How To Avoid A Plasticized Life

A new study from the University of Michigan School of Public Health found that the more exposure to phthalates – an endocrine-disrupting material that’s used to make plastics more flexible – the higher the risk of declining testosterone levels, the main sex hormone in men that also plays an important role in physical growth, brain function, bone density and cardiovascular health in both sexes.

Environmental toxins – man-made – are steadily having an impact on lowered testosterone levels in the general population, leading to greater prevalence of reduced semen quality in men and genital malformations in baby boys, the Michigan researchers noted.

Both the U.S. and Canada recently announced regulations banning six phthalates in soft vinyl children’s toys and child care articles, but its use in cosmetics is not restricted. Whereas the European Union bans them in cosmetics, as well as in childcare articles and toys. The best way to avoid phthalates in fragrances is to use products that are “fragrance-free”.

Opt for glass containers over plastic ones.

Then there’s the whole X factor of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a chemical found in many plastic bottles, food containers, and the linings of cans. I’m sure most are aware of the associated health implications, but to name a few it can lead to increases in blood pressure and hormonal disruptions (lowered testosterone and infertility) similar to phthalates.

In a study conducted in Seoul, Korea, Associations of Bisphenol A Exposure With Heart Rate Variability and Blood Pressure, sixty older adults (mostly women) had three study visits, during which they consumed two servings of soy milk provided one of three ways: in two glass bottles (least amount of BPA exposure), two cans (most BPA), or one glass bottle and one can.

Urinary BPA concentrations were significantly higher two hours after participants drank from two cans versus two glass bottles. Furthermore, systolic blood pressure was roughly 4.5 mm Hg higher after two cans versus two glass bottles.

The authors write that the observed increase in blood pressure “may cause a clinically significant increase of risk of cardiovascular disorders, such as heart diseases and peripheral arterial diseases.”

How To Avoid Plastics

  •  Buy and store food in glass containers
  • Avoid buying food items contained in plastic packaging
  • Avoid plastic drinking bottles with BPA and aluminum cans with liners containing BPA. (Look for BPA-free on the label)
  • Avoid canned food (most canned liners contain BPA).
  • Sweat it out with a sauna, steam and regular workouts. For more on the benefits of heat therapy, read here

For a list of plastics to avoid (based on labeling) check out this post.


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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.