PREGNANT OR TRYING TO CONCEIVE? AVOID PLASTICS AND RECEIPTS
Plastics, phthalates, and bisphenol, oh my!
Pregnant or trying to conceive? More evidence suggests it is better to avoid plastics and receipts. Last week, I watched a news story about a research study connecting low level exposure of plastics in pregnant fish to brain damage in their offspring. This association between brain deformity and exposure to a small amount of plastic was so strong, that the University of Calagary researchers are now calling for pregnant humans to avoid using plastic bottles or handling receipts, even though the study was on fish. Why? Because the levels of bisphenol A and bisphenol S detected were lower than what is normally found in human placentas and still caused significant brain damage.
In addition to pregnant women, I would expand the recommendation to women trying to conceive. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor. If one already has a hormone imbalance, then I recommend my fertility patients also avoid these exposures if possible. Even the American Society for Reproductive Medicine suggests fertility patients take anticipatory measures to avoid exposure.
The take away? Don’t use plastic if you can help it.
What can you do?
- Use glass as much as possible. When carrying a water bottle, make it glass or uncoated stainless steel, and take your lunch in a glass container. Don’t buy water in plastic bottles. If you do have to use plastic, use this tool to choose the least toxic one.
- Never warm up your foods or liquids in plastic. Heating up plastic allows it to leach into your food or beverage.
- Avoid microwave popcorn in bags, as the lining often contains plastic that leaches into the popcorn.
- Avoid touching receipts. Many retailers use a specific type of paper that is coated in plastic that leaves a residue on your fingers when touched. This can be enhanced if your hands are greasy, or if you just used a hand sanitizer. If you don’t need the receipt, then just tell the retailer you don’t need one. If you do, ask the retailer to email you a copy or take a photo of it using your phone’s camera.
Photo by Carli Jean. Used by permission.