When I first heard about BPA and its potential to disrupt hormones, I was in disbelief. After all, I had been drinking from plastic water bottles for years. Surely I would know if plastic- specifically bisphenol A- was harmful!
However, after our health crisis in 2008, I learned to ask questions about the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. I learned not to assume anything when it comes to toxicity in our environment.
Because we were radically altering everything about our lifestyle, the thought of eliminating plastic was overwhelming. But I knew from experience that every change matters, no matter how small.
My first step was to eliminate plastic water bottles. After reading that it takes anywhere from 400-1,000 years for one plastic water bottle to decompose, I felt compelled to make the change. I learned that BPA-free didn’t necessarily mean toxin-free. Studies now tell us that the common substitute BPS (bisphenol S) may be just as hazardous. I transitioned to glass (with silicone sleeves) and stainless steel water bottles. They come in handy during the summertime in Arizona!
Once I made this change, I decided to tackle another BPA presence in my life: store receipts. I was stunned to learn that thermal receipt paper is coated with BPA. While some businesses now offer BPA-free receipts, most do not. You can feel the difference: BPA-coated receipts feel much smoother, and if you rub them with a coin, you’ll see discoloration. I have found the following habits helpful when trying to minimize exposure to BPA-lined receipts:
- Choose the bag when a store clerk asks, “Receipt with you, or in the bag?”
- Opt for the email receipt, whenever possible.
- Store necessary receipts in an envelope.
- Wash your hands after handling a receipt.
What About Plastic Sandwich Bags?
As my commitment to reduce our family’s use of plastic grew, I tackled our heavy use of disposable plastic bags. I haven’t eliminated them entirely, but I’ve discovered some great alternatives. I keep a wide variety of glass bowls with matching lids on hand. As for the lids, silicone is a safer option than plastic, but even a glass storage container with a plastic lid is better than all plastic.
I keep the bowls and lids accessible and find that my kids readily reach for one when storing their food. Stainless steel bowls and lids work well for on-the-go snacks.
I also love naturally-derived parchment paper sandwich bags. If I have to use a Ziploc bag, I line it with parchment paper before adding the food.
Once I conquered the disposable plastic bag hurdle, I focused on food storage in my pantry. I replaced every plastic food storage container with a glass one. It took me several years to commit to this project, but I love the change! I find food is far more appealing in glass, and I enjoy the added peace of mind every time I look in the pantry.
My Most Recent Discovery
I recently purchased an old-fashioned kitchen tool that uses no electricity and is plastic-free. It’s simple and affordable. It’s an egg beater! While I still love my stick blender (read more about my hand blender here.) I’m finding all sorts of functions for my egg beater.
Transitioning away from BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals is a journey, but it’s a journey worth taking. Never underestimate the value of small changes.
- Would you like to learn more about BPA and other hormone-disrupting chemicals? Check out Andrea’s article Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals 101.
- Don't forget about our Introduction to BPA. It happens to be the first in Savvy's Mugshot email series.
- Are you ready for more? Subscribe to the Savvy Women's Alliance and recieve one tip a day for 20 days that will create a healthier home AND either save you money or doesn't cost a dime.
The Savvy Path blog explores one topic a month. This is one of a series featuring BPA tips and ideas. Would you like to peruse more ideas and tips?