Plastic is in the products we use on a daily basis
Plastic is everywhere. Repeated exposure to this material is now part of the norm, and all of our bodies contain some form of plastic, inasmuch as it is flowing through our blood. The material is even frequently found in babies at birth, as it can get transferred from mother to child in the womb. Not only is plastic destroying our environment, it is also strongly impairing human health.
Numerous sources of exposure to plastics
Consumption of non-organic, non-eco-friendly products is a major source of exposure to plastics. For example, cosmetics often contain plastic not only in their packaging, but in the product itself. This often comes in the form of “liquid” plastic often found in shampoos, make-up and gels. However, we at ELEPHAS think that it makes no sense if self-care comes at the cost of your health. For this reason, we have created products that are not only palm oil free, but also plastic free, certified Wildlife Friendly, Cruelty-Free and Vegan.
In addition to exposure through consumption, people are harmed by plastic through inhalation and ingestion of its particles and related substances. During plastic production, micro particles end up in the atmosphere and in water. The water we drink and the food we eat is thus rarely ever plastic free.
What are the effects of plastic on our health?
Plastic additives enter the human body and cause great damage within it. Through inhalation and ingestion, these particles can increase the risk of developing cancer and diabetes, result in infertility and cause problems in the respiratory and immune systems. In addition, plastics can interfere with the body’s endocrine system, acting as endocrine disruptors and as such, can cause miscarriages, uterine cysts, hypospadias and malformations of sex organs in boys. Direct contact with plastics can also irritate the eyes and the skin. Thus, plastics are undeniably dangerous chemicals and the health risks are real.
Precautions to take and things you can do to reduce and prevent harm
Generally, it is recommended to avoid products with plastic packaging. Another good habit to acquire is reading labels and cosmetics ingredient lists (INCI), with a look-out for certain plastic-related words:
- Words with –acrylate-, -copolymer-, -polyquat-, carbomer or polyacrylic acid
- Words ending in –vinyl-, -polymer-, -oxane-, -siloxane-, -one-
For most cosmetic products, there are now plastic free alternatives at varying prices. Additionally, you can choose to buy a single product for a variety of uses. For example, the ELEPHAS Soap can be used instead of shower gel, and is also a good alternative to shaving cream. This gentle soap can also be used to wash and cleanse your face. In an upcoming article, we will also discuss the multiple uses of Shea butter and why this is the perfect product to carry around at all times.
Where can I find zero waste and plastic free products?
- London: Hetu a vegan zero waste store, and Harmless (https://www.harmlessstore.co.uk), a bulk shop, also vegan, plastic free and zero waste
- Birmingham: The Clean Kilo a zero waste supermarket selling local food
- Greater Manchester: Plentiful, a plastic free shop in Ramsbottom
- Nottingham: Shop Zero, selling a selection of zero waste products
- New York: The Package Free Shop sells sustainable, eco-friendly and plastic free products
- Berlin: Original Unverpackt sells zero waste and plastic free products, including both food and cosmetics & beauty products
We would love to hear your recommendations of zero waste and plastic free shops. Do not hesitate to share with our community on our Facebook page !