National: Plastic Not So Fantastic

They loved Lucy, hula hoops and “pure and good” Kool Aid. And the creepy, semi-utopian ads of the Space Age reflected this widely held belief that technology was key to world peace and immortality. Ok, so maybe not, we’re starting to discover. Take, for example, plastic (via Reuters):

Scientists reported this week new evidence that low doses of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), widely used to make plastic food and drinking containers, can impair brain function in primates, extending the findings of previous research conducted in rats.
Whether the amount of BPA that leaches out of containers into food and beverages represents an environmental risk is a subject of controversy.
“Our primate model indicates that BPA could negatively affect brain function in humans,” study investigator Tibor Hajszan said in a press release from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

So add that to your ever-growing list of things that are bad for your health (trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, the VMA’s). Bisphenol A, which fortifies plastic bottles and containers so that they don’t shatter, was found to impede the formation of new nerve connections in the brain, with serious implications for cognition and mood. And shall we remind you that PVC, often found in plastic wrap used for packaging meat, is not only a hormone disruptor but also a carcinogen? (You can find a useful analysis of various plastics here.)

In the meantime, why not stick to more time-tested materials for your food-storage needs – like glass? Some great alternatives include Crate & Barrel’s glass storage bowls with plastic lids and these all-glass storage containers. Pyrex also offers cheaper options and claims its containers are made of non-porous glass that won’t absorb flavors (a definite plus).

And while progress hasn’t quite lived up to the hype, this reassuring new study comes on the heels of another thought – that there may be some things worse than animal testing.

Plastics chemical harms brain function in monkeys
[Reuters]
Since You Asked - Bisphenol A [National Institute For The Environmental Health Sciences]
Buying Guide - Plastic Food Storage [EVO]

[Photo: Via Jerrroen/flickr]

National: Plastic Not So Fantastic