Plastic Fantastic… Not for Men

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By John Spartan

A little known fact these days that all men should be aware of is that the average males testosterone levels have dropped dramatically ever since the 1970′s. Men back then would have up to 30% more testosterone present in their body compared to the men of today’s generation.

If that’s not concerning enough, the signs of this are very alarming. Low testosterone levels can make men feel signs of depression, have weak joints, low stamina, low energy levels, lack of muscle mass and inability to build muscle as well as experience low libido.

Low testosterone levels can be caused by health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, liver and kidney disease but also from Phthalates. Phthalates are known as everywhere chemicals because they are so common, they are used in making countless plastic products used on a daily basis. They are substances added to a lot of plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.

They are found in plastic containers and plastic wrap marked with the recycling label #2,#3,#6,#7, and can also be found in the fragrances of many personal care products with companies not having to list them as an ingredient on labels as they are considered a trade secret. They could be present in your soaps and deodorants and you wouldn’t even know.

Another source of exposure to Phthalates is food, in particular processed and packaged foods, milk, butter and meats. They have been linked to a lower sperm count, obesity, diabetes, thyroid problems and birth defects in the male reproductive system. Seeing that these Phthalates are present in a lot of household products and food, particles can live in the dust we breathe on a daily basis. Medical devices and tubing may also contain them such as IV tubing, gloves, nasogastric tubes and respiratory tubing and may even be present in the medications we take as they can be used for the coating.

The problem with plastics and low testosterone levels doesn’t end there though. Men also have Bisphenol-A, better known as BPA to worry about. BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a shatter-resistant and clear material used in products ranging from plastic bottles and eyeglasses to sports safety equipment. BPA is also found in baby bottles, sip cups, teethers, water bottles, food storage containers, and the lining of many food and beverage cans. BPA can leach from these items into food and beverages, especially when they are heated or used for a long time.

The problem can start from an early age as children put toys, teethers and other products containing BPA in their mouths. The chemicals can then leach from the product straight to the child. BPA has been shown to increase the risk of sexual dysfunction and lower sperm count as it is similar to the female hormone estrogen, effecting the balance of hormones in males.

Testosterone helps make a man a man, it is the primary sex hormone and helps with physical growth, strength, bone density, brain function, libido and cardiovascular health. Males need to be aware of this and make smarter, more informed decisions about what goes on and in their bodies as difficult as it has become in today’s day and age. Using glass and porcelain for food and beverage storage as well as buying plastic products which present the BPA free label is a great way to start not just to prevent a decrease in testosterone but help with overall health and well-being.

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