Saturday, April 17, 2010

Plastic

Since the "BPA scare of '08" the general public has been more aware of the plastics they use. Think about it, do you really want to ingest plastic. Ick, plastic? Some plastics leach into the foods they come in contact with. Here is a basic list of the types of plastic. Flip over your plastic bottle and look at the recycling symbol on the bottom. That number is the type of plastic you're dealing with.

#1 PETE, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) Transparent. Soda, water bottles, cooking oil, medicine bottles. Generally safe to use, do NOT reuse. Usually recyclable.

#2 HDPE (high density polyethylene) Sturdy, harder plastic. Used in storage containers, milk, and detergent bottles, etc. Safe. Recyclable. 

#3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) used for plastic wrap, detergent, and cooking oil bottles.Increases the risk of birth defects and hormone-related cancers. Production is hazardous to workers and the environment. Not safe. Not recyclable.

#4 LDPE (low density polyethylene) Flexible plastic. Bags, wraps. Not for reuse. Somewhat safe. Not recyclable.

#5 PPE, PP (polypropylene) Pliable plastic. Squeeze bottles, reusable food containers, etc. Safe. Recyclable.

#6 PS (polystyrene) Used in rigid take-out containers and foam meat trays. Can leach styrene when heated, a possible endocrine disruptor and carcinogen. Not safe if heated. Not recyclable.

#7 Other (usually polycarbonate) This was used in baby bottles (most have been banned since BPA became known about publically) Five gallon water jugs, reusable water bottles. It can leach a hormone disruptor called bisphenol A (BPA). Worse when heated. Stay away from this plastic at all costs! Not safe. Not recyclable.

Tips to avoid plastic leaching in your food:
-Heat up food in glass or ceramic containers
-Store food in the refrigerator in glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or PVC-free plastic wrap
-Do not use plastic containers for anything that leaves a residue that will have to be scoured. Scratches in the containers cause more leaching.
-Don't cover hot food with plastic wrap, let it cool first.
-Wash plastics by hand as much as possible. The dishwasher heats up the plastic, making more likely to leach, and causes scratches, causing more leaching.
-Use wax paper, butcher paper, #5 reusable sandwich container, or #4 plastic bags for sandwiches.
-Use a water pitcher made of #2 or #5 plastic, glass, or stainless steel
-Use #4 freezer bags, or glass labeled "freezer safe". Always let food cool first!
-Do not store food in plastic containers labeled 3, 6, or 7 ever.
-For dry food storage, use #5 plastic containers, or glass, or stainless steel.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Amanda! It's Emese - so I am making an attempt @ going organic, maybe not completely @ first...but baby steps. It will be pricey but I think well worth it in the end. Anyway the reason I am writing you is a "plastic" question. I give my kids their dinner on plastic plates (sometimes) I don't microwave them, but I do put them through the dishwasher, and after all it's dinner so a hot meal goes on it. Is this safe. Oh it's #5 plastic I already checked.

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    Replies
    1. Not the safest idea but also not the worst. #2 would be better. Hand washing them would also be better. Sorry, I took so long to get back to you! I didn't have comment notifications on =) How's "going organic" going?

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