Plastic Bottles – Good, OK, Bad

Here is a handy chart that identifies the Good, OK, and Bad plastics and where they are found. Find out here:

(1) Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)

  • Used to make soft drink, water, sports drink, ketchup, and salad dressing bottles, and peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars.
    GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.

(2) High density polyethylene (HDPE)

  • Milk, water, and juice bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, and grocery, trash, and retail bags.
    GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.

(3) Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC)

  • Most cling-wrapped meats, cheeses, and other foods sold in delicatessens and groceries are wrapped in PVC.
    BAD: To soften into its flexible form, manufacturers add “plasticizers” during production. Traces of these chemicals can leach out of PVC when in contact with foods. According to the National Institutes of Health, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), commonly found in PVC, is a suspected human carcinogen.

(4) Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

  • Some bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles.
    OK: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones, but not as widely recycled as #1 or #2.

(5) Polypropylene (PP)

  • Some ketchup bottles and yogurt and margarine tubs.
    OK: Hazardous during production, but not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. Not as widely recycled as #1 and #2.

(6) Polystyrene (PS)

  • Foam insulation and also for hard applications (e.g. cups, some toys)
    BAD: Benzene (material used in production) is a known human carcinogen. Butadiene and styrene (the basic building block of the plastic) are suspected carcinogens. Energy intensive and poor recycling.

(7) Other (usually polycarbonate)

  • Baby bottles, microwave ovenware, eating utensils, plastic coating for metal cans
    BAD: Made with biphenyl-A, a chemical invented in the 1930’s in search for synthetic estrogens. A hormone disruptor. Simulates the action of estrogen when tested in human breast cancer studies. Can leach into food as product ages.
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Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 11:44 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. No authoritative or regulatory body anywhere in the world classifies styrene to be a known cause of human cancer. Moreover, a study conducted by a “blue ribbon” panel of epidemiologists and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (November 2009) reports: “The evidence of human carcinogenicity of styrene is inconsistent and weak. On the basis of the available evidence, one cannot conclude that there is a causal relationship between styrene and any type of human cancer.”

    Priscilla Briones for the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), Arlington, Virginia. SIRC (www.styrene.org) is a trade association that represents interests of the North American styrene industry with its mission being the collection, development, analysis and communication of pertinent information on styrene.

  2. […] Plastic Bottles – Good, OK, Bad « Black Belt Review […]


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