This week both the United States and Canada announced (finally) that Bisphenol A is dangerous for humans. Bisphenol A is a hormone disrupter and is just one of many chemicals that may be in plastics and can leach out through use. So how do you know what plastics are safe to use? (or at least safer than others, I am trying to avoid all plastics as much as possible because I just don’t trust them.)
Here is a quick run down.
#1 PET or PETE – safe and recyclable
#2 HDPE – safe and recyclable
#3 Vinyl or PVC – AWFUL and not recyclable – avoid at all costs! More on this in a future tip.
#4 LDPE – safe and recyclable
#5 PP – safe and recyclable
#6 PS or polystyrene (styrofoam) – not safe, sometimes recyclable
#7 miscellaneous – pay attention here:
PC is where you will find the bisphenol A – this is not safe and cannot be recycled.
PLA is polyactide, made from plants such as corn – safe and not recyclable, but can be composted, put it in your green bin if you have one.
There are other plastics that fall into the #7 category, it is just a catch all for those that are not 1-6. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether they are safe or not. Personally, I will ere on the side of caution. If a product is not labeled with a number, (most toys are not) you can call the manufacturer and ask them. Or you can just pass it up and maybe manufacturers will catch on and stop making stuff that can hurt us.
In general, never heat up your food in any type of plastic, especially #’s 3, 6 and 7. Avoid exposing plastic to temperature extremes, hot or cold, this causes the chemicals to leach out faster. If notice that a plastic item is becoming scratched, it is time to toss it in the recycling bin.
Have a great day!