Get off the (plastic) bottle

Whether it’s in cell phones, cars, or common household items like computers, furniture, and cups, plastics not only “make it possible,” they may also make you sick.

Compounds with bizarre sounding names like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene, and polycarbonate are used in items like foam coffee cups, takeout containers, and the lining of metal cans. As a result of recent scientific research, we now know that chemicals in these plastics are making their way into your food and into your body.

When plastics are exposed to extreme temperatures, and especially when they are in contact with fatty foods (think latt├ęs, restaurant leftovers, and “microwave safe” plastic bowls), chemicals like sterene, phthalate (DEHP), bisphenol-a (BPA), "migrate" into your food and drink. After consuming these compounds (along with binders such as lead) your body absorbs them through the lining of the stomach and intestines.

Some of these compounds have shapes similar to the hormone estrogen which disrupts human reproductive development, fertility, mood, and neurological functions such as learning. Scary stuff right? The good news is that drinking a single cup of coffee out of a foam cup isn’t going to send your health into a plastic induced tail-spin.

By reducing the amount of chemicals your body is exposed to, natural excretion and detoxification systems have a chance to kick in and clean up. Cutting out the chemical crud doesn’t have to be difficult either. There are now many convenient and eco-friendly options available that are made from glass, ceramic, and natural materials.

Coffee cups- Ceramic coffee cups with silicone lids and sleeves not only look authentic, they work great, are dishwasher safe, and can save you money when you refill at the coffee shop.

Find them at Walgreens, specialty stores, or online.

Water bottles- Aluminum water bottles from Sigg and Klean Kanteen come in many different sizes, colors, and customizable options (wide mouth lids, sip tops, etc.) But, be sure to pick up a cleaning kit so you can scrub them out every few days.

Find them at outdoor stores or purchase directly from Sigg and Klean Kanteen.

Food containers- Whether it’s in the fridge, microwave, or oven, Pyrex glass and ceramic cooking ware like Corning Ware works wonders. Be sure to transfer cellophane wrapped meats, cheeses, and other food into products options into these types of containers for safe storage.

Find them at Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, or online at Corningware and Pyrex's websites:

Plastics by the numbers:
Bottles with “1”, “2”, “4”, or “5” imprinted in the triangle on the bottom are made from polyethylene and polypropylene which contains less toxic additives. No matter what, avoid using worn and scratched plastic containers and transfer foods to non-plastic cups or bowls before heating.

“How to Avoid the Dangers of Plastic Food and Beverage Containers”, Marie Louise-Blue, March 7th 2008,

“Clouds in your Coffee? Try Less Styro, More Foam. Polystyrene Foam Cups & Containers, Styrene Migration, and Your Health”, April 8th 2008,

“5 Easy Steps”, Healthy Child Healthy World,

“BPA Leaches from ‘Safe’ Products”, Susan Rust and Meg Kissinger,

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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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