Plastics and the New Car Smell

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In our industrialized society we are exposed to many potentially toxic chemicals every day. How do we decide what is safe? There are many topics I can post on this subject. I will start by addressing plastics, the safety of plastics and how this relates to dental care. I will sum up our exposure to plastics in our environment as the “new car smell.” Cars and most every product we buy today have a lot of plastics. Plastics are made of chemicals that are “cross-linked” together, like a chain link fence, in order to form a solid shape…like your car! After the chemicals are mixed together to form the parts of your car, there are some chemicals from the plastic car parts that are released into the air, which is the “new car smell.” Over time these chemicals are no longer released very much, and your car quickly loses value because it does not smell “new” any more. A range of chemicals are mixed to make resin based (tooth colored) dental fillings and sealants, as well as water bottles, baby bottles, reusable food containers, plastic tableware, linings of jar tops and cans, and many other products. You may hear the term Bisphenol A or BPA in news reports about plastic safety. To be continued in next blog entry.