Sunday, September 26, 2010

Safe Plastics

With all of the news about bisphosphenol-A (BPA) and the dangers of plastics, do you wonder which ones are ok anymore? We do try to avoid plastic if possible, but it’s just not realistic all of the time. Here are some guidelines to help us all become a little less confused:

1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)

Used to make soft drink, water, sports drink, ketchup and salad dressing bottles, and peanut butter, jelly and jam jars

GOOD: Not known to leach chemicals suspected of causing cancer or hormone disruptors

2 High density polyethylene (HDPE)

Milk, water and juice bottles, yogurt and butter bus, cereal box liners and grocery, trash, and retail bags.

GOOD: Not known to leach chemical suspected of causing cancer or hormone disruptors

3 Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC)

Most cling-wrapped meats, cheeses, and other deli foods

BAD: Manufacturers add “plasticizers” during production to soften into its flexible form. Traces of these chemical can leach out when they come into contact with foods. According to the NIH, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) is commonly found in PVC and is a suspected carcinogen

4 Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

Some bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles

OK: Not known to leach chemicals but not as widely recyclable as #1 or #2

5 Polopropylene (PP)

Some ketchup bottles and yogurt and margarine tubs

OK: Hazardous during production but not know to leach chemicals. Not as widely recyclable.

6 Polystyrene (PS)

Foam insulation and also for hard applications (cups, toys)
BAD: Benzene used in production is a known human carcinogen. Butadiene and styrene are basic building blocks of the plastic and suspected carcinogens. Energy intensive. Poor recycling.

7 Other (usually polycarbonate)

BAD: Made with biphenyl-A, a chemical made in the 1930s in search for synthetic estrogens. It is a hormone disruptor, and it stimulates the action of estrogen when tested in human breast cancer studies. Can leach into food as a product ages.

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