By Tanya Streeter
I can’t protect my children. It’s as simple as that. In fact, it’s worse than that. I have unwittingly poisoned them….BEFORE THEY WERE BORN. That’s the reality of the human health impact of plastic pollution.
This stark fact turned my stomach and made my head spin. I was already a mother of one very lovely redheaded daughter, and wading through yet another round of IVF in my journey to conceive our sweet son when, whilst shooting scenes for “A Plastic Ocean” (available on iTunes), I learned there is one way it’s thought that we are able to reduce toxins already accumulated in our bodies: by reducing our exposure to plastics…really. I suppose that’s a little piece of good news: the possibility that we can reduce our levels of those toxins, right? Well, when I say “we”, I mean us women. You see, men can’t. Want to know why? Because they can’t have babies.
You’re thinking, “You’ve lost me here, Tanya. What does having babies got to do with excreting toxins from my body?” Well, it’s a current school of thought that those heinous toxins, the ones that may contribute to some cancers, and infertility, as well as immune, metabolic, cognitive and behavioral disorders, are passed from mother to baby during pregnancy.
I’m tenacious, strong-willed, determined. I broke ten world records in a male-dominated sport called Freediving. My genes spawned a redhead, for heaven’s sake! I get fired up! So when I hear things like that, it’s no great surprise that my immediate reaction is utterly negative. For every time I drank from a plastic water bottle, enjoyed sushi or microwaved food in tupperware, I added to the levels of extremely dangerous toxins in the little bodies of my beautiful angels. No amount of organic food, glass food containers and stainless steel water bottles filled with reverse osmosis water can change that. The same goes for my mother as she carried me in utero. But likely not for her, because plastic wasn’t really so prevalent back then. The planet wasn’t, shall we say, addicted to it.
I don’t mean to scare you. Although I kind of do. I want to scare you into change. Because you CAN make a difference going forward. You CAN protect your children (and yourself) from greater exposure and the potential effects of the toxins in plastic. After every shoot for the film, during which I had learned so much, I would come home and make changes in my kitchen, my home, my shopping, my disposing. Check out the film. If your children are old enough (middle school and up) sit and watch it with them. We all know that they are the generation that will make better choices than previous generations. And you’ll be helping to make sure that your beautiful grandbabies are as healthy as possible when they come along to steal your heart!