Sunday, December 07, 2008

Which Plastic Is Safer?

We have heard / read that the plastic product is not good if used too frequently or certain plastic products could withstand longer usage. How are we to differentiate?

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can leach phthalates, known male reproductive toxicants. It can be identified by code 3. One way to avoid it in the kitchen is by choosing plastic wrap made from polyethylene rather than PVC. If a box is not labeled, find a brand that is or call the manufacturer.

Polystyrene is used in Styrofoam products. It may leach styrene (a neurotoxin) when it comes into contact with hot, acidic, or fatty foods. It's marked with recycling code 6.


Polycarbonate can leach bisphenol-A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor associated with a long list of health concerns. Baby bottles, "sippy" cups, 5-gallon water jugs, and reusable beverage bottles are typically made out of this plastic. Products may be marked with recycling code 7 and/or the letters "PC." It’s important to note that some containers that aren’t made from polycarbonate may also be marked with a code 7 because the category also includes any plastic that doesn’t fit into the 1 to 6 recycling code categories.

The following plastics are considered safest for food storage but still not encouraged (glass and stainless steel are better options):-

Polyethylene terephthalate ethylene (PETE), code 1.



High-density polyethylene (HDPE), code 2.



Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), code 4.



Polypropylene (PP), code 5.



Here are some tips for using all plastics safely:-
* Don't microwave food in plastic containers. Chemicals are more likely to leach out when plastic is heated. "Microwaveable plastic" doesn't guarantee that chemicals won't leach. Cover foods in the microwave with wax paper or a plate. If you do use plastic wrap, then make sure it doesn't touch the food.

* Avoid putting hot foods in plastic containers. Let leftovers cool off before storing them in plastic.

* Take good care of plastics by not washing them with harsh chemicals, and dispose of scratched and worn containers. Research has shown that older, scratched items will leach more. Don't put them in the dishwasher if you want to be completely risk-averse.

Reading: Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy
(The above posting has been extracted from Yahoo Green)
Tags: Plastic, Polyethylene, Plastic Container, Polycarbonate, Polystyrene

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3 Comments:

Blogger Simon Ho said...

one question, what if i reuse my mineral water bottles to store my water supply over and over again? will i die of cancer?

07 December, 2008 22:45  
Blogger Johnny Ong said...

mineral bottle has a code 7 embossed at the bottom of the bottle

08 December, 2008 01:01  
Blogger foongpc said...

Thanks for this very useful information! And I thought the bigger the number the safer it is! Well am I wrong or what!

08 December, 2008 12:43  

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