Which Plastics Are Safe?

The news about plastics has been pretty alarming lately, causing some of us to go dashing for the water bottles to see what kind of plastic they areóand find out if we’ve been unwittingly poisoning our children and ourselves with chemicals leaching into the water from them.

If you’ve been concerned, here is a handy chart that identifies the good, bad, and OK plastics and where they are found. Find out here:

which-plastics-are-safe

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 1930s 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.

Adapted from Green Remodeling, by David Johnston and Kim Master (New Society Publishers, 2004). Copyright (c) 2004 by David Johnston and Kim Master. Reprinted by permission of New Society Publishers.

208 comments

William C
William C3 days ago

Thanks.

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W. C
W. C4 days ago

Thank you for the information.

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Janet B
Janet B25 days ago

Thanks

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Irene S
Irene S25 days ago

I´d say, there is no good kind of plastic. It´s only the currant status of research some are stated safe. All of them will make micro plastics and pollute rivers and oceans. I bet, fish and water birds do not care if their belly is full with PET, PE, PU, PP, PVC or whatever, when they starve to death.

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Sue H
Sue Habout a month ago

Still helpful information, thanks.

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Missie B
Missie B.2 months ago

Thanks for the info . Where will it show on the bottle the type of plastic and ingreadients in plastic ?

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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