Scientists have found a link between the chemicals in plastic cookware and health issues. As it turns out, the human body confuses some of the chemicals found in plastic products for natural hormones. This mistake on the part of the human body leads to a disruption in the hormonal system, which can translate into weight gain.
The Impact of Plastic on Your Health
It is true that when you consume too many calories and do not exercise enough, your body stores the extra calories as fat. However, contrary to common belief, this is not the only reason that people gain weight. Some of the chemicals in plastics, personal care products and perfumes cause obesity. These chemicals disrupt the endocrine system. They affect the number of fat cells your body makes and the amount of fat stored in these cells.
Research on Chemicals in Plastics
BPA, a chemical used to make plastics and also found in the lining of cans, was studied in rats and mice. Researchers found that the animals that were fed this chemical while young became obese as adults. This was not the case for the rats and mice in the control group.
Another chemical, PFOA, is used in non-stick cookware. This chemical is linked with a lower weight at birth. Conversely, exposure to this chemical increases weight gain in adolescence.
Implications of Research on Plastics
The research on plastics indicates potential harm. However, the counter argument is that the amount of these chemicals in your plastic cookware and other products is not significant enough to have an impact on your health and/or weight. It is also rumored that extensive exposure to the chemicals in plastics and other products leads to cancer. However, the scientific community has not confirmed these arguments with wide-scale research. Much more research needs to be conducted in this arena for scientists and manufacturers to agree on the true impact of these chemicals.
Avoiding the Combination of Plastics and Heat
Some argue that it is not wise to wait until science, manufacturing and the government have reached a conclusion and agreement about the safety of these chemicals. There are things that you can do to be proactive and avoid exposure to these chemicals.
Whenever possible, avoid using plastics where heat is concerned. For example, avoid placing plastic containers in the microwave to heat your meals. The heating process allows these chemicals to leach into your food. Do not cook in plastic cookware. Avoid drinking water from a plastic bottle that has been sitting in your hot car or out in the intense heat for too long. If possible, use non-plastic cookware to heat your food. Use glass containers for storing water.
While further research is needed to confirm the dangers of plastic cookware, it does not hurt to take precautions to avoid exposure to potentially damaging chemicals. Reducing your exposure to the chemicals in plastic products means paying attention to your cooking and heating practices on a regular basis.