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  • Clean Living

    Plastic: Why I Avoid It As Much As Possible

    plastic, waste, pollution, recycle

    Plastic is EVERYWHERE. Think: cups, plates, bags, lined soup cans, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes, toys, baby teethers (yikes!), furniture, food containers, shoes, cars, jewelry, phones, clothing, even cosmetics … and the list goes on and on. 

    Plastic not only is bad for our environment, animals, oceans, OUR water, but it is also not good for our children or our bodies. Tiny bits of micro-plastics are created which often end up in oceans, are then eaten by aquatic life, and later end up in our bodies through many forms which include ingesting fish and other animals. Research shows, “Americans ingest at least 74,000 microplastic particles every year,” according to the Washington Post.

    It takes hundreds of years for plastics to biodegrade and the sad part is, approximately only 9% of plastic is actually recycled. Most plastic is not able to be recycled, contrary to popular belief, and ends up in landfills, our oceans, and water ways.

    With so many resources in today’s day, there are much better AND safer alternatives which include: clear glass, stainless steel, and silicone.

    IF you MUST buy plastic… here’s what you should know…

    PVC is the most toxic. I avoid it whenever I can. It is not only toxic to consumers, but extremely toxic to those who manufacture it and the surrounding communities who breathe in the pollution it creates.

    The 7 Plastic Numbers & What It Means For Your Health

    Plastic items are often coded with a recycling number 1-7. This number indicts the type of plastic and is used in the recycling process. Unfortately,

    1, 2 – Usually recyclable
    3,5,6 – Some recycling companies are able to recycle it
    4, 7 – Not usually recyclable.

    Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
    PET is considered a safe plastic, but can leach the toxic metal antimony, and brominated compounds. Water bottles, soft drink bottles, sports drink bottles and condiment bottles are some products that contain this type of plastic.

    Bromine is known to cause acute paranoia and other psychotic symptoms while antimony causes a host of health issues ranging from heart and lung issues to vomiting, diarrhea and stomach ulcers. The longer a bottle of water sits on the shelf, the more antimony it contains. This may vary based on exposure to sunlight, temperature, and pH levels.

    One study that looked at 63 brands of bottled water produced in Europe and Canada found concentrations of antimony that were more than 100 times the typical level found in clean groundwater (2 parts per trillion).3

    Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
    HDPE is considered a low-hazard plastic, but like most plastics releases estrogenic chemicals. Milk, water and beverage bottles, cleaning supply bottles, shampoo bottles, grocery bags, cereal liners and many others contain this type of plastic.

    HDPE and other plastics disrupt your hormones and structure of your cells, posing risks to both infants and children. Even products that claimed to be free of BPA, have tested positive for other toxic estrogenic chemicals.

    Plastic #3 or “V”: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    The MOST toxic plastic for consumers, manufacturers and our environment and should be avoid as much as possible. PVC is often used for shower curtains, bags for bedding, shrink wrap, deli wrap, cooking oil bottles, plastic toys, play-mats, flooring, table cloths and blister packs used to store medications.

    PVC can be rigid (unplasticized) OR flexible & clear (plasticized). During the production process, plasticizers, including phthlates are added to increase flexibility and soften plastics. DEHP is a type of phthalate often used in PVC that causes cancer.

    Toxins enter your body as they are released into the air we breathe and food we consume, causing a number of health issues including cancer, deformations, low sperm count and infertility.

    Tip: If the plastic is soft and flexible – it is probably PVC.
    Avoid children’s playmats made from PVC/Vinyl. You can choose a latex mattress topper as an alternative, Corkimat, or a fun pile of cotton blankets!

    Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
    LDPE is considered a low hazard and does not contain BPA, but may leach estrogenic chemicals similar to HDPE.

    Bread bags, squeezeable bottles including condiment bottles, fresh produce bags, household garbage and frozen foods bags, as well as in paper milk cartons and hot/cold beverage cups are all common uses for this plastic.

    Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)
    Polypropylene is one of the “safest” plastics you can buy. It is said to have a high heat tolerance making it a good choice for outdoor toys and storing food, although I personally wouldn’t recommend any plastic containers for food. PP is unlikely to leach chemicals, but evidence is still inconclusive.

    PP is used for containers including yogurt, deli foods, medications and takeout meals. 

    Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS) AKA Styrofoam
    Avoid polystyrene as much as possible. This type of plastic leaches styrene into your food, damages your nervous system, and has been linked to Cancer. Benzene, a known human carcinogen, is used in the production.

    Everything from cups, plates, meat trays, packing peanuts, and more can be made from Polystyrene (Styrofoam). Hot food and beverages very well may be the most dangerous due to the amount of styrene they leach from containers. Therefore, AVOID if possible coffee cups, to-go containers, etc. that are made from polystyrene (Styrofoam).

    Plastic #7: Other
    Plastic #7 is often made from a combination of plastics and resins. It most likely contains BPA and/or BPS and most likely other toxic chemicals. Technically, there is only a partial ban on BPA (for example, in baby bottles), but research shows there are much greater concerns and a full fledged ban should be implemented, as described here.

    The reason BPA and BPS are so dangerous is because...

    • They mimic, interfere, and disrupt with your body’s hormones and endocrine system which regulates mood, growth, development, metabolism, reproductive processes, sexual function and tissue function.
    • In utero exposure to BPA compounds, can lead to chromosomal errors in the developing fetus, causing spontaneous miscarriages and genetic damage.
    • Strong evidence shows these chemicals are effecting adults and children, too. Leading to a host of health issues including, but not limited to…
      • Early puberty, decreased sperm count, and cancer.
      • Obesity
      • Insulin Resistance – an underlying factor in many chronic diseases
      • Stimulation of mammary gland development
      • Disrupted reproductive cycles and ovarian dysfunction
      • Heart disease


    So, what are the “safest” plastics?
    #1, 2, 4, 5 But, only #1, 2, and 5 are most likely to be recycled which means the others will end up in a landfill. Avoid PVC Plastic #3 at all costs – the entire duration of its life cycle is toxic to humanity. Also, avoid Polystyrene #6 (styrofoam) and Plastic #7 Other as much as possible.

    Where can I find the number(#) plastic on items?
    Often found on the bottom, side, or inside plastic items will be a number. If the number is not present, you can contact the manufacturer for more information.

    How can I tell if something is silicone or plastic?
    If silicone contains plastic (or is plastic), when it bends, it will turn white-ish in the area where it was manipulated.


  • Babies & Kids

    10 Essential Toddler Travel Tips

    travel toddler

    I remember the days leading up to my beautiful Hawaiian vacation… with my adorable 18 month old…

    Traveling with a toddler, can be… a bit… of a challenge at times. From mid-car ride meltdowns to plentiful potty breaks, even a quick 10 minute trip could potentially end up disastrous. But, here’s the good news… you have some of the best tried and true methods for traveling with a toddler right at your finger tips!

    Here’s all you need to know before you go…

    1. Distractions, distractions, distractions!

    Bring new toys, travel games, stickers or books along with some of their favorite comfort toys. Here are a few of my favorite travel items for toddlers: Tegu Magnetic Blocks, Haba Farm – Portable, Haba Magnetic Dress Up Doll. Check back for my upcoming blog post on Best Travel Toys!

    2. Snacks & Water Galore!

    Pack all of the snacks, water, breast milk, formula, and even a lollipop or two (especially if you are flying and experience pressure change)! We always try to eat healthy (and organic) as much as possible and even road trips, if you prep in advance, it can be simple to do! We usually bring berries, bananas, frozen fruit pouches, crackers, freeze dried fruits, & raisins.

    3. Double Up on Diapers & Toddler Toiletries

    Make sure you always have extra diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes. You never know what can happen!

    4. Hand Sanitizer & Wet Wipes

    I always have hand sanitize, wipes, hydrogen peroxide on hand when traveling. There are so many germs everywhere – the last thing you want is a sick toddler on vacation. Personally, we love the Cleanwell wipes. We bring them everywhere from dining out to destination vacations. We also always make sure we have wet wipes on hand, which are perfect for wiping sticky hands and faces, and of course, for the occasional diaper blowout! Eco by Naty are my absolute favorite; they are fragrance free, cruelty-free, 100% compostable, and contain zero plastic and zero nasty chemicals!

    5. Don’t forget a sound machine and cozy blanket!

    Cuddle your little one with his or her favorite blanket (and lovey) to bring the comforts of home to the wide open road! Sound machines, like this portable one, are helpful little devices for when your child really needs to get some R & R.

    6. Consider a Kid-Friendly Tablet.

    Although, in general, we limit screen time (to as little as little as humanely possible), we did purchase a Kids Fire Tablet for our flight to Hawaii. But, to be honest, we really just wanted it as back up and our 18 month old really only used it for less than 20 minutes. With that being said, I think if she were a bit older, it could have definitely been a lifesaver. We also purchased these kid-friendly headphones so everyone on the plane didn’t have to hear “Moana”!

    7. If you are flying, book a direct flight.

    Less time traveling = less time stressing. Layovers create chaos at times, not to mention, you may have to wake your little one from their slumber.

    8. Boarding a Flight – Avoid Pre-Boarding.

    This may or may not be the popular opinion, but I do not take advantage of the pre-boarding. My toddler loves to run around and doesn’t want to sit still resulting in total chaos on the plane prior to departure. We usually always board near the end and are still able to wipe down seat trays and get situated before the last passenger boards.

    9. Purchase a seat for your little one.

    Even if your child is under 2, it may be beneficial to purchase a seat. This is especially important if the flight is a longer one. Not only does the FAA urge parents to use a child safety restraint or device, such as the FAA Approved CARES Harness or your child’s car seat, but the extra space really does come in handy for activities, storage, and snuggles! As a safety pre-caution try to always keep your child buckled in, as much as possible

    10. Gate Check Strollers and/or Car Seats

    This. Makes. Travel. So. Much. Easier. Just do it!

    FINAL TIP: JUST RELAX & ENJOY THE RIDE! They are only little once.

    Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, but do not suggest giving Melatonin or Benedryl for travel. As always, check with your healthcare provider before starting any medical treatment. This blog has not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products or methods mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment.

    Disclosure: Some of the links on this site are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, I may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers. Thank you for your support!