Our Plastic Awareness Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness about the different types of plastic and their effects on human health. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout July. Each article will cover examples of how plastic impacts our health, offering helpful tips and information to encourage readers to reduce plastic pollution for healthier living.
The Impact of Plastic on Human Health
July 16, 2023
There is a lot of talk about ways to protect and improve our environment nowadays. It’s easy to assume that recycling is helping to keep Mother Earth happy and healthy, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that. In fact, a lot of the issues involving our environment directly impact human health.
Take plastic for example. The next time you go to your local grocery store, look at all the packaged items available. It’s easy to get used to grabbing bottled beverages, reaching for bread and baked goods packaged in plastic, or even grabbing for a freezer meal wrapped up in a plastic coating to keep the contents fresh.
Plastic is one of the most used substances for packaged products that range from food and beverages to construction materials, baby toys, lawn furniture, and more. All this plastic adds up to hazardous environmental waste that fills our landfills and impacts local ecosystems, which in turn, impacts us.
Additionally, plastic packaging can result in chemical contamination of food and beverages that affect humans and animals, which humans then eat or rely on for food. Even if the food items themselves are not impacted by the chemicals in plastic, food and water can become contaminated by these chemicals before even becoming packaged. In short, plastic impacts our health both directly and indirectly.
Plastic contains toxic chemicals that can leach into foods, especially when heated. These chemical pollutants have been linked with various health risks including endocrine disruption as a result of hormonal shifts and certain cancers such as leukemia [1,2].
To minimize chemical exposure, it is advisable to refrain from heating any substances in plastic. In addition to making this change, consider taking a high-quality probiotic, like ProvenMD’s Probiotics, to improve gut health, and in turn, aid in balancing hormones.
Probiotics is a unique probiotic formula designed to deliver active organisms shown to promote healthy gut microflora, protect intestinal integrity and boost immune function. Included in this formula is Saccharomyces boulardii, an extensively researched microorganism shown to help restore microflora balance by enhancing commensal organism function.
- Enhances Immune System Function
- Maintains a Healthy Gut-Immune Barrier
- Maintains Normal Inflammatory Balance
- Supports Digestion and Micronutrient Absorption
- Maintains Gastrointestinal Health
Although it’s easy to spot where there might be health effects from plastics, it’s not always as easy to address. Many companies have started creating environmentally friendly packaging; however, we are still far off from making global progress when it comes to plastic and its effects on the human population.
Recycling does play a key role in helping to reduce environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, but what we really need is for more companies to get on board with plastic-free packaging to limit humans’ exposure to these potentially toxic chemicals, especially in our foods.
In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to create a plastic-free environment in your home to help reduce exposure. For example, try to choose produce items that are not packaged in plastic, such as whole fruits and veggies. You can bring a small reusable cloth bag to carry them with you and avoid grabbing plastic produce bags. You can also shop local farmer’s markets or small, local grocers that have more foods available that are not packaged.
Additionally, Try buying your pantry staples in bulk, such as rice, nuts, seeds, or pasta. Although it may not seem like a lot at first, these small changes can add up over time. Besides, your health is worth the extra time.