Of all the environmental hazards I’ve written about, none disturbs me as much as the one I’m going to tell you about (again) here.
Maybe that’s because it is totally preventable. That is — if we’re given accurate information, and unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case.
We’re talking about bisphenol-A (BPA) and its supposedly safe replacement, bisphenol-S (BPS).
These chemicals are found in common plastic products like water bottles, food storage containers, even cash register receipts.
BPS can slow your heart rate to dangerously low levels within minutes of exposure.
Now, concerned scientists are digging even deeper, only to find that the chemicals in your plastics can cause permanent brain damage.
Chemicals in common plastics disrupt brain activity
A study by three biologists at the University of Bayreuth in Germany has shown that even small amounts of BPA and BPS disrupt the transmission of signals between nerve cells in the brains of goldfish.
Goldfish brains share many characteristics with human brains, and the researchers consider it very likely that similar interference can also occur in the brains of adult humans.
The study focused on the two largest cells in the fish brain, known as Mauthner cells. The job of these cells is to coordinate sensory input quickly and accurately, so that fish can “think” quickly and escape predators.
Because they important to survival, these particular cells have evolved to be very large and strong, which made the damage that could be caused by these chemicals even more alarming to the research team.
“We were surprised how many vital brain functions in fish are affected by the plasticizers used in numerous industries,” says Elisabeth Schirmer, a doctoral student at the University of Bayreuth.
“This damage… does not occur immediately. However, when the brain cells are exposed to small amounts of BPA or BPS for a month, the damage is unmistakable.”
How to rid your life of BPA and BPS
Obviously, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by avoiding plastics.
But where to begin? They’re everywhere, and, let’s face it, they make life more convenient.
Like any other health changes you make, don’t expect it all to happen at once.
For starters, be aware of where BPA and BPS are hiding:
- Water bottles
- Baby bottles
- Canned foods (in the lining of most cans as a sealant)
- Store cash register receipts
- Plastic food containers (especially those marked with a #3 or #7 on the bottom)
Once you know where these toxins live, consider starting with one or two of the following steps:
- Purchase a stainless steel, BPA-free water bottle (yes, they cost more, but you’ll never have to buy bottled water again!).
- Start using frozen or fresh vegetables and fruits in place of canned.
- Get your store receipts electronically and skip the BPA-treated paper ones.
- NEVER heat plastic containers in the microwave!
- Switch out some of your plastic food containers for glass or Pyrex.
- Stop using plastic drinking cups and utensils.
You should also search the Environmental Working Group’s database of foods packaged with BPA. If your favorite food is on the list, find another favorite.
Finally, support the health of your liver. Your liver is your body’s main detox organ, responsible for filtering toxins from your bloodstream. One big problem, though: BPA causes liver damage. Some natural liver protectors are milk thistle, turmeric (which also supports memory) and selenium.
Editor’s note: Ridding your body of toxins increases energy, aids digestion, encourages weight loss, promotes a stronger immune system — and makes you feel better, lighter and refreshed! To learn how to detox and protect with a simple ingredient you have at home, click here!
Brain Damage Linked to Common Compound In Everyday Plastic Items — Neuroscience News
Bisphenols exert detrimental effects on neuronal signaling in mature vertebrate brains — Communications Biology