The Link Between Single Use Food Containers and Early Puberty

Vigilant Eats gave out samples at a recent Naturopathic Doctor convention and it appears to be a very healthy product that my kids love. I noticed that they recommend that the single serving container can be filled with hot water which is obviously very convenient. The company hits all the buzzwords: organic, GMO free, gluten free etc. and has the requisite svelte yogini doing tree pose against an inspiring backdrop on their homepage.

There is nothing less inspiring than a company who encourages their customers to poison themselves as the hot water leaches estrogenic chemicals found in the poly-ethylene (PE) lining into the ‘super-food product’. I did confirm by email with a product manager at Vigilant that the single serve containers are lined with PE, which is very common for single use container. Vigilant is hardly alone in coating its food packaging with PE, but any company taking up a healthy, save-the-earth ethos should not be welcoming their customers to add boiling water to one of their single use containers.

The science is beyond clear: polyethylene (plastic) is everywhere and the byproducts and additives such as pthalates found in PE are a major source of environmental toxins and estrogen mimicking chemicals. PE breakdown products finds its way into our food and bloodstream where its estrogenic properties wreak havoc on our hormonal system and introduced us to a horrifying lexicon of hormone induced diesease: obesogen, gynecomastia (men developing breasts), endocrine disruptor, precocious puberty (Pubertas praecox) and the list goes on, even the Zebra fish are impacted and they don’t buy single serve containers.

The link between estrogen dominance and cancer is clear, as is the link between gynecomastia and decreased sperm counts in men. NO ONE and no animal is safe, there are some steps below to minimize your impact. It is time for food retailers who position themselves as ‘healthy’ for kids to take a stand on packaging and not ‘greenwash’ their way into your pantry. For the curious, science lovers, and executives at Vigilant Eats, I provide the link below to a journal article that unequivocally states the science:

“Our data suggest that almost all commercially available plastic items would leach detectable amounts of chemicals having Estrogenic Activity once such items are exposed to boiling water, sunlight (UV), and/or microwaving.”

What you can do to Avoid Plastic Toxicity

  • NEVER heat food in plastic anything. NEVER let hot food or drink touch any plastic or disposable utensil/plate/bowl.
  • Avoid eating hot foods from plastic take out containers, using plastic ware to consume hot foods ad drink, Styrofoam and plastic coated plates are plastic.
  • Use less plastic: glass, wax paper and stainless steel are good choices.
  • Use denser plastics and don’t allow thin plastic wrap to touch your food, even when cold. More dense plastic (HDPE) will resist leaching and contains less plasticizers (chemicals to make the plastic soft and pliable), but are still not completely safe.
  • Avoid canned food, buy dry beans and cook dal/pulses that require no soaking.
  • Replace plastic storage containers with glass and if they are abraded and worn out looking.
  • Use metal and wooden eating and cooking utensils instead of plastic utensils.
  • Avoid phthalates by primarily avoiding PVC products (labeled as #3 plastic).
  • Look for phthalate-free labels.
  • When possible, air new plastic products like blowup mattresses, synthetic-fiber rugs, tablecloths, and toys outside for a few hours to let the VOCs disperse, a process known as ‘off-gassing’.
  • Avoid the ‘dirty dozen’ foods


Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals

Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jul 1; 119(7): 989–996.

There is a growing body of evidence showing that exposure to a number of chemicals may adversely impact child development through altered endocrine function.

Even the Zebra Fish are Impacted


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