Why Go Plastic Free?
Living life plastic-free is hard, if not impossible at the moment, when you are raising a baby. It seems everything is made from or contains elements of plastic.
Life is enough of a challenge when raising a child, without the ‘plastic-free challenge’ we all now wish to subscribe to for the betterment of the world and health of our families.
Plastic Free Baby makes it easy to find and purchase plastic-free alternatives to baby products meaning that you can spend more precious time with your little ones instead of doing endless online searching for products - we’ve searched for you and put it all in one place! (and the search is still on... if you have any suggestions for products we should be stocking then contact us! (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Is there any such thing as a safe plastic? The thing is, we don’t know; we fear that it’s potentially harmful to the environment, the world’s ecosystems and to human beings alike…
Try and imagine a world without plastics… that’s a pretty hard challenge because there are literally hundreds of different plastic polymers which make up hundreds of thousands of different everyday products and items. The invention of the first synthetic plastics (not derived from plants or animals, but from fossil fuels) was in 1907. There are many different types of plastic, including polyethylene terephthalate (e.g. water bottles), high-density polyethylene (e.g. toys, carrier bags), polyvinyl chloride (e.g. credit cards, coated fabrics), low density polyethylene (e.g. general packaging, toys), polypropylene, polystyrene (e.g. rigid packaging) and other types of plastic polymers.
Synthetic plastics have the once considered advantage of lasting almost forever without decomposing, as well as being able to make a range of products, relatively cheaply. All these attributes have made plastic the ‘king’.
It is now thought that 80% of teenagers have BPA(Bisphenol A) in their bodies: BPA is a chemical added to some plastics (particularly polycarbonate) to make it particularly sturdy and has been used extensively in products since the 1950s. BPA is now infamous for being connected to potential health dangers, especially as it can be ingested or absorbed through contact with the skin. BPA has been linked with diabetes, infertility, heart disease, liver toxicity… BPA when in the human body acts in a similar way to oestrogen, meaning that the endocrine system, the regulation of hormones, is put at risk.
The British Plastics Federation website informs us that “nearly all types of plastics can be recycled, however the extent to which they are recycled depends upon technical, economic and logistic factors.”
Even in products branded now as ‘BPA free’ companies are at liberty to replace BPA with any other chemical, many of which have similar or even worse properties to BPA that have been tested to have negative effects on the bodies systems. So even these alternatives don’t represent a safe bet. Despite the dangers BPA and other chemicals added to plastics that are made into readily consumed everyday products, these chemicals are still permitted in most countries (although some countries, such as France, are beginning to ban BPA when in contact with packaging that comes into contact with food).
Some say that infants are likely to be particularly vulnerable to BPA, with foetuses and young children being most at risk due to their undeveloped systems for detoxifying chemicals. There are higher levels of BPA in the body the younger you are. Increasingly there is advice that parents should show caution about plastic toys which when chewed may leech out harmful chemicals.
There are other endocrine interrupting toxins called phthalates which are also used in plastics which are just as sinister as BPA, having particularly worrying potential effects on reproductive systems; foetuses, human fertility and miscarriage, even in low doses. Phthalates are everywhere and can be found particularly in plastic such as flexible / plasticised PVC or vinyl (polyvinyl chloride); from products made from flexible PVC phthalates can be released into the air and inhaled or released into food. A surprising amount of baby products exist which contain phthalates, including crib mattresses, changing pads, changing bags…. the list goes on…
“As a mother, I understand that our children live in a plastic world and are surrounded by potentially hazardous chemicals,” Claudio said. “I think that if parents become aware of the issues, they will come up with alternatives to protect their children.” Dr. Luz Claudio, an environmental health researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
BENEFITS OF SHOPPING AT PLASTIC FREE BABY
• Limit exposure of potentially harmful / hazardous chemicals in plastics to your unborn baby / babies, children or wider family
• One convenient place to find many plastic free items for your baby or child
• These plastic free items won’t end up in landfill unable to biodegrade
• Plastic toys can’t typically be recycled as their components can’t be separated out
• To reduce plastic waste & plastic consumption
• To lessen toxic impact of plastics on babies & their families
• To be informed about the potential hazards of plastics for their families and the environment
• Provides low and no plastic alternatives to mainstream plastic toys, goods and products traditionally given to babies, children and in the family home