Plasticware is manufactured using chemicals that improve flexibility and strength. But what’s good for the bottle may be dangerous to you. As plastic can be detrimental to health, every plastic item is labeled with a plastic identification code. This denotes the level of risk marked by numbers 1 to 7.
To be safe, here is a brief guide on how to recognize plastic hazardous to health.
A. SAFE PLASTICS :
Polypropylene or PP : Code # 5.
- Used for medicine bottles, ketchup and syrup bottles.
- Bottle caps and containers for packaged food.
B. LOW RISK PLASTICS :
Polyethylene Terephtalete or PET : Code #1.
- Used for water bottles and storage
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE): Code #2.
- Used in packaging for milk and consumer goods
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE): Code #4.
- Used in manufacturing polythene carry bags for food and garbage.
- Dispensing bottles for ketchup or mustard.
The above are plastics hazardous on low levels. Though they are considered relatively safe, they may release harmful elements such as antimony and bromine under high temperatures and prolonged use.
Microwaving should be avoided.
C. HARMFUL PLASTICS :
Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC : Code #3.
- Used for medical blister packs, bedding bags, meat wrapping and hardware goods.
- Also used in vinyl flooring and consumer products.
The use of phthalates for softening PVC plastics is known to cause disease such as asthma. Its main element Di (2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate or DEHP is a compound with high solubility and as such is easily leached into lipid solutions and blood.
Polystyrene (PS) or Styrofoam: Code #6.
- Commonly used in the food industry as takeaway containers and food packaging.
- Also used in protective packaging for furniture.
Polystyrene contains styrene which is a possible carcinogen. It can also develop into a neurotoxin over prolonged use and is a harmful element associated with cancer. Animal studies have proven the harmful effects of styrene on various organs of the body.
Resin based plastics : Code #7.
- Used in large 20 liter water bottles.
- Also used in bottling for citric juices, ketchup and other forms of packaging.
The most dangerous plastic hazardous in a number of ways.
Containing the polymer BPA or Bipheneol A, it is associated with health risks to the prostate gland, central nervous system, Urinary tract and sperm production.
Now that you can recognize plastics hazardous to health, there are certain measures you can implement in order to protect your family from the dangers of plastic.
Advocating the use of glass, wood, metal and paper containers or packaging for all your needs would minimize your health risks to a large extent.
Image Credit :
Featured Image – adriennesmillie
Others – Wikimedia