Nearly two-thirds of Americans have at least one cup of coffee a day, and it’s no surprise that everyone has their own system for brewing their cup o’ Joe. Among the many methods, plastic coffee pods have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially due to their ease and convenience. However, a new study says that those coffee pods could lead to adverse health effects, particularly when it comes to your hormones.
While previous research has found that the chemicals used in plastics can be generally damaging to our health over time, scientists at the University of Connecticut wanted to take a closer look at the ones in plastic coffee pods due to their widespread use. In a study published in Current Research in Toxicology, they looked at samples of coffee pod materials at a microscopic level to get a sense of what compounds were in them and if they could be transferred from the pod to the coffee powder itself.
They discovered that these plastics contain what researchers call “estrogenic chemicals,” which aren’t identical to estrogen hormones but imitate them. In addition to regulating our reproductive systems, estrogen plays a number of key roles, like managing our cholesterol levels, keeping our brains and hearts strong, and protecting our bone health as we age. These mock estrogen samples have the ability to end up in the coffee we drink if we use these pods, and they have the potential to cause imbalances to our delicate hormone levels.
Scientists say they have a lot more work to do before identifying the health problems these coffee pod hormones cause, but it doesn’t hurt to consider changing up how you brew your next mug. If you like the quickness and convenience of pods, plenty of grocery stores sell reusable stainless steel ones. Not only are they most likely better for your health, but they’re great for the environment, too!