I love Melbourne. Aside from a short spell in London, I have never lived anywhere else. I adore our sporting events, our beaches, our laneways, even our interchangeable weather (now you know I’m a true Melbournian!) And our amazing coffee culture. No where else in the world do you get consistently great coffee. From anywhere.
Walk down a city street at any time of day and you will see people everywhere with a coffee cup in hand. Now, I was lucky enough to be given the most beautiful stainless steel cup by my sister which I carry with me now, but for years I too bought my coffee in a disposable cup. The waste alone is astounding, it’s estimated that we use 1 billion cups a year in Australia (you can read more about that here). Horrifying. That’s 60,000 kgs of waste just in coffee cups. If that doesn’t make you want to run out and buy yourself a reusable cup then I’m guessing what I am about to share will.
We’ve all heard of BPA. The first I heard of this delightful chemical that makes plastic soft, was when Avent, the baby bottle company started making ‘BPA Free’ bottles. For me it was like when Coles started saying their chicken didn’t have added hormones in it. Hang on a second, does that mean that up until now, you were using BPA in your bottles / hormones in your chicken? Have I been inadvertently filling my babies full of chemicals along with their warmed up breast milk? Cue in Mum freak out. I threw out all the old bottles, I spent a fortune on new ‘BPA free’ ones, SIGG drink bottles, anything else bearing the label of ‘BPA free’. But what I was yet to learn is the extent to which this chemical (and many many others) is used and the impact it is having on our health.
Skip forward about 10 years. A man named Dr Tom O’Bryan popped up on Facebook feed, promoting his up and coming series called ‘Betrayal – The Autoimmune disease solution they’re not telling you’. Clearly I had googled something relating to this topic (I have an AI disease as does one of my sons) and Facebook had profiled me (scary yes, but convenient in this case I must admit!). I devoured the series, and strongly encourage you to watch it if so inclined. One of the episodes was about toxins. Household, personal products, environmental, EMF, food. Everything was discussed. And it was scary. I mean S-C-A-R-Y. One of the world’s largest manufacturers of grains uses ‘Roundup’ to stop pests eating the crops. ‘Roundup’ people. That’s the stuff you buy at Bunnings to spray on your weeds. And yup, it’s in our grains. Chemicals in our soaps and personal care products are leading to Gynecomastia (man boobs) in our boys. And apparently 99% of Americans have traces of BPA in their urine. Now, I could talk about this stuff until the cows (grass fed, biodynamic of course) come home but I can hear you saying, ‘Get to the point Eliza, what else am I drinking with my morning coffee’. Well here it is…..
During manufacturing, BPA (or BPAs really nasty sibling BSA which is found in some BPA free products) is used to make the plastic for your coffee cup lid soft enough to shape. When your lovely barista pours that full-bodied Guatemalan blend latte into your takeaway up and pops the lid on, the steam from your coffee heats up the lid. And guess what that does? It causes the BPA to leach out. You then drink your coffee (or any hot beverage) through said lid and again, the heat of the coffee causes more BPA to be released into, you guessed it, your body. Eeewwww I hear you moan. Yup. Eeewww. Why is that a problem? BPA is thought to be an endocrine ( hormone) disruptor, which can mimic ( or partly mimic), interfere with, or block the hormone receptors . And we can all agree that hormones are pretty important, right? You can read more about the specifics of endocrine disruptors here.
Here’s Dr Tom in action to explain further.
Now, I am not about to tell you that my family and I are leaving Melbourne to live off the grid out the back of Nimbin, but there are some really practical things we can all that will make a difference. It is ignorant to think that we can live in a world these days without being exposed to chemicals. We just can’t. But I figure that even making small changes has to be a step in the right direction.
So, try these on for size. All simple, all inexpensive.
- If you only do one thing, please stop using Glad wrap or any sort of plastic wrap. Dr Tom will explain why.
- Switch out your plastic drink bottles for stainless steel or glass
- Use glass or S/S containers to store your food
- Use jute shopping bags
- Stop buying bottle water. Aside from the plastic, it’s expensive and you create so much waste
- Use natural cleaning products like vinegar, eucalyptus oil, bicarb, steam and elbow grease
- Stop spraying stuff around your house. If you want your house to smell nice, light a candle. If you have Weevels in your pantry, lay out bay leaves. Citronella candles work wonders for mozzies. The chemicals that are in fly spray and air freshener you do not want in your body.
- Stop using antibacterial soaps and lotions (unless advised by your health professional). Your immune system needs small doses of bacteria and effective hand washing removes most of the baddies. And their overuse is believed to be contributing to the ‘superbugs’ we now have. My Grandma used to say ‘Dirty kids are healthy kids’. Smart lady.
- Find natural personal products. Deo without alumunium. Soaps without Triclosan. Things that are Paraben and Sodium Laurel Sulphate free. And yes ladies, there are options for your personal hygiene products. Just google it.
- Visit a Farmer’s market. The food may be slightly more expensive than at the supermarket but I promise you, you will not waste a thing. Having paid a bit more certainly motivates me to use what I have. The products will be free of nasty chemicals, seasonal and it won’t have travelled from the other side of the world. You really shouldn’t be able to buy strawberries in the dead of winter!
- Ask for your coffee / tea/ chai latte whatever it is, without the lid. Or get a stainless steel cup. Or even better, sit down at the cafe with a friend and enjoy each other’s company.
- Lastly, please arm yourself with information. You have the world at your keyboard these days. Being informed and up-to-date is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family.
Please don’t think for one second that any of this information is meant to scare the pants off you, or make you feel silly for not knowing. I have 2 science degrees and I didn’t know that the acid in certain foods will cause BPA to leach out of plastic wrap even when the food is cold! It is simply a case of ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’. But now that you do know, please use this info to your health advantage.
~ Eliza ~
While every caution has been taken to provide the readers with most accurate information, please use your discretion (or consult a trusted health professional) before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog. The author and/or the Balwyn Health Hub will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.