Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Plactics. Ugh. (Again)
In the relatively short time (6.5 years) that I have been a mother, plastics have been in and out of the news, and constantly on my mind. PVC plastics, which comprise things like shower curtains, plumbing, and bath toys that baby's put in their mouths, are made with phthalates. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors that affect hormone regulation and can cause cancer, birth defects, and a whole list of other health problems. BPA, another endocrine disruptor, has become well-known in recent years as parents fought to get this chemical out of baby bottles, sippy cups, and toys.
And, while I have tried to be very conscious about plastics in general, and prefer not to bring any into my home unless necessary, we live in a society surrounded by the stuff. From toothbrushes and legos to computers and markers, my home, as conscious as I am about plastic, is still full of the stuff.
Several years ago we got rid of all of our plastic tupperware and swapped it out for glass storage containers. We bought a stainless steel french press. I used glass baby bottle for both kids. The kids grew up drinking from aluminum water bottles. We bought stainless steel drinking straws. And, like any concerned mother, I made sure that all of our child plates, bowls and sippy cups were BPA-free.
Well, last week I read this article in Mother Jones. It discusses how some of these BPA-free plastics, which many of us assumed were now safe for our kids, may actually be full of chemicals that are even more toxic than BPA. I guess deep-down I always knew this was a possibility. I have been skeptical of plastics for many years, even the so-called safe ones. But, I also feel like I am a crazy paranoid person most of the time and try and tell myself to loosen up. I tell myself things like "I grew up with plastics and I am still alive" and have tried to push away the nagging feelings that creep up continuously.
Well, I guess this article has just reaffirmed that my 'craziness' is justified. The husband and I decided to order stainless steel plates and cups for the kids, and to stock up on small sized glass jars for little hands to use for drinking. Yes, plastics are convenient. They don't break. They have nice little lids and keep spill from happening. They come in fun colors. But is all of this worth compromising our children's health? No way.
As more and more health problems unfold from these everyday plastics, I am sure more and more companies will try and strive to make safer and safer plastics. But these new products will be tested on our children (who will act as lab rats) until we see if new problems emerge. I am done looking for the safe plastic alternative, and am headed back to the tried and true natural products that humans have used for generations. If we break some glass, or spill some milk, I am pretty sure that we will all live through it.
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