WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT WASHING PLASTIC IN YOUR DISHWASHER
I was up reading a “green” friendly website one night that had tips about using your dishwasher. I read a sentence that said, “Never wash plastic in your dishwasher.” It begged the question, “Why not?” (I am one of those people who needs to know the really real reason behind doing, or not doing anything.)
What I found out is that washing plastic in your dishwasher leads to breaking down the chemical compounds found in plastic. What’s in plastic you ask? That’s what I wondered too. What I discovered is a chemical called Bisphenol A is the real concern about plastic — washing plastic in your dishwasher makes the plastic breakdown and leaves a chemical residue on your otherwise clean dishes — it is poisonous.
MORE ABOUT BISPHENOL A
Bisphenol A is the building block for polycarbonate plastic (from which it then leaches as the plastic ages) but also in the manufacture of epoxy resins and other plastics, including polysulfone, alkylphenolic, polyalylate, polyester-styrene, and certain polyester resins.
Its uses don’t end with the making of plastic. Bisphenol A has been used as an inert ingredient in pesticides (although in the US this has apparently been halted), as a fungicide, antioxidant, flame retardant, rubber chemical, and polyvinyl chloride stabilizer.
These uses create a myriad of exposures for people. Bisphenol A-based polycarbonate is used as a plastic coating for children’s teeth to prevent cavities, as a coating in metal cans to prevent the metal from contact with food contents, as the plastic in food containers, refrigerator shelving, baby bottles, water bottles, returnable containers for juice, milk and water, micro-wave ovenware and eating utensils.
Other exposures result from BPA’s use in films, sheets, and laminations; reinforced pipes; floorings; watermain filters; enamels and vanishes; adhesives; artificial teeth; nail polish; compact discs; electric insulators; and as parts of automobiles, certain machines, tools, electrical appliances, and office automation instruments.
THE HEALTH EFFECTS
Here’s a few summaries of some very important recent scientific and neuroscientific studies that reveal Bisphenol A is highly toxic.
• Experiments with mice reveal that chronic adult exposure to bisphenol A causes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in people leads to Type II diabetes and congestive heart failure, and is part of the modern epidemic of ‘metabolic syndrome.’ The exposure levels used were within the range that people experience regularly.
• In a small prospective study, researchers in Japan report that bisphenol A levels are higher in women with a history of repeated spontaneous miscarriages. This research was based on proof that BPA causes meiotic aneuploidy in mice. Meiotic aneuploidy is the commonest cause of miscarriage in people. The researchers also followed the pregnancies of the women to completion, and found evidence of aneuploidy in several of the miscarried fetuses.
• A flood of new information about bisphenol A revealing both widespread human exposure and effects at extremely low doses sparks a call for a new risk assessment of the ubiquitous compound. Bisphenol A, the basic building block of polycarbonate plastic, alters development of the reproductive tract, the immune system, increases prostate tumor proliferation, changes brain chemistry and structure and affects an array of behaviors, including hyperactivity. Of 11 studies of the compound’s effects at low doses, none funded by industry reported impacts. In contrast, 94 out of 104 government-funded studies found effects.
• Bisphenol A at extremely low levels causes changes in brain structure and behavior in rats. The locus coeruleus is believed to be a key brain center for anxiety and fear. Normally this is larger in females than in males. Rats exposed to BPA at levels beneath the current ‘safe’ exposure level established by the US EPA show a reversal in sex dimorphism, with males’ LC larger than females.’
Point your browser to Our Stolen Future website for complete sources, facts and studies regarding the health effects of Bisphenol A.
Replace plastics with glass. If you cannot eliminate the plastics in your kitchen, wash them in warm soapy water. Save large jars and reuse them to store left over foods.
Chlorine is another chemical that leaves a residue on your dishes. It can be found in many brand name dishwasher detergents — like Cascade®. Switch to a biodegradable detergent for cleaning your dishes.