Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Living in an Estrogenic World

Chemicals from plastics can leach into the drink or food it holds, especially when the plastic is heated or cooled. (Flickr/Steven Depolo, Dec 2, 2010)

Larry Plesent

Previous Ingredient of the Month articles have focused on various plastics and their effects on human health. Let’s take a deeper dive into the plastic-coated world we have created for ourselves, and its real-life implications. What you are about to read is happening now to your body and to people you love. This is not taking place in some theoretical future.

Here’s a good rule of thumb told to me by the CEO of a cancer drug testing company with offices in multiple states. She told me that the clearer and more flexible the plastic, the more it leaches phthalates or bis-phenol A (BPA) into whatever it contacts. In her own words, “If it smells or tastes like plastic, you are being poisoned.”

Heating and cooling plastics increases the release of off gassing and leaching chemicals used in the creation of the plastic object. For example, freezing water bottles creates microcracks in the plastic which greatly increase chemical leaching from the bottle.

Reusing your plastic water bottles turns out to be a terrible idea. Not only are you being chemically poisoned by the bottles, the porosity of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics also allows bacteria and germs to proliferate on them. Not good.

PET or PETE (#1) plastic is the type of plastic infamously used to make most water bottles. You will find it in tin cans as an inner surface coating, car interiors, medical tubes, furniture, and disposable medical devices. Phthalates are assimilated through the skin, drink and food, baby toys, pesticides in our food, work and homes; and by breathing a near-constant stream of plastic dust from degrading clothing and tires. Your body perceives and assimilates phthalates as if they were estradiol, the most biologically active form of estrogen.

Estrogen supplementation by drinking plastic water or by freezing or microwaving plastic food containers is very risky business. Excess estrogen has been shown to increase the reproduction rate of breast cancer tumor cells by over forty times. Excessive estrogen is affecting our children with disorders of sexual maturation, cancer and is potentially contributing to their now famous ADHD issues.

Is that reason enough to boycott plastic water?

On a completely different front, new evidence shows that the metal antimony also leaches from PET water bottles, sometimes in dangerous amounts and may contribute to a host of health issues. If you are concerned about the uptake of metals into your biology, pay attention to this one.

PVC (V) is used in the manufacture of PEX and other plastic water tubes, gym mats, clothing and tek gear, shoes and many of the plastic film wraps used for food storage. Like polycarbonates (#7), PVC off gasses and leaches BPA (a known carcinogen) as well as its own phthalates and dioxins into everything around it; including the air we breathe.

HDPE (#2) plastic is used in making milk jugs and for bulk water sales. HDPE is the most stable of consumer plastics and off gases and leaches about 80% less than other common plastic materials. When you must use plastic in your food supply, this is the one to use.

Seldom considered are mold release agents, the chemicals used to help plastic objects such as water bottles pop out of their molds without sticking. The use of fluoropolymers like Teflon ™ and its chemical cousins, is barely regulated in the U.S. (As if what we can’t see won’t hurt us.) Our FDA is not focused on eliminating mold release agents from the food and water supply.

Ibuprofen ™ and acetaminophen (Tylenol ™) have both been shown to dramatically reduce testosterone in female and male humans. Testosterone inhibiters like these, combined with the excess of estrogen mimicking chemicals in our modern world have created a poisoned environment ripe for the proliferation of zombie people, complete with shattered minds and rotting parts, roaming the world in search of something they will never find.

If the risk of cancer, childhood diseases and the ongoing pollution of land and sea associated with the use of plastics and plastic water bottles is not enough to get you to change current behavior, then this article is of little value and the reign of humans is destined to be thankfully short. Our fate is entirely in our own collective hands. The time for a change was yesterday. What’ll it be, kids?

Larry Plesent is a writer living in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Learn more at and

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