Plastic is ubiquitous in our culture. It is convenient, fast and cheap. We find it in water bottles, dishes, baby bottles, children’s toys, lotions, and even our cosmetics. But there is generally a price to pay for this practical gift of the modern age, and in this case, we are talking about toxicity overload. In this article we will review 12 alternatives to plastic that can keep your thyroid and heart health safe, as well as keep you with less risk of cancer from the toxins in plastic.

Most people think of plastic as a single material, but in reality, plastic is a mixture of numerous synthetic materials combined to create the smoothest texture that has become the hallmark of modern life. However, there are already alternatives to plastic now that more studies have discovered its health dangers.

What are plastics?

Plastic refers to materials that are typically made from by-products of petroleum, natural gas, or coal. Plastics are also known as polymers. After they are designed, the additives are combined with the base material to give it the properties required for what it will be used to manufacture. Some additives will make the plastic more heat resistant, chemical resistant, or fade resistant. Examples of additives included in plastics are:

  • Antioxidants: to prevent wear
  • Colorants: to change the color
  • Foaming agents – for carpet padding and foam insulation
  • Plasticizers: for floors, insulation, gutters and more
  • Lubricants – for aircraft, locks, hinges and more
  • Anti-stats: reduce static electricity
  • Antimicrobial – for wall coverings, shower curtains and toilet seats
  • Flame retardants – for wire coatings, children’s toys and more

Plastic material is used to make hundreds of everyday products, from all kinds of mattresses and cushions to insulation, floors, furniture, dishes, glues, water bottles and coverings.

Bottom line: Plastic is a common material used in hundreds of everyday products, and it can be found in almost every home. Plastic exhibition is almost a guarantee for everyone in the modern world.

9 ways plastic affects health and the environment

Before looking at the alternatives to plastic that can better ensure your health and that of the environment, we must understand how plastic is affecting our health. Additives in plastic don’t just stay there, they get absorbed into bodies, break down as dust and pollute the air, and get into soil and water. Certain plastic components have properties that mimic hormones and can increase your risk of cancer. Additives in plastic pollute the air and are absorbed into bodies.

Most don’t look beyond the convenience of plastic, but in reality, polymers are putting human, animal and environmental health at serious risk.

  1. Plastic harms and poisons wildlife
  2. Plastic leaks from landfills into water supplies
  3. They consume inestimable energy
  4. They enter food and beverages
  5. Plastic crosses the placental barrier
  6. Cause reproductive harm and infertility
  7. Plastic increases the risk of breast cancer
  8. Plastic can disrupt thyroid activity
  9. Increase risk of heart disease and diabetes

While diet plays an important role in heart health, the high level of exposure to plastic can contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Not only that, but the toxins found in plastics can also increase the chances of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Plastics can lead to cellular confusion, which can increase the risk of autoimmune reactivity (type 1) or It can reduce hormonal sensitivity, leading to insulin resistance (type 2).

How to Detox From Plastic Exposure

First of all, we have to be able to detoxify from these exposures, as even plastic-conscious people still encounter some level of exposure almost unavoidable.

The main form of detoxification of the body is through the liver. The largest internal organ, the liver is the body’s filter and garbage collector. Filters the blood and removes toxins, breaking them down and pairing them with water molecules for elimination from the body.

The more toxic we become, the less efficiently the liver works. It gets stuck, and while it can work independently, if we live a lifestyle that supports the liver, it will function more effectively.

Certain foods and nutrients support liver health, and these need to be replenished regularly.

5 detox foods for your liver

The body is equipped with various organs that are designed to help take out the garbage, so to speak. The liver is the primary detoxification organ, and in order to detox effectively, the liver needs to have access to nutrients that help it function at its best.

1. Water

When not enough water is consumed, urine output decreases and constipation occurs. To cleanse the toxins, you’ll want to stay hydrated enough so that you don’t feel thirsty.

2. Cruciferous vegetables

Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are three of the best known crucifers. They are rich in phytonutrients that actually help the liver to counteract the harmful effects of certain toxins. They also protect the liver itself from being damaged by exposure to toxins. If gas is a problem, steam them, and slowly work your way around eating them raw.

3. Ajo

The allicin found in garlic is frequently compared to pharmaceutical compounds for its incredible ability to promote healing for the immune system. Allicin is also protective of the liver, and increases the ability to detoxify more efficiently.

4. Berries

Famous for its antioxidants, berries are one of the best foods for healthy detoxification because they are rich in nutrients and low in natural sugar.

5. Leafy vegetables

Last but not least, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin K, which promotes healthy blood. You want your blood to be as robust and healthy as possible, as it carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

Bottom Line: We can’t completely stop exposures to plastics, but we can help our bodies more successfully eliminate toxins that we ingest or absorb. This can be done by nourishing our liver, the primary detoxification organ.

12 alternatives to plastic that do not affect your health

There are alternatives for almost everything. It can be tempting to throw everything out, but that can be expensive and impossible for many families. The best way to approach plastic substitutes is to always buy as much new plastic-free items as possible, prioritizing old plastic items and replacing them when possible.

Metal, glass and silicone straws

Instead of plastic straws, choose metal, glass, or silicone. While silicone is considered a form of plastic by some, it does not leach into food or produce the same forms of toxicity as conventional or disposable plastic.

Glass food containers

Instead of the ubiquitous plastic containers found in most cabinets, choose Pyrex glass containers as an alternative to plastic (plastic lids may be fine as they don’t come in contact with food). Glass is considered non-toxic as it is derived from sand, but choose a simple container, not anything that is painted or frosted, as they can leach chemicals or toxins, including lead.

Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Instead of using plastic water bottles and cups, opt for stainless steel water bottles and glasses. Silicone caps are available to help make them less breakable.

Silicone bags

It’s super convenient to take food on the go or quickly store leftovers, but these little plastic bags are the top plastic offenders. Try swapping them out for silicone bags, these are popular and easy to wash and reuse. They can even be washed in the dishwasher. Food grade silicone is considered non-toxic because it is derived from silica, an abundant natural resource also derived from sand, rather than most plastics, which are derived from petroleum bases.

Reusable bamboo forks and spoons

If you need plastic forks and spoons to go, opt for a reusable bamboo set to go with you, or just take silverware (and don’t forget to bring them back).

Metal lunch boxes

Metal lunch boxes are popular right now, and for good reason – they’re more environmentally friendly and durable. Since they are often made of stainless steel they will not put your child’s food in danger of contact with plastics. Use these alternatives to plastic to take care of your health, they are also more durable.

Silicone Ice Cube Trays

Silicone ice cube trays work just as well as plastic ones, and best of all, they won’t fade or age from repeated use.

Wood and silicone

Wooden toys, which are making a comeback. These toys tend to be more expensive, but they are plastic-free and built to last much longer. Silicone or real rubber toys can also be a good choice for babies who love to chew on things.

Glass bottles and baby cups

Babies are at the highest risk of danger from repeated exposure to plastic, so opt for safer options like glass bottles with silicone handles and nipple, stainless steel cups, or water bottles with silicone straws.

Cast iron tableware

Nonstick cookware (Teflon) emits a form of plastic toxin when heated, so opt for stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead.

Glass, porcelain and silicone dishes

Options include glass, porcelain, and silicone, which means there is something for everyone that doesn’t include plastic toxins.

Cotton mattresses

Since these can be a major source of long-term plastic exposure along with flame retardants and other chemicals, choose a mattress that is organic and made of cotton, latex, wool, bamboo, or other natural substances.

Bottom line: There will always be a certain level of plastic exposure thanks to the modern environment we live in. But when we allow our bodies to effectively detoxify, and then reduce exposures by choosing alternatives to plastic , we will kick-start for greater health and well-being.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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