Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Avoid 7,6 and 3

Choose your water bottles carefully in order to prevent chemicals in the plastic from leaching into your water.

Plastic water bottles are very convenient. However, it is worth paying attention to the type of plastic your water bottle is made of, to ensure that the chemicals in the plastic do not leach into the water. If you taste plastic, you are drinking it, so get yourself another bottle.

To be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a #5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine. The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a #1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it and never heat it.

Unfortunately, those fabulous colourful hard plastic bottles are made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the #7 recycling symbol. That means they may leach Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor (IE it messes up your hormones!). Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. I am not scientist but you can read up on it in the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal.

Unfortunately, most plastic baby bottles and many kids drinking cups are made with plastics containing BPA. In 2006 Europe banned all products made for children under age 3 containing BPA, and as of Dec. 2006 the city of San Franscisco followed suit and in March 2007 a billion-dollar class action suit was commenced against Gerber, Playtex, Evenflo, Avent, and Dr. Brown's.

So, check the recycling numbers on all your plastic food containers and gradually move to storing all food in glass or ceramic. Store water in glass or brass if possible, and out of direct sunlight.

Lets Recap...
Read the bottom and refuse to buy anything packaged in the worst plastics: 3, 6, and 7.
Plastics #s 1, 2, 4 and 5 are safer and are not known to leach chemicals.

Want to be EXTRA Cautious?
Never use Styrofoam, especially not for hot drinks/soups.
Don't reuse plastic containers by washing in the dishwasher; wash by hand and dispose before too many uses.
Don't put any plastic in the microwave and never microwave with plastic wrap despite what the cooking or instructions tell you!
When storing things with fat (cheese or covering a fatty soup or oil), or acid (citrus, tomatoes etc) don't use plastic.
Don't use Stretch-Tite plastic wrap.
Check The Green Guide for a complete list and read CHEC for more information

The video that inspired this entry: