Bye Bye Plastic

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

UPDATE: A few people asked about Tervis Tumblers. They DO have BPA according to a company statement. BPA is THE major endocrine disruptor. Sad, I know. I used to LOVE them too. Tervis claims their products are safe though (see comments). I would not trust the safety of any BPA though after the studies I heard the other night. Canada banned BPA in baby bottles and the US and other countries are following suit. If is is safe, why would they ban it?

Also, a few people told me they have found stainless steel at their local Target for lunches and snacks. Wish I could go buy some:( I am hinting for Dave to get some but he is not taking my bait.


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Last week I read a very interesting book called Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax. I would recommend it for anyone raising boys today. Months ago, my good friend in Virginia (Hi Colleen) suggested this book to me and it was on my "to read" list. Then last week, my new neighbor stopped by to invite us to a little party at his house. As it turns out, the author is his brother and was going to give a little talk at the party. I was thrilled because Dr. Sax looks at how boys and girls learn differently and how they are coping in today's society in his two books (and a third which is coming soon). In graduate school, I studied and researched gender differences as well and I have taught university courses on the subject. I published research on gender differences back when I had a career. In fact, back in the day, I won a national award for my research in this field. So, I was very excited to talk to the author.

Dr Sax points to five factors that are contributing to young boys being "adrift" in today's society and he presents very convincing research. However, there are some sweeping generalizations made in the book. For example, he suggests that boys are not interested in reading or winning the school spelling bee anymore. I am sure many are not, however Will and his friends LOVE to read. And as you know, Harry is quite the spelling bee competitor. So, while his book has many valid points there are places where I think he exaggerates the true condition of boys today. In reading this book, I realized that fortunately, Will and Harry are most certainly NOT adrift. But there were topics that made me re-think some things we could improve upon.

One of the big topics in this book is endocrine disruptors. I am not a scientist but my understanding of the research is that plastic cups, bottles, etc. are really impacting the hormones of our children in a very negative way (everything from premature puberty to low sperm count and infertility to low motivation). I had been wanting to make the switch from some plastic cups for the kids to all glass but I never got around to it. The book and Dr. Sax presentation Saturday night really convinced us to get rid of ALL of our plastic cups. So, now all of our drinking vessels (even Kate's) are glass. Since, I cannot buy glass containers until after Lent, we are phasing out our plastic food storage over the next few weeks. I do have some glass containers and I trying to use them instead of plastic.

I urge you to read this book if you want to look at how boys are changing and some dangers as they grow up. I also would urge you to read the research on endocrine disruptors here, here, here, here and here. This article (sent to me by Rebecca~thank you) is really thorough. It is all very eye opening to read and really such an easy change to make for the betterment of our children and our environment.

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We are going to try to phase all of this plastic out. See that little stainless steel snack bowl? We have a few of those stainless steel plates too and they are a safe alternative to plastic for little ones who might break glass.

I found a website that offers really neat alternatives for plastic (especially for lunch-boxes, bye bye baggies?) The products are a little pricey but I think they might be worth it!

49 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info. I'll pass it along to my sister, I have an 8 yearl old nephew. It's probably a good thing for me as well. I'm always buying, losing or throwing away the junk plastic containers. I could invest in glass and not worry about it any longer. I appreciate the info. Also, love that you will not purchase until after Lent, proud of your strength :)

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  2. This is news to me! Thanks for sharing! Please let us know what you find for replacements and solutions! It's sad that I have a hard time imagining my life without plastic.

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  3. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I think I will be moving in that direction also.

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  4. Thanks for sharing. I have many friends who have made the switch already. i am doing so slowly (yikes - maybe too slowly). I know Crate and Barrel has storage containers that go from the fridge to the microwave (if necessary).

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  5. That is so interesting! I don't really like to use plastic, but I do sometimes, so I will be re-thinking that and phasing it out too! Thanks for tip!

    Janet

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  6. I also gave up Teflon, and plastic containers for food. The whole BPA thing hit here before it hit you guys (the government ban, that is). It's insidious because the contaminents are everywhere. Simply everywhere. I believe that our bodies have turned into toxic dump sites. Until we do something proactive!

    Good for you for getting rid of your plastic. There is some unbreakable/safety glass out there. And then there's the covered-with-something glasses.

    http://tinyurl.com/yj9ofa7 for example

    Good luck,
    Snick :)

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  7. Well...I think you just sealed the deal for me!!! Lucy doesn't really want to use the plastic anymore, because she wants to be like everyone else, so off the cups go and the plates too?? Our good friend was just here in Seattle having surgery for prostate cancer (46 year old!) and we had a discussion about plastic containers, and I really want to get rid of mine. He and his wife said they found great glass storage containers w/lids at Costco (so after Lent :) check those out!) I will too! I will have to look for the stainless steel, that would be great for the summer!

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  8. Yikes! What have I done to my poor children. Hopefully it isn't too late to make the switch.

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  9. very interesting!! i will have to look at the research. bradley loves his sippy cups, etc. i worry about that a lot!

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  10. Great post (as always). :) We have stopped using plastic water bottles -- better for the environment, better for us. We have a TON of pyrex containers with glass bottoms and plastic tops that are great for leftovers!

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  11. Pampered Chef has some super sturdy little glass bowls called Prep Bowls! Fabulous for snacks.

    http://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=9792&words=prep

    My child has used them since age one and we have never had one break! One of my favorite things!

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  12. Thanks for posting, Kim. You might be interested in this article series: http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/34405049.html
    Our local newspaper won the highest journalism award last year for its series on chemicals in plastic.

    Blessings,
    Rebecca

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  13. Thanks for posting, Kim. You might be interested in this article series: http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/34405049.html
    Our local newspaper won the highest journalism award last year for its series on chemicals in plastic.

    Blessings,
    Rebecca

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  14. Thanks for posting, Kim. You might be interested in this article series: http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/34405049.html
    Our local newspaper won the highest journalism award last year for its series on chemicals in plastic.

    Blessings,
    Rebecca

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  15. so, the BPA free plastic is ok, or not even that? I have found a good site - thesoftlanding.com that has lots of safe products for kids and families...
    thanks for posting this to get awareness out! scary stuff!

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  16. What an eye opener! I don't have boys but I will definitely stop using the plastic for the girls too! We usually always use glass anyway- so glad we do now!!! thanks for sharing!
    Blessings!

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  17. I've heard a lot about this. We use the glass storage containers and stainless steel water bottles for us and only BPA/Pthalate free stuff for Kerry. This stuff is scary!

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  18. I did NOT give up shopping for Lent so I am heading to Target tomorrow for new water bottle for the kids' lunchboxes and glass containers for leftovers!

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  19. I do have a question: What are you packing the kids lunches in? I use Gladware for goldfish, grapes, carrots, etc. I don't feel comfortable packing glass containers to school. Please do let me know what you think about this!

    Thanks dearie!

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  20. Hi Kim,

    Good info - gives me something to think about. I may seek out the book you mention.

    One idea for storage until you can buy glass storage - keep glass jars from jellies, pasta sauces, salsas, etc. Ok, never mind the pasta sauce b/c I'm sure you make your own! With the rest, stick them in the dishwasher and you have a glass storage container! :)

    I too am curious, what about BPA free plastic?

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  21. Thanks...I will check this stuff out. For school lunches (or picnics) try http://www.etsy.com/shop/WasteNotSaks

    I use them instead of baggies for sandwiches, carrots, snap peas, etc. It's more laundry, but they are cute, fun and environmentally preferred!

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  22. sounds like an interesting book. we don't use plastic cups at all. we have plastic food storage that is bpa free and we heat everything up on plates. i'd like to switch to all glass storage {crate and barrel has some great options} when finances aren't as tight. something we've both worked hard on is not using plastic bottles ... we don't buy them except for seltzer water and then drink it from a cup. it's just amazing to me what is allowed in our eating products and food these days.

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  23. I've been thinking clearing the children's "plastic" shelf for some time, and after reading this post, I'm declaring today as "The Day"! Thanks for the info! I recently bought stainless water bottles for the girls and even found a Thermos sippy cup (with straw) that keeps milk, etc. cold for up to 12 hrs. I found them at Target and noticed some great stainless containers for lunches, snacks as well. I'm definitely going after those in the next few days!

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  24. Does anyone know if Tervis tumblers are the type of plastic that is not good? I love mine!!!

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  25. it's funny : as far as i remember i never used plastics for my daughters , since they're babies , they always eat in "normal " plates and drink in glass ...Believe me , no accident in 5 years ... I know about this toxicity : it's frightening !

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  26. Kim, this was yet another informative post! I have been scared SILLY about glass containers for my little one! I know the "phobia" about them came about when my little sister fell w/a glass in her hand and it almost severed her hand! Some 100stitches later and months of therapy not only left a scar on her hand, but one on my memory! I actually "freaked out" when I saw one of my kids w/a glass in their hand! That accident w/my sister has been over 30yrs ago!

    However this post made me "freak out" a little as well! I'm gonna phase out the plastic and search for the stainless steel instead!

    Kudo's to you on your National Award!! That is wonderful!!! I can't wait to hear all about you meeting the author!

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  27. Kim, Thank you for your post. This is something I've felt strongly about for some time, and I got rid of all our plastic except the BPA-free kind last year. Do you think that is safe? I've also found a great alternative to plastic--they're called Kidishes http://www.zoebonline.com/kidishes-kid-friendly-tempered-glass-duralex.html. They have small and large bowls, and I think the smaller ones make great snack bowls.
    Take care,
    Michele

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  28. Very interesting! I had read about the danger of heating plastic a while ago and I now use the glass containers (the lids are great because nothing leaks!) I got quite a few from the Container Store. I Had NOT heard about the danger on boys though. I stopped using plastic in the microwave and dishwasher a while ago. I didn’t realize just USING the plastic could be harmful. Thanks for all the links! Way to go on restraining from buying new stuff. I would keep hinting to Dave about the NEED for them! :)))

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  29. Lily makes three..thanks for posting that etsy site! I love it! I need to make a list of places to find these things.

    I have a couple of friends who are more aware of these types of issues, but for the most part I don't know many other people who are interested. It makes me feel good to know that there are more of you out there!
    Thanks for posting the information!

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  30. Tervis Tumblers have BPA in polycarbonate -- read here for info

    Researchers from government agencies, academia, and industry worldwide have studied the potential for bisphenol A (BPA) to migrate from polycarbonate products into foods and beverages. These studies consistently show that the potential migration of BPA into food is extremely low, generally less than 5 parts per billion under conditions typical for uses of polycarbonate products. At this level, a consumer would have to ingest more than 1,300 pounds of food and beverages in contact with polycarbonate every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Consequently, human exposure to BPA from polycarbonate plastics is minimal and poses no known health risk.

    The use of polycarbonate plastic for food contact applications continues to be recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Commission Scientific Committee on Food, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency, the Japan Ministry for Health and Welfare and other regulatory authorities worldwide.

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  31. Wow! This is frightening stuff.....will definitely be doing some research on it. Thanks for sharing!!!
    I am guilty of using plastic with the kids, especially in school lunches. All 3 of mine prefer bringing their lunch over buying. Will have to look into alternatives. This really makes me sick to my stomach as my boys are 12 and 14 now and I used plastic through out their entire young childhood.
    I am curious about good old fashion Corelle?? I have always used this for the kids. I love the small solid white bowls and dishes. Do you know anything about it??
    Thanks again for sharing!

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  32. I have not heard about BPA. Where have I been?! Oh yeah...China!! I did happen to buy a plastic bowl thermos at Target yesterday that said it was BPA free. I didn't know what that meant, but I guess they do make plastic without it? I will have to look into this.

    Thanks for the info!

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  33. I've been slowly trying to phase out the plastic as well and then when Eme came along, we fell back into the plastic world.

    I read a different book, that listed those same factors and more on how the education has changed over the years and how boys struggle so differently. Like you, I don't see my boys 'adrift' but I do see problems with the schooling and the way one of my boys is able to process it and what we can do to improve it for him. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this as well. It's made me think about it all over again and given me more resolve on what we need to do.

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  34. Thanks for the information. I have so much plastic in my kitchen, now I am freaking out about baby bottles! I don't think I have ever seen glass baby bottles, have you? HELP!!!!!!!!!

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  35. Oh my goodness. That was so eye opening. I had no idea. I have sincerely thank you for that post. I feel almost silly now for keeping so much plastic around...it is almost scary. I really want to check that book out. Thank you so much.

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  36. love the website you recommended - but a bummer that none of their kid products are dish washer safe because they are sooo cute :(

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  37. We recently got rid of plastic in our house too!

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  38. We have been a BPA free house since before our girls came home. I'm a doula and I always recommend BPA free bottles to my clients.
    For my girls we use camelback BPA free water bottles http://www.rei.com/gear/feature/search/Google/camelbak%20bottle?cm_mmc=ps_google_CH-_-Category%20-%20Camp%2fHike-_-Multi-Category_Brand_Camelbak_Better_Bottles-_-camelback%20bottles&mr:adGroup=1289122835&mr:ad=3954330995&mr:keyword=camelback%20bottles&mr:placement=&mr:match=e&mr:referralID=NA&gclid=CJW_68TXjaACFRTyDAodY2XWfAand at home use ikea small glass tumblers the 'classic' ones and we have dropped them many times on the floor and they seem to be extremely resistant to slippy two year old hands. Now...if we can ge tthe converstation started about revolutionizing school lunches we'll be on the right path to a healthier and happier Nation.

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  39. this is so interesting, I know that you will be anxious to find the alertanive to plastics, Like Collen the good days of Corelle can't be beat!

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  40. I've also been reading lately how soy milk is bad.

    And do not buy microwave popcorn bags! google this to find out why they are bad. The teflon coating in the bags gets released onto the popcorn when heated in the microwave.

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  41. I also went to the web and was sadden that they were not dishwasher/microwave safe. That's a bummer for me also.

    PS Too funny about Dave! Kim you are doing great!!!!

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  42. Great post! Over the years we have taken small steps to use nonplastic in our household. It started with glass plates when I was pregnant because many of our dishes had lead. When my first child went to Montessori they used only glass in the baby/toddler room to teach cause/effect in addition to environmental reasons. I would recommend when buying anything, to eliminate things with paint, there have been a few lead recalls of child stainless thermos's with paint: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/Recalls/foodware.htm

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  43. Thank you for this post! You took every article that I had started reading, condensed it and put the peanut mama spin on it. You rock!!!!!!!!! Many many thanks!

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  44. I do have a suggestion of another alternative to plastics. You might love to try it because it is 100% BPA free and has many good features. The alternative that I discovered is a stainless steel tiffin carrier, tableware, etc. It's really fantastic because of its style and design which it is an easy stack and re-pack. Also, it is spill proof and watertight so even if you used to store liquids there it won't leak. Another good thing is it is long lasting, eco-friendly, safe and flexible. You can't also have a hard time cleaning it because washing is very simple.

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  45. I liked your article, but like a previous poster said, look at the way we are schooling our young men. Check this book out:
    The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life, by Michael Gurian.

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  46. Thank you so much for sharing your information and tips! And I especially love books on raising boys! So thank you for that too! You are such a good Mama Bear Kim!

    And guess what......

    I think I am visitor 1 million! Goodness Gracious! You are a pro blogger with those kinds of stats girlie!

    Big Hug and Happy Spring to you sweet friend!!

    xoxoxo
    Sibi

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  47. Okay, I just scolled down a little more! Never mind my last comment!! I am laughing right now! I should not be allowed to read blogs when I am this sleep deprived!!!!

    Please do not publish my comments. Clearly I need more sleep. You are way past one million !

    Never mind!

    Love and hugs to you and congratulations!!!

    xoxoxo
    Sibi

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  48. Do you know where we can find information on particular items that contain BPA?

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  49. I have been reading a lot of things about the bpa free water bottles and how good they are for the children. It amazes me that we can go on for such a long time without realizing the dangers of something like bpa and all its side affects.

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Thank you for your kindness.