Reduce Plastic Intake for Your Heart

Written by: Ofek Laks, Public Health Intern at Lake Country Medical Concierge

Happy Heart Health Month! Did you know using plastic products like food containers or water bottles could increase your risk for cardiovascular disease? 

What is in plastic?

When people hear the word plastic, there are many objects and items being sold all over the world that come to mind, but it is important to think about what is in these products and how increased usage could have an impact on your health. The chemicals found in these products are commonly known as “phthalates” and this compound is the reason why plastics are flexible and soft. Exposure to these chemicals are mostly from diet, inhalation, and dermal contact. 

How does this affect my health?

Now you may be wondering, how do plastics impact my health. Recent studies have shown that the increased usage of Phthalates over time has been linked to chronic conditions including: cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. How such a compound can do such an impact is because the exposure of the chemicals alters your body’s normal hormone levels, thus leading to the possible conditions. A study conducted by Julie Corliss from Harvard Medical School released a study describing how 5,000 median aged (57 average) adults in the United States were given a survey with urine samples. These samples were then observed for over a decade and the results had illustrated that those with higher levels of phthalates had higher risks of cardiovascular disease. Phthalate usage can be reduced easily, if there were more knowledge on exactly what products are using these chemicals and how to cut them out. 

Ways to reduce Plastic Usage

Phthalates can be found in different types of shampoos, deodorants, hairsprays, plastic water bottles, plastics toys, and the highest amount can be found in plastic food containers. All of these can be easily replaced by buying different products and changing your lifestyle. Ways this can be reduced is by handwashing, not using plastic containers; good alternatives can be disposable ones, reduce or completely eliminate usage of plastic wrap covering, using phthalate free soaps, and the most important is to stop microwaving foods in plastic containers if you still want to use them. When the plastics are heated in microwave settings the chemicals from the material is being melted or transmitted into the food products that you are about to consume which is affecting your health.


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