It might seem like overkill to only use stainless steel or glass dishes, but according to experts, there's science to support Kourtney's claims.
In a recent post, Kardashian explains that she serves her kids food on stainless steel dishware "because it's durable, more hygienic, and doesn't contain chemicals. We even use reusable stainless steel straws instead of wasting disposable plastic ones." The chemicals she's concerned about? Mainly, bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. BPA is found in many plastic products like water bottles, food storage containers, and even plastic plates and bowls. Phthalates are also found in plastics and are used to make them more flexible and resistant to breaking. The effects of phthalates on the human body are currently unknown.
"We use both glass and stainless steel containers instead of Tupperware for leftovers and to store food in my pantry," continues Kourtney. "For the kids' lunches, we use stainless steel bento boxes. We have a whole cupboard full of eco-friendly dinner plates, cereal bowls, flatware, and cups all made of stainless steel."
So is Kourt's concerted effort to avoid all BPA and other chemicals in plastic products misplaced? Probably not. First, we should explain the effect that BPA has on your body. "BPA is clearly an endocrine disrupter, which basically means it messes with your hormones," explains Rachel Carlton Abrams, M.D., author of the upcoming book Bodywise: Discovering Your Body's Intelligence for Lifelong Health and Healing. "BPA acts like estrogen, which may increase the risk of hormonal cancers like breast, uterine, thyroid, and possibly even prostate cancer."
One thing, though: "The research is not totally conclusive but is suggestive," according to Roshini Raj, M.D., associate professor at NYU School of Medicine. The FDA still considers the levels of BPA that come into contact with food to be safe based on their most recent assessment, which was in 2014. That being said, they also moved to ban the substance from baby products like bottles and formula containers back in 2012.
If you're wondering how BPA makes it from a plastic container into your food, the key is heat. "This wasn't really much of a concern for us before microwaves because nobody heated anything in plastic, so it's really a modern problem," notes Abrams. "Anytime you heat something in a plastic that contains BPA, it transfers from the plastic to whatever you're eating." That includes a lot of frozen foods that come in cardboard containers, she says. "You think 'oh well that's not plastic,' but it's got a plasticiser on the inside of the cardboard."
Two other major culprits are bottled water and reusable plastic water bottles. You might argue that both water bottles and aluminum cans aren't heated up before people consume what's inside, but unfortunately, you don't know what happened to the bottle or can before it was in your possession. It could have been transported on a truck that sat out in the sun, or stored in an overheated warehouse before making its way to your grocery store. The same goes for leaving a reusable water bottle in a hot car. Even if your water bottle is empty when it gets heated up, some BPA will be absorbed into water that you put in the bottle later, says Abrams.
Fortunately, there are tons of BPA-free water bottles on the market. If possible, it's a good idea to choose a glass or stainless steel water bottle, since there's been quite a bit of controversy over BPA-free plastics being not so chemical-free.
So while it might seem like Kourtney Kardashian's stainless steel dish and container obsession is a little wacky, it's actually probably a good idea-especially if there are small children in your house. Even though more research needs to be done to confirm the exact effects of BPA, health experts generally recommend avoiding it when possible, which is a good enough reason for us to reconsider microwaving those leftovers in a plastic container.
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