START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Which Plastics to Never Use with Food

  • 1 of 5
Which Plastics to Never Use with Food

Although the apron-wearing, martini-bearing, housewife-in-heels with her rainbow of Tupperware may be a thing of the past, the quest for a well-organized kitchen persists. To see tidy stacks of food-filled plastic containers in the fridge and freezer is comforting in a primal kind of way. But then comes the procession of warnings about storing and cooking food in plastic, and leaching chemicals, and hormone disruption, and ACK! So here it is: The lowdown on plastic food containers.

Flip over your favorite plastic food storage container and check the recycling code number. If you spy a number 3 or 7, well, those containers should probably go to the craft room or garage to store buttons or screws rather than food. If there is no number listed, contact the manufacturer. (And to be fair to Tupperware, they do manufacture products that are not made of these plastic types.)

Number 3 is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), also known as vinyl. PVC has garnered the moniker “the toxic plastic” for the presence of DEHA–one of several plasticizers (softeners) used in its production. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, long-term DEHA exposure has the potential to cause: Reduced body weight and bone mass; damage to liver and testes; and cancer. The manufacture and incineration of PVC also releases carcinogenic dioxins into the environment and food chain. Although PVC is not the most common plastic used for food storage containers, some are made from it and it is often used in plastic wrap to improve performance.

Recycling code number 7 includes several plastic types (it’s the catchall “other” category–see tips below) but it is predominantly polycarbonate. The problem with polycarbonate is that it harbors bisphenol A (BPA). Studies have shown that BPA damages the reproductive systems of lab animals by interfering with the effects of reproductive hormones and has other serious health effects. BPA’s capacity to cause these stems from its ability to mimic the human hormone estrogen–it has been linked to prostate and mammary gland cancers, early onset of puberty and reproductive-organ defects.

Next: 12 tips for safer plastic use

  • 1 of 5

Read more: Children, Diet & Nutrition, General Health, Green Kitchen Tips, Health, Health & Safety, , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

233 comments

+ add your own
4:43AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

You don't need plastics for ants!

11:38AM PDT on May 24, 2014

Don't use any of them at all around food. They bind with whatever they're touched by. Why do you think that trash bags made out of "recycled" plastic stink to high heaven? Save your glass jars and re-use them. Easily and completely sterilized, and much safer.

6:38AM PDT on May 3, 2014

Very useful thank you.I use glass whenever possible.

8:15AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Thanks for this information

8:01AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

I used Tupperware for years in fact still have some floating around. But darn it if you don't use it for someone to take food home with them and it's gone forever never to be seen again. Tupperware is not cheap and I haven't heard of Tupperware in a long time.

7:42AM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

I miss glass bottles ...

7:28AM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

Thanks for the good info a lot of my kid plastics are #5 and glass isn't always practical for little kids.

7:44AM PST on Feb 20, 2014

Good to know,Thanks for sharing

3:54AM PST on Feb 20, 2014

Little wisdom for life

8:20PM PST on Feb 14, 2014

Thanks.

add your comment



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

people are talking

Thanks for sharing!

Same thing is true for human babies, but that is no reason not to have them. Just be vigilant and t…

Ci stupiamo sempre delle facoltà incredibili dei nostri amici, dobbiamo sempre ricordare che …

(Con't.) A reputable breeder will (*generally*) not release a puppy younger than 8 weeks. The pu…

I will take a page from the nutritionists' handbook: If you can't pronounce it, don't swallow it.

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.