THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTICS

I know I have not posted for some time. Sickness, company, holidays, and research have been the reasons. The first three are self-explanatory, but I will shed a little more light on the fourth reason.

Some time ago, I began a project making baby bibs from fused plastic bags, lined with old t-shirt fabric. I had made quite a bit of fused plastic years ago when I was first introduced to the technique, and I had a large stash of sheets in different colors. I had been trying to think of new ideas for frugal baby gifts when the thought struck me that I might be able to make them from fused plastic bags to make them waterproof.

I began by cutting out a bib shape from my fused plastic sheet using a baby bib I already had on hand as a guide. I allowed a little extra space on all sides when I was cutting the shape out because I wanted to attach a t-shirt back. I figured that plastic alone would be scratchy and hot, but adding a t-shirt backing to it would make it more comfortable. I cut a second bib shape from the back of a stained t-shirt in a matching color to my plastic. Then I sewed the two together with a narrow seam along the sides, leaving a space at the bottom of the bib to be able to turn it right side out. Top-stitching along the sides of the bib gave it a finished edge.

With the basic bib shape done, I had a grand time creating all kinds of decorative designs for the fronts. I free-handed different cartoon-like images onto paper, cut the shapes out of appropriate-colored fused plastic, and began to stitch the pieces together. When I had finished decorating the bib, I added a Velcro closure to the back of the neck.

These bibs turned out really cute, and I had several family members who loved them and wanted to learn how to make them. Sadly, though I liked the way they turned out and had really enjoyed making them, I was reticent to give them away as gifts. For some time, I had been reading and hearing more and more about the dangers of plastic to human health and I began to wonder about the safety of this material. I had tried to make the bib so that the baby’s skin would not be in direct contact with the plastic on the bib and I did not think there were any fumes coming from the plastic, but what if the baby put the bib in its mouth or chewed on the plastic? I began to do research on the Internet to see what I could learn.

Plastics are a huge subject and I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available. It was not hard to find the information I was looking for regarding the interaction of plastics with our health. The information was not encouraging. Most discouraging was its impact on the next generation, most of whom have been surrounded by plastic since their births. And yes, babies and children are highly impacted in their development. So, cute as they are, the bibs are really not a great project.

All this led me to rethink the types of plastics I use in my home and the things that I make from plastic packaging. Some projects that I have done in the past, I would not do now. Some of them are fine. Some of them will be a judgment call each individual will have to make based on the knowledge they have about the type of plastic involved and its intended use. I have posted a separate page about the future use of plastics on this site.

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6 Responses to THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTICS

  1. Sharon says:

    Re: the effects of plastics on health. I was wondering about that very topic today after hearing on Dr Oz about phthalates leaching out of plastic water bottles.

  2. pat says:

    Dear Sharon, it’s just like you to be concerned with our physical health as well as our spiritual health. It would appear that you have provided better -and more beautiful- protection than the disposable stuff.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What if you put the plastic bag layer INSIDE two cotton or flannel absorbent layers? That way the food or liquid doesn’t soak through the bib onto the cute clothing underneath, but there is no direct contact with the plastic either, even by accident. (such as if the plastic is exposed on the front). So basically it would be acting like an absorbent cloth bib but would prevent soak-throughs.

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