Plastic Makes You Fat

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plastic wrap reduced Who would have thunk it? In recent years medical professionals have noticed a ballooning in the number of very overweight babies being born. For a long time the thought was that more and more obese mothers equals more and more obese babies, but over time it became evident this connection could not explain away all the increase in chubby babies. A Harvard study reported that “obesity” in babies has increased over 70% since 1980. Since these babies only breast feed or drink formula, processed food and soda can not be blamed for their weight. Now comes word that exposure to some of the chemicals in common plastics, in the womb and early in life, could be the reason for the “epidemic” of childhood obesity. The Mail from the United Kingdom went so far as to say:

“Pregnant women who eat food that has been wrapped in plastic could make their unborn baby obese in later life…. Chemicals in plastic food wrapping and plastic feeding bottles are believed to interfere with the body hormones that regulate fat levels and help prevent obesity”.

That quote seems to indicate that the obesity is “later in life”, but new research shows these children are often being born obese.

I have known for years and have written many times that we should not use Teflon coated pans, heat food in plastic containers, or drink out of certain types of plastic bottles, but  I have always assumed that the mere contact with plastic could not have harmful effects.  It seemed to make sense that plastic wrap, bags, plates, etc., as long as they were not heated or kept in contact with foods for long periods of time, were safe.  Now I am not so sure that assumption is accurate.  When I think of all the food; meat, cheese, lettuce, vegetables, pretty much everything, that comes packaged in plastic, my head starts to throb!  What are we to do though?  Well, we can avoid cooking or heating foods in plastic.  We can use stainless steel cookware and cook on lower heats.  We can also avoid canned foods and water bottles that contain BPA.  There is a lot we can do to lower our exposure.  But can we really completely give up plastic bags to store lunch or vegetables in?  I am not sure, but like so much in life that is unhealthy, the more realistic goal is probably reducing your exposure, not driving yourself crazy trying to eliminate all use of plastic.

If you are a pregnant woman or the parent of young children though, the latest research seems to show your concern should be heightened, and perhaps your avoidance should be more complete.  There is a very good article I just found online as I was writing this post.  It is at the Newsweek website and goes into much more detail on the history and results of this research into the bad side of plastics.  That article should be a suggested read for new or expecting parents.

Other research has already shown that babies exposed in utero to chemicals like herbicides, insecticides, or  BPA, have an increased risk of health problems and obesity later in life.  Now we can add plastics to that list.

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Will Sig
1 BK

A few years back when we first read about the risk of using plastic bottles to hold drinking water, we stopped using it. Now we just get those bottles that are safe to hold drinking water. It is scary to know that plastics use to hold our foods can have such bad effects too. Although I don’t heat up food in plastic, it is quite unavoidable to not use plastic bags to hold those groceries. Come to think of it, since plastics are not good for the environment, it should have make sense to us earlier that they are bad for our bodies too.
.-= BK´s last blog ..Living Happily Ever After Like in Fairy Tales =-.

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2 Christine

This is very interesting. Thanks for the information!
.-= Christine´s last blog ..Best Cooking Websites =-.

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3 Luc J

That’s scary. The problem is that there are so many compounds out there that it’s impossible to say what is yand what not. If it’s wrapped in paper, what is the paper treated with? Use a stainless steel pan? Great, but then you need to add more fat which is also bad for you. Etc,etc.
.-= Luc J´s last blog ..Secure USB Flash Drive – Personal Pocket Safe =-.

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4 Everything's here

Wow, I did not know about the fact of using teflon before. Thank you for sharing this. Very useful information for me, especially since I have to raise two small children at this time.

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5 Marguerite

While I agree that plastic is a problem on many levels. I think the weight increase has very little to do with the plastic and much more to do with the ingredients in baby formula there is so much sugar in most of the popular formulas that it surprises me that babies and not just children are getting diabetes. Our bodies are not built to take such neuro-toxic products

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6 Will

There have been some studies that even young children that did not consume formula are heavier. Now comes news that even mothers that pump breast milk into plastic bottles may be contaminating that. Everyone in the westernized world that has been tested for the chemicals that are in plastics, Teflon, etc. are found to have these chemicals in their blood. Many of these are endocrine disruptors. That is the biggest issue and may contribute to all sorts of health problems.

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7 Anthony Samsel

Although the use of the plasticizer BPA is declining, a more insidious problem still lurks in plastics, PBDE, AKA Polybrominated diphenyl-ether and Antimony trioxide. PBDE’s and Antimony trioxide are combined to make a flame retardant system used in 90% of plastics made in the USA & China.

Food and drink containers, mattresses, carpeting, clothing, electronics and a host of other consumer products are loaded with this dangerous flame retardant system.

In the early seventies I worked on a project at Arthur D Little, Inc. Cambridge , MA. where this flame retardant system was developed. In 1969 NASA lost an Astronaut team in a tragic launch pad fire. NASA awarded ADL a contract to develop a flame retardant system for space clothing.

The flame retardant system comprising Decabromodiphenylether and Antimony trioxide was added to Spandex to fire proof space clothing. It was never intended to be in worldwide use as we new it’s toxicity. The heads of Product Development at ADL ignored my concerns about it’s safety. Their only focus was to solve NASA’s problem with space clothing.

Shortly thereafter the flame retardant system was marketed to the plastics industry and other manufacturing sectors of private industry including the National Fire Protection Agency.
This flame retardant system contains up to 60% Antimony trioxide and is a known endocrine system disruptor.

Liver, Kidney, Bladder, Lung diseases, sexual dysfunction and an inability to metabolize fat are associated with these materials.
A laboratory study on mice found that ingesting this flame retardant system inhibited the metabolism of fat causing obesity. Test animals increased fatty tissue from exposure and gained weight.

Interesting is a look at the world consumption of Antimony Trioxide from the mid to late 1970’s (when this flame retardant system was introduced ) to the present. A graph of millions of tons of Antimony Trioxide shows a continuous upward curve that is similar to the obesity curve for the same time period.

Virtually all plastics contain this flame retardant system. Liquids packaged in plastic become contaminated from the Antimony Trioxide & PBDE’s. Water bottles, juice drinks, milk, cooking oils, cans lined with plastic, mayo, salad dressings etc.
WARNING: these materials are bio-cumulative and should be avoided.
Best regards and good health to all,
Anthony Samsel retired Hazardous Chemical Materials Consultant for Arthur D. Lttle, Inc.

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8 Will

Anthony – Why would flame retardants be put in food and drink containers? Strange. The bio-cumulative effects of all these chemicals is one of the most insidious and overlooked dangers.

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9 Anthony Samsel

Plastic containers without flame retardants are extremely flammable and burn like jellied gasoline or Napalm. Not fun trying to fight a plastics fire.

With PVC, Hydrochloric acid is one of many products of combustion, not to mention the vaporized vinyl and phosgene gases. With out full faced self-contained breathing apparatus your lungs are toast.

Teflon coated electrical wire and cable is even more dangerous. In a fire the most dangerous product is Perfluoroisobutylene. This gas is one thousand times more lethal than phosgene.

Best regards,

Anthony Vincent Samsel

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10 Will

So in a house fire you should get out even if not in immediate danger of burning. The smoke sounds like it could kill you faster than the fire. 1,000 times more deadly than the poison gas used in WW1? I thought I read somewhere that is is given off by Teflon at 800 degrees F and was 10 times more deadly than phosgene. Either way it sure is nasty stuff. I wonder if a teflin pan can be heated to 800 degrees on a stove top?

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11 Anthony Vincent Samsel

Will,
Toxic smoke will kill you faster than the fire. Most homes do not have Teflon coated wiring, they have PVC coated wire. However, some appliances and electronics contain teflon coated wire for continuous high temperature operation. Carpeting and fabrics contain fluoropolymer coatings for stain resistance. All Fluoropolymers release PFIB during pyrolysis , and in a fire Perfluoroisobutylene is just one of many toxic gases released.

The number 1,000 times more toxic than phosgene came from an old manufacturers data safety sheet for raw Fluon plastic pellets for extrusion, molding etc. The number is excessive but I guess they wanted to make a point about safety.

The actual LC 50 ( lethal concentration exposure limit for one hour ) for PFIB is 500 parts per billion . Phosgene LC 50 is 75 parts per million. Both cause death in one hour or less in Rats. Another reference suggests Phosgene LC 50 at 50 ppm/ 5 minutes and PFIB LC 50 at 0.01 ppm/ 5 minutes.
At any rate it’s going to kill you.

Yes a Teflon pan can be heated to 800 degrees F. and in an oven under some broilers a temperature of 1500 degrees F. can be achieved . Heating and thermal decomposition of all Fluoropolymers should be avoided.

Best regards to all

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