to free itself from something a careless human did. From them on, whenever I saw a six pack holder on the beach I cut it up so there was no complete circle left and put it in a trash container.

I found out that cutting up the six pack holder is not enough. Even cut up, it can kill sea life. Plastic washes out to sea even from our garbage dumps. Birds even feed plastic to their young, mistaking it for something good to eat. They have found baby birds killed by their parents mistaken kindness.

Some people are trying to figure out how to get the plastic out of the ocean. It is a very hard task. Some of the mess out there is microscopic bits of plastic. Even the microscopic plastic bits are harmful.

I hope that those people succeed in finding a way of ending our floating reminder of human carelessness out there in our oceans. Meanwhile, check your plastic before you put food in it and try to use as little plastic as possible. 

We can't prevent this plastic garbage dump in our oceans. We can stop making this disaster worse.

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