Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BPA, Plastics and Your Health

You probably know by now that BPA free is a hot term and that it's better if your water bottle is BPA free.  Here is the rundown and some quick ways to check different things out.  Consider this your Plastic 101 crash course.

BPA stands for Bisphenol A.  This plastic has been shown to mimic female estrogen and can essentially disrupt your endocrine system.  BPA is used in plastic that is clear and shatterproof.  Think the old Nalgeen bottles that every college kid in America owned.

BPA is a xenoestrogen.  Foreign estrogen.  It disrupts your endocrine system.  This has been linked to certain cancers in women, lower testosterone levels in men, obesity, memory and mood problems and also fetal and infant brain development problems.  Not good stuff.

Most companies have switched over to exclusively BPA free, but there are still old products on the market. An easy way to tell if it contains BPA is look on the bottom of the plastic.  There will be a triangle.  If the number 3 or 7 is in the triangle and the bottle doesn't say BPA free, chances are it has BPA.

I recently checked my Culligan water system at the office and it contained the number 7.  I called Culligan and they promised that all future bottles would be BPA free.  This got me thinking on all the numbers that you see with plastic.  Here is the rundown on the recycling number symbols.

1.  PETE.  This is single use plastic.  Think water bottles.  Pretty safe, just don't reuse them.  Little chance of plastic leaching into the water.

2.  HDPE.  Milk jugs, laundry detergent.  Again little chance for leaching.

3.  PVC.  Don't every burn this plastic as it will release toxic fumes.

4.  LDPE.  Squeezable plastic and it's flexible.  Grocery bags.  Doesn't appear much food stuff is made from it.

5.  PP.  Straws and medicine bottles.  High melt point.

6.  PS.  Egg cartons, CD cases, disposable cups and plates.  This can leach into the food stuff.  Think Styrofoam.  So don't reuse that stuff.

7.  OTHER.  This is a bunch of plastics thrown together.  Hard plastic.  Shown that this will leach and disrupt some hormones potentially.  STAY AWAY.

So when looking for drinking water or storage, the numbers 2, 4, 5 are safe.  1 is for one time use only.  Don't reuse.  Never use number 7.

Plastic 101 now dismissed.


Dr Scott said...

So I checked out Culligan...some were number 7 but most were #1....Called them and they said they would make sure we got PBA free, but from what she described it would be the #1....I wonder if they reuse them. Any thoughts?

KSmom22 said...

What about number 3?

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