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One Plastic to be Sure to Avoid

One Plastic to be Sure to Avoid

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) published a report about seven plasticizers (known as phthalates) found in a variety of polyvinyl chloride-based products, and isolates one to be the most concerned about as a hormone disrupter in humans and wildlife.

After intensive evaluation of seven phthalates, the only one that presents a serious concern to human reproduction or development, according to the study, is Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP. The concern is when boys are exposed to medical procedures using phthalate-containing equipment such as intravenous bags and tubing, and is of particular concern for premature babies. When the developing reproductive tract of male infants is exposed to high concentrations of the phthalate through medical procedures, the researchers found adverse effects.

The panel of researchers were not overly concerned about DEHP’s effect on adults.

The other plasticizers tested were butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), di-isononyl phthalate (DINP), di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), di-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP), and di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP). The chemicals were selected based on their high production volume, but it isn’t very clear where these phthalates end up in consumer products, although flexible tubing and plastic toys are two categories where many of these phthalates are used. Polyvinyl chloride is found in bottles of wax, shampoos, vegetable oils, salad dressing, mouthwashes, mineral water, and lunch meat wrap.

The normal plastic symbols for recycling don’t include any of those plasticizers for identification, although some of those seven may well fall into some of the recycling categories, such as recycling symbol number three, which is PVC.

The recycling categories are No. 2: PETE (polyethyelene terephthalate); No. 2: HDPE (high-density polyethylene); No. 3: PVC (vinyl, polyvinyl chloride); No. 4: LDPE (low-density polyethylene); No. 5: PP (polypropylene); No. 6: PS (polystyrene), and No. 7: Other (primarily multilayered plastics).

The full report is available here.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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9:12AM PDT on May 7, 2010

The basic building block of plastics is cellulose taken from petroleum, but toxic petrochemical compositions are not the only way to derive plastics. Plastics can be derived from plant cellulose, and since hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on Earth (hemp hurds can be 85% cellA recent technological advance with biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch has led to a new material based on hemp. Hemp Plastics (Australia) have sourced partners who have been able to produce a new 100% biodegradable material made entirely from hemp and corn. This new material has unique strength and technical qualities which have yet to be seen before, and this new material can be injection or blow-molded into virtually any shape using existing moulds, including cosmetic containers, Frisbee golf discs, etc.ulose), it only makes sense to make other organics, instead of letting our dumps fill up with refuse.
The possibilities are endless with hemp plastics and resins, and bio-composites. Virtually any shape and purpose can be fulfilled by bio-composite plastics. Hemp plastics are already on the rise, it is only a matter of time before we will see the need to grow hemp in the United States to meet our demands.

10:54AM PDT on Jun 19, 2009

mega kabin

6:38AM PDT on May 20, 2009

I Agree we need to be more informed which products are safe and plastics are safe. We know too much what isn't safe.

11:13AM PDT on Sep 5, 2008

The manufactures should mark the product unsafe when they put it on the market. If it is unsafe for food than mark it such. Plastic is never safe in the microwave I think.

3:50PM PDT on Sep 19, 2007

Is there an easy way to identify this and other items like glasses, bowls, containers and the like? With the recycle code? This was not very easy to understand.

3:48PM PDT on Sep 19, 2007

I'm trying to find out which plastic containers, bottles, glasses, bowls and the like are Ok, and which are not. Is there a chart that tells by recycle number?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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