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Over 315 of 450 Tested Plastic Containers Leach Hormone-Like Compounds

Elizabeth Renter
February 22nd, 2013
Updated 02/23/2013 at 4:41 pm
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plasticbots 265x165 Over 315 of 450 Tested Plastic Containers Leach Hormone Like CompoundsWhen the industry found consumers getting hip to BPA and its hormone disrupting qualities, they started looking at alternatives. While that was nice and all, the alternatives aren’t much better. In fact, some research found that most plastics, even those that are BPA-free, still leach hormone-mimicking chemicals when exposed to normal conditions. While the research took place a couple years ago, it reminds us to think twice when using and purchasing plastics.

Despite that the industry would like you to think “BPA-Free” labels make foods safe from hormone disrupters, researchers say that this simply isn’t the case. They tested more than 450 different plastic containers from stores like Walmart and Whole Foods. More than 70% of them released estrogen-like chemicals.

The containers they tested included those most likely to come in contact with food. Plastic bags, baby bottles, deli containers, and reusable plastic food containers were all tested. Because they knew BPA-containers would emit hormone-disrupters, they focused on those plastics that claimed to be “BPA-free”.

When exposed to saltwater and alcohol, the majority of the plastics released hormone disrupting chemicals. The number increased when they were put in the dishwasher, exposed to sunlight, or used in the microwave. These exposures are just the type that these plastics would undergo if used in your home.

Related: What do plastic recycling symbols mean? Find out which plastics are safest and which you should not use.

“Then, you greatly increase the probability that you’re going to get chemicals having estrogenic activity released,” said Professor of Biology George Bittner, adding that they increased the number of containers emitting hormone disrupters to 90%.

The study didn’t focus on health effects as much as the chemicals that the containers produced. Some scientists would argue that these disrupters aren’t proven to do any damage to humans, only mice and rats. Others say Bittner’s research isn’t completely reliable. But if a chemical causes infertility and cancer in rats, I don’t want to touch it.

However, those that have questioned BPA-effects before are welcoming the study.

“This is really helpful because they took a look at very common products,” says Sonya Lunder of the Environmental Working Group.

It seems when the scientific world is presented with studies like this, we are encouraged to continue on with business as usual until they know, without a doubt, that something is 100% likely to cause cancer, illness, death, or the like. While they may be convinced our retail habits are more important than our health, I’d like to think our informed readers know otherwise.

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  • Patty

    How do you account for the exclusively breast fed babies with the same allergies?

    • Izzy

      There is a family in my neighborhood whose children all have allergies and asthma and they were all breastfed. I know there are breastfed children with allergies. I'm not saying it's a cure all. Still, there are studies (I read them at one time) indicating that breastfed infants are less likely to have ear infections, allergies, asthma, etc. Many of the breastfeeding books in the library refer to those studies in their references. Some research is being done on plastic containers and autism, etc. — they are trying to figure out what the fetuses/infants were exposed to. I think they should also be studying the coating on cooking pots and pans. We've been using ceramic coated pans, which don't give off chemicals while cooking.

      Something is making the number of kids will allergies and asthma go up since I was a child. You would also think that children of people with a lot of allergies and asthma would be more likely to have the same problem. We tried hard to avoid potential triggers to try to prevent our children from having the same serious problems that we had. My younger brother was so sick he had his Last Rites read to him in the hospital. The doctors thought he was going to die. My older brother had a lung collapse during an asthma attack and they had to put a tube in his chest to re-expand his lung. I was in and out of the hospital with asthma and pneumonia. I don't feel like a nut for avoiding food containers and baby bottles that give off chemicals. We have a good reason to question these things. Something caused those problems.

  • Izzy

    Our problem doesn't appear to be related to immunizations. My youngest brother was very sick before he ever had one. We were mostly immunized later by our allergist. We were way behind in getting them due to illness. Plus, some of the immunizations were made with things we were severely allergic to. All 6 grandchildren have been fully immunized. In fact, my oldest son had the maximum number of individual immunizations, because new vaccines had come out and weren't yet combined together. I'm not a big flu shot person. I declined to give my teenagers the flu shot at our doctor visit last month. Turns out that flu shot is not working well. Someone told me an infectious disease doctor was questioning whether the people that got the flu shot were getting the flu at a higher rate than those who didn't get it. Yikes!

  • Izzy

    My parents moved here from another country. All three of their children born in this country had multiple allergies and asthma during childhood. These problems were not occurring in the towns they had come from. They had never heard of asthma. My mother is convinced that baby formula and/or plastic baby bottles caused the problem. They breastfed in her native country. Their youngest child was allergic to every baby formula. He was skin and bones and nearly died of an asthma attack. It was at that point she started questioning what he was exposed to that may have caused his problems.

    My mother insisted that we never bottle formula feed our babies. I can't tell you if there were other factors involved, but none of her 6 grandchildren have allergies or asthma.

    When I was in grade school, I was the only child in my class with allergies and asthma. It was uncommon. Asthma inhalers weren't even on the market yet. I went on a field trip with my son's class and we had to take a half bucket full of inhalers, medications, and epi-pens for severe allergy. Something is causing this increase in allergies and asthma.

    • Sheep No More

      There is tons of things that are causing all these problems, vaccines is a major one. Don't be fooled, America's government is poisoning us all! By the air we breathe (chemtrails) to the food we eat (gmo's & basically anything not organic) to the plates and cups we eat and drink off of, to the contaminated water we drink or worse the soda pops that everyone seems to ignore what really is in it, to the vaccines and flu shots full of poision that they claim helps but really is just full of poison and would never actually help fight anything anyways. Brain washing the people to be sheeple and follow the herd. Making America sick and then making money off all the drugs they have to take. Keeping America dumb, sick and poor is the governments goal & they have defiantly achieved us. Next step is stripping us off our rights but making it seem like its okay and they will take care of us. I feel horrible for my children that have to be raised in this mess. At least I'm aware and do anything I can to go against the grain. It's time for people to wake up and rise against this brutal government of ours!

      • Save me from the crazies Dave

        Perhaps you should substitute the words Corporate America for ‘Americas government’.

        Our government is not making the enormous profits that the corporations are.

        I for one am very appreciative of the efforts our government makes to safeguard us from the unscrupulous corporations where the short term profit at any cost or risk motive is the driving factor.

        Yes, the FDA and the SEC and other regulatory agencies need to drastically upgrade their acts and do a better job.

        Please don’t fall for the neocons and tea party bs that government is the problem. As Obama says… we need a smarter government.

      • Dorota

        I agree 100% , though I am not American. In my country we suffered hitlerism and stalinism. Now we are beginning to suffer from a new war that I believe started in the US already some time ago. This fight for an income does not need to involve weapons and terror. I call it a supermarketism. The irony of the phenomenon is that people believe they make choices… but the thruth is the choices were made for them a long time ago… Watch same movies with the same ideology, listen to the same music, eat the same food, think the same – that kind of crowd is very easily manipulated. Isn't it what was predicted by Huxley in "Brave New World"?