Minimise your toxic exposure starting with reducing plastics: my top tips

This week’s podcast with Dr Mark Donohoe covered a range of topics, including a big issue of chemical sensitivity. This is an issue that Mark has been examining for over 30 years and working with patients to overcome their own sensitivities. Environmental stress and chemicals is a topic I cover in my book. It’s an issue that effects us all and something I am happy to see gaining more light. Previously on the podcast we discussed Professor Marc Cohen’s 10 toxic truths and Nicole Biljsma shared the synergistic effect of different chemicals. Reducing toxic exposure in our life is a huge task and one that is never ending. Along the journey it is important to remember that small changes can make a huge difference.

Where to start in reducing toxic exposure?

When it comes to reducing toxic exposure, plastic is perhaps one of the biggest and most challenging areas to reduce. Plastics are composed of several chemicals including Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, both hormone disruptors. There have been studies linking plastic exposure to lower testosterone levels in men, resulting in delayed puberty, increased oestrogen and feminine characteristics. Other chemicals in plastics have been found to be obesogenic, meaning they cause an increase in weight. Perhaps the most environmentally damaging aspect of plastic is that so much of it is used only once, before it is thrown away. Because of the nature of plastic it never fully degrades, it simply breaks down into micro plastic. Once broken down it can find its way into the food supply of many wildlife, including fish, which we then consume – essentially consuming the plastic ourselves. Motivated to make some changes?

Listen: Dr. Ron Ehrlich interviews Prof. Marc Cohen. Post continues after audio.

How to make the swap:

  • Swap your plastic tupperware for glass tupperware, there are a lot of very affordable options out there including a range at IKEA
  • Never cook or reheat foods in plastic
  • Use glass jars and visit a bulk foods grocer to fill your essential items without the need for packaging. We visit a grocer and fill up quinoa, nuts, seeds, olive oil, honey, flours – the list is pretty endless
  • Avoid plastic baby toys – kids tend to chew on plastic and it can increase unecessary exposure. Opt for more organic or eco versions of toys, they may be a little more expensive but it’s definitely a case where quality over quantity is worth practising.
  • Use stainless steel lunchboxes
  • Opt for natural products that are BPA and phthalate free – e.g make-up, hair care, etc
  • Swap plastic waterbottles for reusable stainless steel or glass bottles
  • Take resusable shopping bags to the shops – it’s really encouraging to see some of the big supermarkets in Australia jump on board with banning plastic. It’s a great example of how consumers really can influence big changes.
  • Avoid buying halves of vegetables or plastic wrapped – instead opt for the entire cabbage or pumpkin. Cooking in bulk is one of my favourite time saving tips too.
  • Invest in bees wax wraps or other reusable wraps – these are great ways of reducing the use of plastic wrap in the kitchen
  • Invest in a reusable glass takeaway coffee cup – the take away coffee cups have a thin plastic layer on the inside to stop the liquid dissolving the cup – another hidden source of plastic exposure

This is a huge topic and it can quickly become totally overwhelming. Toxic exposure is of course just one health challenge we face in today’s modern world, there are more health challenges we face to achieving good health. The important thing is to start with small changes or an easy swap that is achievable for you and your family.