Michelle Goes Green

Are You Aware of What Plastics are Toxic?

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It seems like just about every day we learn about another toxin in our presumably safe home. Whether it’s that water bottle you’re drinking out of or the plastic dishes you store your food in, some plastics are leaching poisons into your home and into your body, but not all plastics are bad. Plastic in general is a very useful resource because it enables us to reuse products time and time again, thus conserving resources. Let’s take a look at a few different types of plastics and which ones are safe and which ones you should avoid.

Polycarbonate

This plastic is responsible for releasing Bisphenol A which has been in the news a lot lately because it’s found in a number of water bottles, certain types of Nalgene bottles, baby bottles, car parts and other common manufactured food storage containers. The easiest way to identify this plastic is to look at the recycling label on the bottom of the container. If it says 7, other, or PC then steer clear of it.

Polyethylene Terephthalate

This plastic is commonly used for water bottles and soda bottles. It’s safe for one time consumption however multiple uses, like refilling that same plastic water bottle over and over again, is not healthy. The plastic will begin to degrade and leach and bacteria can begin to grow.

High density Polyethylene

This is what milk containers and those plastic grocery bags are made from. It is recyclable and is generally labeled HDPE

Polyvinyl Chloride

This is an extremely toxic plastic and is commonly called PVC. It’s used in window frames, to wrap meat in your grocery store, in shower curtains, in your plumbing and in many baby toys like rubber duckies and mattress covers. To identify this plastic, look for the recycling label 3 or PVC.

Polystyrene

This plastic is used to make plastic silverware, coffee cups, take out containers and egg cartons. It’s commonly called Styrofoam and has been linked to cancer. It’s labeled PS or 6 for recycling.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene or PPE is a commonly used and safe plastic. You’ll find food bags, cups and plastic bottles, medicine bottles and other food storage items are often sold in this plastic.

Low density polyethylene

Another safe one, this plastic is what makes up your garbage bags, ketchup squeeze bottles and the plastic wrap you use to store food in your refrigerator. It’s commonly labeled 4 or LDPE for recycling purposes.

By and large, manufacturers are getting better about using safe plastics to create their products. It always pays though to know what your buying and potentially putting into your body. The plastics to look out for are PVC, Polycarbonate, and Polystyrene because they are the most toxic and when thrown away will continue to leach toxins into the soil. Keep your family safe and learn what plastics are toxin free.

Simon Leufstedt likes this

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This is a great load of information about toxic plastics. I am much more aware now of  what is toxic and will certainly be much more alert in future.

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Thank you for the great information.  I only knew that you wanted to have BPA-free plastics.  I always look for the sticker or label when purchasing new plastic items.  Now, I feel a little bit more informed.  Thanks again.

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Great info, thanks for this - we got rid of all BPA but it seems like that's not enough and most plastics are in some ways toxic. Will bookmark to refer back to. 

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