Plastic is in almost every item in modern life, from cups to furniture. It’s so cheap and convenient that using plastic items is a no-brainer, which has been the situation for decades up till today. But as we now know, using plastic harms the environment, mainly because it’s non-biodegradable, so its accumulation seriously pollutes our land and oceans.
More than that, further research is showing that plastic usage can negatively impact fertility too.
In particular, there is increasing evidence that Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure reduces women’s chances of success in in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments. A study on BPA exposure was conducted on 239 women in Massachusetts who went through IVF treatment, and this showed that those with the highest exposure to BPA had only a 17% success rate in their IVF treatment (compared to a 54% success rate for those with lowest exposure).
While BPA is used to make plastic hard and shatterproof, it does act to disrupt the endocrine system, including the ovaries. Even though there are plastic items that are now BPA-free, the chemicals used to substitute BPA have not been tested thoroughly, which means they could have side effects too.
Plastic doesn’t just affect women. Another study published in the journal Human Reproduction showed that expectant mothers’ exposure to phthalate (DEHP), a chemical used to soften plastics, can also interfere with foetal development. Results of this study showed that male babies born to women with the highest DEHP exposure had significantly shorter anogenital distance (the distance from the anus to the genitalia); this will affect their future fertility.
In the face of this evidence, being mindful about our daily actions becomes all-important. Plastic usage has become so ubiquitous that cutting it out completely can seem impossible. What is the easiest way to make the most impact? For many of us, the most common daily plastic usage centres around food – food containers, bags and wraps.
Here is where alternative packaging materials such as bees wax wraps are gaining popularity. Bees wax is a natural material – pliable, reusable, and it can stick to itself, making it a superior alternative.
You can fold bees wax wraps around bowls to replace cling wrap and lids, or fold them in half to make a bag, replacing zip lock bags. Although they do cost more upfront, the fact that you get more usage out of them makes up for it. Not only is bees wax a completely natural material, its antibacterial property even keeps food fresh for longer than plastic wraps. They come in different sizes and colourful prints, and companies like Bee Green Wraps even make theirs with organic jojoba oil, another antibacterial ingredient.
To reuse your bees wax wraps, all you need to do is wash them in cool water with a mild dish soap. Air dry them, then fold and store away in a drawer or in a basket on the counter top. With proper care (do also avoid heat sources such as hot water and microwaves), they can last for a year.
By replacing your plastics with bees wax wraps, it not only impacts your plastic consumption on a daily basis, it also gives you ease of mind, knowing that you are using natural materials that can benefit your health. For women who are currently pregnant or trying to conceive, making the switch stops the impairment to fertility.
And when the wax coating finally wears away, just bury the bees wax wraps in the ground – it’s completely biodegradable, and leaves zero stress on the environment, as it does on you.