I used to use conventional products bottled in plastic before I learned the importance of avoiding toxic products and plastic chemicals.
When I started educating myself about the problems with conventional products and plastic chemicals, I learned from scientific studies that the ingredients inside many personal care products and sunscreens often include:
- Known or suspected carcinogens (chemicals that may cause cancer).
- Endocrine disruptors (chemicals that can harm your hormones).
- Even obesogens (chemicals linked to obesity).
Some of these delightful chemicals deliver a one-two, I mean one-three, punch. Just one chemical can prime your body for cancer, disrupt your hormones, and tip you into obesity simultaneously.
But that's not all. I also learned that the packaging of a beauty product itself could contain health-harming chemicals.
From the inception of Luxe Beauty, I made the difficult and expensive decision that the precious ingredients would be bottled in custom glass bottles. I did a lot of research while my Mom was healing from stage four cancer, and avoiding plastic became a high priority in my life. There are many reasons to avoid plastic, but here is one significant reason that I found while researching plastics:
Plastic chemicals in packaging Can lead to Weight Gain!
It turns out that plastic bottles, everything from shampoo bottles to yogurt containers, can be to blame for unwanted weight gain.
Take two sets of genetically identical mice. Give them the same amount of food and put them on the same exercise regime. Researchers can induce weight gain, and even obesity, in one set of mice by exposing that set to harmful chemicals. At the same time, the non-exposed mice will not gain weight.
A recent scientific study from Norway showed that more than 55,000 chemicals are in plastic containers.
The scientists were only able to identify 629 of them. And of those chemical compounds, 11 were already known to interfere with human metabolism.
In fact, when studied in the laboratory, these chemicals contributed to fat cell development. That's a problem, especially because chemicals in plastic packaging do not stay in the packaging. This Norwegian team of researchers showed that many chemical compounds could leach into the body.
"It's very likely that it is not the usual suspects, such as Bisphenol A, causing these metabolic disturbances. This means that other plastic chemicals besides the ones we already know could be contributing to overweight and obesity," Johannes Völker, the study's first author, said in a news release.
Daily-use plastics, the paper states, contain "potent mixtures" of metabolism-disrupting chemicals, the Norwegian scientists concluded. This plastic can be "a relevant yet underestimated environmental factor contributing to obesity."
"Synthetic chemicals in products like plastics and fragrances can mimic hormones and interfere with or disrupt the delicate endocrine dance. We're exposed to these chemicals daily, and we're especially vulnerable to them during phases of accelerated development—in utero and throughout childhood."
One commonly used shatterproof plastic (PC #7) can contain bisphenol-A, commonly called BPA, and flexible vinyl (PVC #3) includes phthalates. These chemicals are known EDCs. The science varies on how much of a risk these combined exposures pose in everyday life, but recent research shows even very low-dose exposures can be significant.
Many Reasons to Love Glass!
Glass is made from all-natural, sustainable raw materials.
Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity.
Glass packing for everything, please!
Okay, I admit I would buy everything in the glass if I could. One of my favorite coconut yogurt products switched from glass jars to plastic! Ugh! Unfortunately, I can no longer buy their product. I know glass isn't perfect; it can break, and at times it can be difficult to get the product out of glass bottles, especially when the product is getting low, but that's why The Spatty was created. I think it is best to choose health over convenience. Health is wealth, and cancer is definitely not convenient.
Don't Choose Aluminum
A packaging trend I am seeing to get away from plastic is aluminum. But aluminum is a known neurotoxin that has also been linked to breast cancer . Don't be duped by this fast-growing trend toward aluminum packaging or any other greenwashing.
Greenwashing is when companies falsely promote that they are "sustainable" or "environmentally friendly" when they aren't.
I recommend you read this article on the pros and cons of aluminum . It serves no known function in the human body. So, full disclosure, I don't want any aluminum in my body, and I don't think it has any pros...
Avoiding Obesogens: 6 Tips!
So now you know you don't want to put anything in or on your body that off-gasses chemicals that can leach into your food or your beauty products.
I think it can feel a little overwhelming at first. But baby steps count.
Start making small changes, baby step by baby step, and the big results you see (more energy, healthier skin, better sleep, plus a smaller number when you step on the scale) will motivate you to keep going.
1. Switch out your plastic food storage containers for glass
You've meant to do this; you haven't gotten around to it. Try storing leftover food in glass, which is super convenient because you can see what's inside. Or stainless steel food storage containers. These work well, but I prefer glass. I highly recommend you remove all your plastic containers from your house so you aren't tempted to use them again.
2. Ditch Normal dental floss. Conventional dental floss is made from Petroleum: Petroleum is the most common synthetic wax coating used for normal dental floss. My favorite healthy floss option is Dr.Tung's Smart Floss is made of fibers lightly coated with a vegetable/beeswax blend (contains beeswax plus one or more candelilla, carnauba, castor oil, and rice bran wax).
3. Don't use coffee and tea cups lined with plastic. Bring your own stainless steel thermos or mug.
4. Avoid saran wrap. Saran wrap aka Plastic wrap is "convenient," but it's also carcinogenic . And there's nothing convenient about cancer. Also, I do not buy aluminum wrap because, as I mentioned above, aluminum is a neurotoxin. Pyrex makes wonderful glass containers, and glass mason jars are excellent for storing anything, so saran wrap and aluminum foil are unnecessary.
5. Keep espresso spoons in your purse or backpack
You'll never need to use a plastic spoon again if you carry your small spoon with you. My friend, a mom of four, always keeps five small espresso spoons in her purse: one for each of her kids and an extra for her. That way, she and her kids always have non-toxic spoons to use, even on the run.
6. Bring a Glass water bottle with you every time you leave the house. I don’t leave my house without my mountain valley spring water in a glass bottle. That way I stay hydrated with high-quality spring water, and never have to buy water in a plastic bottle. The only time I am forced to buy water in a plastic bottle is at an airport.
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou