Two million plastic bottles are used in the world every five minutes. One million plastic cups are handed out on U.S. airline flights every six hours. Plastic is the number one consumer product, but it could also be killing us.
"When I stepped out of bed, I hit the floor and I, hum, couldn't move," said Tonya Montgomery.
"I was completely paralyzed," she said. "It was awful and I was in a lot of pain."
Montgomery was ready to die.
"I just laid there," she said.
She was helpless, alone on the floor for two days, until her child's nanny found her.
"I was really scared," Montgomery stated.
Over the next two months, she was diagnosed with Lupus, Lymphoma, Leukemia, and Scleroderma, but she had none of them. After searching online, she found the answer and a doctor who confirmed it: Montgomery was suffering from plastic poisoning.
Professor Tracy Woodruff is an expert on environmental toxins. She says, from the shampoo you use, to the food you eat, dangerous toxins can get into your body.
"People are exposed to BPA constantly," said Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of Reproductive Health and the Environment at the University of California in San Francisco.
Bisphenol-A or BPA is a chemical used in plastics. It prevents rusting and is found in the lining of canned foods, plastic bottles, plastic bags, Styrofoam, and coffee cups. It's in the fish we eat, the soup we sip, and even our baby's bottles.
"They can actually leach out into the product that is containing the can metal," said Roy Gerona, Ph.D. Clinical Chemist at the University of California in San Francisco.
High levels of it are linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, early puberty, allergies, asthma, insulin resistance, smaller penis', lower sperm count, reproductive problems, thyroid issues, miscarriages, ADHD, autism, and obesity.
"It can alter the hormones in your body," said Woodruff.
Of the more than 200 government studies, 92 percent show BPA is harmful. About 20 studies funded by chemical corporations found BPA does no harm, but just how much BPA does it take to affect your health? A Harvard study gave one group of volunteers canned soup for lunch, and another group fresh soup, after just five days, the group eating canned soup had more than a one thousand percent increase in BPA.
Film makers Judy Kohin and Suzan Beraza created the documentary ‘Bag It,' to help raise awareness of what BPA and phthalates, another chemical found in plastics, are doing to our world and our bodies. To prove their point, they put their friend Jeb to the test. After just two days of eating, drinking, and living like most of us do, Jeb's phthalate level increased eleven times.
"His BPA went up like a hundred and ten times," said Beraza.
Experts say, to avoid anything made with plastic number three, six, or seven.
Montgomery changed her spa –getting rid of anything and everything plastic!
"Nothing's a toxic to the body," she said.
Montgomery cleaned out her home, and watches everything she eats. No plastic bags, bottles, or cups!
"We don't use the microwave. We don't do anything with preservatives. It took me about ninety days to get completely better," she explained.
Last year, French lawmakers banned BPA in all food packaging. Canada banned it in baby food products. The entire Japanese canning industry has gotten rid of BPA resin can liners. And after a lot of pressure, the FDA has recently banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and Sippy cups. However, it stopped short of banning the chemical in metal can liners and other plastics.
TIPS TO AVOID PLASTIC POISONING: Although it may be difficult for some people to cut plastic out of their lives entirely, there are some steps that can be taken to lower the risk of being poisoned by plastic. One way to avoid plastic poisoning is to use BPA-free products, but be careful because not all products say they have BPA even if they do. In general, steel bottles and cans are BPA-free while aluminum cans traditionally do contain the chemical. Another tip: avoid heating up anything in plastic because higher temperatures cause BPA to leach even more into whatever it contains. So don't put plastic containers in the microwave, don't drink out of water bottles left in a hot car, and don't wash plastic containers and utensils in the dishwasher. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)
Copyright 2013 by Ivanhoe Broadcast News and News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.