Ever met someone who was fanatical (in a good way) in one area, but CLUELESS (deceived, misled...) in another area?
Well, when it comes to toxic plastic in my food - I use to be one of those clueless about plastic people!

In a way I congratulate the Plastics Industrial Complex for doing such an excellent job at hiding, lying, deceived, misled... me about their TOXIC products.

Are you ready to learn what I found out?

got toxic plastic products

Great! Here we go!

I learned about PESTICIDES and GMO, so I eliminated conventional and buy ORGANIC.
I learned about ANIMAL farming, so I eliminated animal products and lead a VEGAN lifestyle.
I learned about TOXIC CHEMICALS in personal care and cleaning products, so I switched to ECO FRIENDLY/NATURAL products.

O' yeah... I thought I was sooooo aware! LOL  But then I learned about the TOXIC deceptive, misleading, lying... PLASTICS INDUSTRY!

Many people (me included) consider themselves to be health conscious and/or environmentally aware... BUT are unaware that they are using TOXIC and Environmentally Destructive products like: nylon paint strainerspolyester "eco veggie bags"nylon or polyester nut milk bags, conventional cotton soup bag as strainers to make their nut milks.

The plastic industry or/and plastic sellers try to tell us that it is safe or OK  to use their synthetic/plastic (nylon, polyester...) to make food and use in our kitchen.
Many of us are very aware of nutrients and where our food comes to the point that some people even believe that steamed veggies are "poison" or unhealthy but are OK with using plastic to make their food!
Some people make a big deal that their almonds MUST be raw (unpasteurized), but then use toxic nut milk bag to strain their nut milk.  Ha! I use to be one of those people!

A few months ago I began to seriously investigate plastic and found out that plastic may contain any or all of the following:

Antibacterial chemicals, Antimony, Arsenic, Cadmium, Estrogenic Activators*, Lead, Mercury, Phthalates, Styrene, Other Toxic Chemicals...

*BPA, BPS... One study discovered that 95% “BPA-Free” plastics actually Leaches Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals. "Although BPA [bisphenol A] is the most notorious chemical with estrogenic activity used in plastics, it is not the only one, nor does it have the highest biological effect," George D. Bittner, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas, Austin

Unfortunately the manufacturers refuse to divulge all the ingredients that they use in the manufacturing and processing of their products. Due to bribes, lobbying, corruption... USA and International laws favor the chemical and plastic companies and not the consumer! Often times the safety and burden-of-proof falls onto the consumer to demonstrate that there is a problem with chemical and plastic products, and not on a chemical or plastic company. Chemical and plastic manufacturers tend to only change after they have been caught, or when enough people are dead or have diseases.

 

The income of some companies is directly dependent
on having a deceived and ignorant public!

Some sellers of nylon nut milk bags actually think it is OK to make statements like "Made of nylon - no chemicals" (see picture below) which can mislead some people into thinking that nylon nut milk bag is made from some kind of natural fabric and not from petrochemicals. Nylon fabric is NEVER made from 'natural' fibers. Polyester can be made from corn (highly processed first of course), which is most likely GMO corn (up to 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered). Corn polyester nut milk bags currently do not exist on the market.

This picture of an actual eBay listing. A great example of misleading and deceiving marketing.

 

nylon nut milk bag no-chemicals reality

What? “organic nylon fabric nut milk bag”

I found this statement to also be a very interesting description and more proof that some people are being deceived and/or misled that nylon is an organic fabric! I found the phrase when I did a keywords search on the website Etsy.com, where I also sell my EcoPeaceful products.

organic nylon nut milk bag search results

After I saw it I had very mixed emotions - I felt sad that some people don't realize that nylon is not "organic" in a way they might think. I also felt glad when I realized I could write and educate about this. NYLON is made from petrochemicals and never from natural fibers so nylon can not be GROWN organically or labeled organic

 

Nylon or Polyester Nut Milk Bags

Nylon and polyester are plastics made from petrochemicals, which are carcinogenic and toxic - from drilling > to manufacturing1 > to disposing.
Both products require allot of energy to manufacturing. It affects negatively all around, most petrochemical plants have major chemical leaks in the ground, petrochemical plants pollute air, soil and water2, people who live next to oil refineries have an 85% higher risk of birthdefect3, as well as higher numbers of cancer and other diseases! Both Nylon and Polyester do not biodegrade, which creates an ever increasing amount of plastic pollution. An example is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is as huge as the state of Texas! The toxic plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not just on the surface, and is 24/7 harming and killing, birds and marine animals and working it's way back into people's seafood meals. Nylon manufacturing creates nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. It is a greenhouse gas with 300 times4 more global warming impact potential than carbon dioxide.

If you already have nylon nut milk bag contact your seller and make sure to ask if the nylon is certified as Food Safe5. Most polyester or nylon nut milk bags are not certified as "Food Grade". After many requests we have yet to have any seller provide the third-party validation certificate of food grade certification. Currently,due to public ignorance, anyone can get away with claiming their product is "Food Grade" (or "Food Safe") since unaware public rarely asks for proof!

I personally question how "Food Safe" nylon can be considering the findings in this study shows that "nylon fiber exposure almost doubled women risk of breast cancer, according to 2010 study results reported in the British medical journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine."6  Also, keep in mind that products with endocrine-disrupting BPA (Bisphenol A), BPS (Bisphenol S) is still considered "Food Grade" and/or "Food Safe" by the FDA

"Foods that are highly acidic, or that contain alcohol or fats, can leach plastic additives from the packaging or container into the food."7

"Another problem with the production of Nylon is the health concerns related to its thermal processing. Thermal processing of Nylon can cause many problems if one is exposed to the fumes or dust. Some of these problems include irritation of mucous membranes in the nose and throat, mechanical irritation of the eye and irritation of the skin. As well, if working with the polyamide before it is cooled workers can have their skin burned. Thirdly, if anyone were to ingest/inhale they may experience gastrointestinal discomfort (Malloy and Grubb, 2008). These are the health concerns that face workers in closer proximity to the production of Nylon."8

Nylon - Paint Strainer - Very similar to nylon nut milk bag has an elastic top instead of a drawstring, and can be purchased in hardware store for as low as $1! Some "creative" raw food product sellers, sell them as a "nut milk bags" at 5 times the price! Even I was tricked!
Nylon paint strainer bags are far from being considered "Food Safe". I could even smell the toxins after I washed and dried it in the sun. If you are like me and was tricked into buying a paint strainer bag from the hardware store or as nut milk bag I strongly recommend you replace it! Another consideration is that the paint strainer bags are usually sewn with low grade synthetic sewing threads that can easily fray in to your nut milk and nut pulp. See the pictures of fraying (falling apart) synthetic sewing threads from paint stainer, and polyester threads from organic produce bag in my nut milk bag story

Polyester - Nut Milk Bag - The term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate). Most plastic water bottles are made of PET.  If you watch documentary Tapped, the scientist show how they tested water from plastic bottles and they found out that had a soup of chemicals leaching to the bottled water. List of ingredients they found: Toluene, Styrene, Diethyl Phthalate, Dimethil Phthalate, Di-n-octyl. Along with higher energy consumption from production, polyester uses large amounts of water for cooling, along with lubricants which can become a source of contamination.9

Some nut milk bag sellers stated that their polyester nut milk bags are "BPA Free". Sure sounds nice, but in reality when "BPA free" products have been tested, 70% tested positive for leaching estrogenic activity (Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals), and once those same products were subjected to real-world conditions—microwaving or dishwashing—that percentage rose to 95%10

"Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably-detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA [endocrine activity] than BPA-containing products."11

Polyester - "Eco Veggie Bag" - I will repeat... "Eco" veggie bags are made from polyester! The reason these bags are termed "eco" is because they are reusable, not because they are non-toxic or biodegradable! To me that qualifies as a false representation of the term "eco". Under that kind of definition, all "reusable" bags qualify as "eco". Of course there is no mention the REALITY that they are not-biodegradable and are made from toxic petrochemicals.

Non-Organic Cotton Nut Milk Bag or Soup Bag

Usually soup bags made from conventional (non-organic) cotton. These bags sell for only about $2. My guess is that at these prices they are most likely made by low cost labor foreign country. I am not saying anything is wrong with people from foreign countries working to make products. My concern is about how and if the workers are treated specifically is they work in a fair, safe and pleasant working environments? I think it is not better option than nylon or polyester, Conventional cotton is considered to be the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. It can take almost a 1/3 pound of synthetic fertilizers to grow cotton for one t-shirt.  

Conventional cotton production uses more chemicals per unit area than any other crop and accounts in total for 10-16% of the world's pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants).

If you are buying a cotton or hemp nut milk bag, remember to ask what they use for sewing threads. We have yet to find anyone who uses cotton - conventional or organic!"

Non-organic cotton production is toxic to the:

  • Workers (pesticides), GMO cotton workers report skin problem. "The exact same symptoms are now being reported by farm workers throughout India, from handling Bt cotton.[13] In 2008, based on medical records, the Sunday India reported, "Victims of itching have increased massively this year . . . related to BT cotton farming."12

  • Animals (pesticides) billions of birds, bees, wild life and pesticides are tested on animals13

  • Environment (pollution of: soil, air and water) 93% of USA grown non-organic cotton is GMO. GMO cotton are patented (legally right and ownership of nature) engineered to produce their own built-in pesticide in every cell. When bugs bite the plant, the poison splits open their stomach and kills them. Contrary to propaganda, GMO cotton use MORE chemical and pesticides.14

NOTE: Conventional cotton does have some benefits over synthetic/plastic fabrics. When you throw the Conventional cotton nut milk bag at least it will biodegrade, but it is currently unknown how it will affect millions of microorganism present in the soil in long run.

Organic Cotton Nut Milk Bag

EcoPeaceful Nut Milk Bag - I consider it this bag to be the most environmental and healthiest bag on the market right now. I am not saying that because I sell it, but because I sourced materials to be the healthiest and most environmental, and also happen to be grown and manufactured in USA. I created the bag only after I had research for days all over the world/internet and finally gave up trying to find at least one TRULY 100% organic nut milk bag that I could buy for my own use. At the time I had never sewn never the less even owned a sewing machine! The EcoPeaceful nut milk bag is the only organic cotton bag which is also sewn with 100% organic cotton threads. The majority (possibly all) of other 'natural' nut milk bags (that includes certified organic cotton and hemp) are sewn with polyester threads! In my extensive research I was unable to find even one nut milk bag that was not made with polyester threads!

Is your nut milk bag considered Vegan? - I consider myself to be an ethical vegan, and based on my understanding of being a vegan, I can not even consider buying non-organic cotton, nylon, polyester or other petroleum based synthetic/plastics since they do not qualify as vegan, non-violent, peaceful or environmentally friendly!

"Made in USA" Really? - Most nut milk bag state that they are "Made in USA" , but it does not mean that their chemicals (for producing nylon and polyester) were drilled and refined in USA, and as far as 'natural' fabric bags - cotton or hemp - when they say "Made in USA" it usually simply means that nut milk bag was sewn in USA! For example, the hemp nut milk bag states "Made in USA", but hemp does not even grow legally in USA (very strange law). In fact the hemp was grown and fabric manufactured in China. I have nothing against China, in some cases they are more progressive and democratic. e.g. GMO food is at least labeled and they can legally grow hemp! Also consider that imported materials from another country doesn't exactly help with reducing our carbon foot print, even if the sewing of the nut milk bags happened in the USA!

BEWARE hemp nut milk bag polyester threads

 

Comparison - Organic Cotton vs Nylon and Polyester 
When you compare side-by-side organic cotton with synthetic (nylon, polyester) you can see that synthetic is seriously toxic, destructive (from drilling-to-disposing), but organic cotton is actually beneficial! 

 

Organic Cotton

Nylon

Polyester

Sourcing

Renewable and sustainable.
Grown from natural untreated non-GMO seeds.
Sourcing is SAFE for humans, animals and environment.

Destructive drilling, non-renewable.
Petrochemical refining from crude oil.

Sourcing is TOXIC for humans, animals and environment.

Destructive drilling, non-renewable.
Petrochemical refining from crude oil.

Sourcing is TOXIC for humans, animals and environment.

Production / Manufacturing

Organic cotton growers expect not only to offer a healthier and cleaner product, but also to benefit the planet. Some of the contributions to the different ecosystems include:

  • Protecting surface water and groundwater quality (eliminating contaminants in surface runoff)
  • Reduced risk in insect and disease control by replacing insecticide with the manipulation of ecosystems
  • Long-term prevention of pests through beneficial habitat planting.
  • Conservation of biodiversity
  • Eliminate the use of toxic chemicals used in cotton
Organically grown crops also yield soils with higher organic matter content, thicker topsoil depth, higher polysaccharide content, and lower modulus of rupture; therefore reducing considerably soil erosion.

Nylon manufacture creates nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, a greenhouse gas 300 times more impact (Global warming potential) than carbon dioxide.4

Nylon products take allot of energy to manufacturing.

Outgasses significant amounts of carbon pollution.

Significant amounts of water pollution from compounds used in production.

Uses large amounts of water for dying, washing, chemical treatments, cooling, along with lubricants which can become a source of contamination.8

Polyester products take allot of energy to manufacturing.

Often includes the use of heavy metals, including the toxic metal antimony trioxide.

Health  

Refinery chemicals linked to 85% higher risk of birthdefect3, as well as higher numbers of cancer and other diseases!

"nylon fiber exposure almost doubled women risk of breast cancer, according to 2010 study results reported in the British medical journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine."6

"Thermal processing of Nylon can cause many problems if one is exposed to the fumes or dust. Some of these problems include irritation of mucous membranes in the nose and throat, mechanical irritation of the eye and irritation of the skin. As well, if working with the polyamide before it is cooled workers can have their skin burned. Thirdly, if anyone were to ingest/inhale they may experience gastrointestinal discomfort (Malloy and Grubb, 2008). These are the health concerns that face workers in closer proximity to the production of Nylon."8

Refinery chemicals linked to 85% higher risk of birthdefect3, as well as higher numbers of cancer and other diseases!

"Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably-detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA [endocrine activity] than BPA-containing products."11

The term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate). Most plastic water bottles are made of PET. If you watch documentary Tapped, the scientist show how they tested water from plastic bottles and they found out that it had a soup of chemicals leaching into the bottled water. List of ingredients they found: Toluene, Styrene, Diethyl Phthalate, Dimethil Phthalate, Di-n-octyl.

Along with higher energy consumption from production, polyester uses large amounts of water for cooling, along with lubricants which can become a source of contamination.9

Disposal Biodegradable, compostable and non-toxic for the environment. Non-biodegradable, not compostable, polluting and toxifying.
Example: Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which harm and kills birds and marine animals.
Non-biodegradable, not compostablepolluting and toxifying. 
Example: Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which harm and kills birds and marine animals.

 

What do you think? Which nut milk bag is the best and the worst for conscious consumers/eaters?
Should you support organic agriculture and organic textile industry or plastic industry? 

I work toward avoiding supporting and buying products from oil and plastic industries where ever possible for: environmental, ethical and health reasons. I think that the best is organic cotton, especially if it is grown and manufactured locally (at least not across the other side of our planet).

Please leave a comment if you agree or disagree with me, I will not delete your comment. :-)

 

REFERENCES

Community Groups in Texas, California, and Louisiana Sue the EPA to Clean Up Toxic Air from Refineries "About 150 oil refineries in 32 states release more than 20,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants like benzene, cyanide, and formaldehyde every year.http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2012/community-groups-in-texas-california-and-louisiana-sue-the-epa-to-clean-up-toxic-air-from-refineries
To see how the Koch brothers’ free-market utopia operates, look no further than Corpus Christi. "...released 26 different pollutants into the atmosphere, including more than 19,000 pounds of benzene, 25,000 pounds of toluene, 11,000 pounds of sulfuric acid, and 25,000 pounds of hydrogen cyanide.http://www.texasobserver.org/kochworld

3 ATSDR’s activities in Corpus Christi, Texas, "The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) are concerned for the health of the residents of the Corpus Christi area.http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/corpuschristi/final_report.html#4

4 EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Greenhouse Gas Emissions http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/n2o.html

5 "Since Nylon absorbs water, they are typically not preferred for wet applications however there are grades and design methods that can make them work for specific applications." http://www.plasticsintl.com/nylon.htm

6 Postmenopausal breast cancer and occupational exposures, British Medical Journal - Occupational Environmental Medicine 2010;67:263-269 http://oem.bmj.com/content/67/4/263.abstract

7 Are Plastics Safe To Eat? http://www.directplastics.co.uk/popular-topics-about-plastics/are-plastics-safe-to-eat.html

Nylon: Background, Dangers, Disposal http://schoolworkhelper.net/nylon-background-dangers-disposal

9 Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing and Design: Waste, nuclear, reprocessing and treatment technologies to wastewater treatment, multilateral approach, Volume 65 http://books.google.com/books?id=24NFE9AlObcC&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&dq=polyester+uses+large+amounts+of+water+for+cooling&source=bl&ots=omh0Nj3Md0&sig=jgn7G3Mrl_iGBhHOatl9nJCxZSE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=g0NdUdSROeeXigLcvoGADQ&ved=0CHEQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=petrochemical%20wastewater%20treatment%20system&f=false
10 Study: Most plastic products trigger estrogen effect http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/03/bpa-free-plastic-products-estrogen/1#.UWHw85PviSp

11 Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals - Environmental Health Perspect. 2011 July 1; 119(7): 989–996 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987

12 Doctors Warn: Avoid Genetically Modified Food http://www.responsibletechnology.org/doctors-warn

13 Pesticide Animal Testing http://www.hsi.org/issues/chemical_product_testing/facts/pesticides.html

14 GMO Myths and Truths Report http://earthopensource.org/index.php/5-gm-crops-impacts-on-the-farm-and-environment/5-2-myth-gm-crops-decrease-pesticide-use

RECOMMENDED DOCUMENTARIES about PLASTICS!

Plastic Planet - Full documentary available on Netflix
Bag it - Available on Netflix
Tapped - Available on Netflix
TEDx Great Pacific Garbage Patch - 40 talks focused on the topic from this one event!

 

 
Author Info
Lena Mumma
Author: Lena MummaWebsite: http://youtube.com/user/EcoPeaceful
Co-Founder of Ecopeaceful, LLC
nut milk
About Me
I love educating about eco and peaceful ways of living, and every now and then exposing people and companies that are not acting in the best interest of the public.
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