In case you missed it, world renowned chemist Dr Joe Schwarcz, PhD recently gave an intriguing open to the public question and answer health chat on the safety of plastics in your every day. life. Dr Schwarcz is Director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society. His mandate is to demystify science for the public. His office does not accept funding from anyone. In his words
Our only allegiance is to the scientific method. It makes no difference to me whether bisphenol A or any other chemical is banned or not. The only thing that matters is that whatever action is taken is based on proper scientific methodology not on emotion or hearsay.
That's good to know. Let's get right down to the nitty gritty. An archive of Dr Schwarcz's presentation can be found at the link above. He answered these questions and more:
- What kind of plastic are those 2 liter pop bottles made of and are they safe?
- Is it bad to reuse plastic water and soda bottles?
- Just because something says dishwasher safe, should I?
- Which types of plastic bottles leach out bisphenol A (BPA) and even if they do, does it pose a health risk?
- What about the bottles you buy in camping stores and the large 5 gallon water containers. Are they safe?
- What if my house uses those plastic water pipes. Am I in danger?
- What about PET beverage bottle? Will they leach dioxins?
- What is the lifespan of a plastic container?
- Are plastics safe to store food?
- Is there a difference between the cheap dollar store plastic containers and the more expensive Rubbermaid and Tupperware food storage containers?
- Is it safe to heat up food in those margarine tubs we all save?
- What are the best materials to heat up food in the microwave?
- What about surgical plastics? Hips, knees, hernias etc. Any concerns there?
- Should I use plastic or glass baby bottles? Put the question to rest once and for all or raise more questions to ponder.
- Why does my water I left in the hot car taste like the plastic container it's in and is that safe to drink?
- How about those zip lock food storage bags? Any BPA in sight?
- Canadians and their pig balls. That's all I'm saying 'bout that. You'll have to read the archives to learn more.
- How about plastics containing estrogen like compounds. Will they increase my risk of female cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian)?
- There's been talk about BPA infiltrating the paper money supply. Dr Schwarcz offers his excellent insight into that.
- Buy his book Dr Joe's Brain Sparks: 179 Inspiring and Enlightening Inquiries into the Science of Everyday Life.
As a chemistry major myself, I had nothing but flashbacks of horror as he walked us through monomers and polymers. I'm so glad I'm a hospitalist, where organic chemistry is but an after thought.