BPA/plastic and dry/cold goods?

Answered on April 29, 2015
Created April 27, 2015 at 3:02 PM

I'm phasing out plastics as much as I can at home, but I'm trying to find the line between cautious and paranoid. Please help me figure out when I should be concnered and should not be.

I started by eliminating heated plastics. I eliminated my electric kettle (that has some plastic parts) for a glass stovetop one. I bought a coffee travel mug made out of glass and silicone. I may keep the Aeropress espresso maker even though it is plastic. Aeropress re-engineered it to make it BPA free and allegedly not leech chemicals anymore. So is it okay if I keep using that? 

Also, how concerned should I be about non-heated plastics? I have cold-brew Filtron coffee system that is BPA free, but it still is plastic. I have BPA free water dispenser containers in the fridge, although I am looking at buying a water filter system for under the sink. And what about coffee grinders? Should I be concerned about plastic leeching in those? I imagine not since it is not heated. And if that is true, then I shouldn't worry about store-brought maple syrup and other food liquids that comes in plastic "PETE" containers? 

What should I be concerned about?


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1 Answers



on April 29, 2015
at 08:49 PM

Well, first of all, there are going to be people who are going to come along and tell you your worries about BPA are bunk.  Personally, I don't know if it's bunk or not.  What I DO know is that they are finding BPA in breast milk, in blood and urine of almost everyone in the USA.  It doesn't belong there.  So I, too, am trying to eliminate plastics.  It's not easy--they have become so ubiquitous.

I don't think that "non-BPA" plastics are better and there's some evidence they may be WORSE, so my policy is NO plastics unless there are no other options.  But I have a coffee maker with plastic parts which we haven't replaced yet.  When I do, it will be a Chemex--it's all glass with a cone shaped top that holds a melita style paper filter--and you pour boiling water through the grounds.  No plastic.  I have a Baletti Mokka Espresso maker--it's all metal.  And when I want cold brew I have a glass french press I use--the plunger is all metal. 

My coffee grinder has a metal burr, so the contact with plastic is minimal. I replaced most of our "tupperware" style containers with glass canning jars or glass containers with plastic lids.  I try not to let the food touch the plastic lids.  We buy very few packaged goods--almost all of them have some sort of plastic liner.

For school and work lunches I invested in LunchBots--these are stainless steel boxes divided like bento boxes into sections, and I use the tiny lunch bot containers for sauces and condiments.   LunchBots are pricey, but I've been using them for a couple of years now with no problem, so I've gotten my money's worth!   I have larger stainless steel containers for stuff that might not fit in the lunchbot or need a sealed lid, and I have stainless steel wide mouth thermoses for each of us.  I also carry liquids in glass jars, but that doesn't work for kids in school.  I pack cloth napkins and bamboo utensils, too, because we are also trying to reduce waste. 

The one place I still use plastic is in the freezer--the glass containers do not hold up even when I'm careful about not filling them too full.  If I freeze broth I chill it overnight in the pot before portioning it out into plastic containers and then freeze.  I don't put hot food in plastic at all.  I figure in the freezer there's going to be minimal transfer of the phenolic compounds.  

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