Friday, April 23, 2010

The 411 on Plastic

Toxic plastic has been making big headlines over the last few months. Do you know which plastics are safe to use or which are recyclable? Well here's a breakdown of which are safe, meaning there's no leaching of chemicals, and which are toxic.

Safe to use and can be recycled:
#1 - PET or PETE: polyethylene terephthalate

#2 - HDPE: high-density polyethylene

#4 - LDPE: low-density polyethylene

#5 - PP: polypropylene
Unsafe to use and can't be recycled:
#3 - PVC: Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride. Soft PVC can leach toxic phthalates, and can also off-gas chemicals into the air (AKA new shower curtain smell). Look for a 3 on some cling wraps, children's toys, fashion accessories, shower curtains, and detergent and spray bottles.

#6 - PS: polystyrene is used in things like foam takeout containers, foam egg carton, and some plastic utensils. It has been found to leach styrene--a neurotoxin and possible human carcinogen.

#7 - includes polycarbonate (PC), which can leach bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a hormone disruptor that mimics estrogen in the body. Too much estrogen in the body can cause tumor growth to occur.

Thanks to Planet Green for this information!

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