March 12, 2009

Beware of Plastic Containers!

For those of you who have not heard about the "plastic container" fears circulating the country, here is a brief overview to get you up-t0-speed.
Reusable plastic containers are everything from plastic baby bottles, water bottles (both throw-away kinds like AquaFina & reusable ones like Nalgene), and storage containers.
Look on the bottoms of these containers. Most likely, they will have a triangle "recycling" symbol, with a number in the center. This number tells you how to recycle the plastic product, but also what kind of plastic the container is made of.
Polycarbonate is a fairly newer, heavy-duty plastic that has been around for awhile now. From what I understand, it is a man-made concoction of different materials, resulting in a sturdier plastic. However, research has been done on the effects of eating & drinking out of a polycarbonate container, with mixed results.
The issue: some polycarbonate containers & bottles contain bisphenol A (called "BPA"), which is a chemical found to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. The effects of BPA on the body has been the subject of numerous research studies, and the verdict is still out. Some studies say that BPA has no ill-effects on our bodies whatsoever, while others claim that BPA causes all sorts of cancers & has many negative effects on our bodies.
While results are mixed, however, the hype about BPA has caused baby bottle & Nalgene bottle makers to start making some BPA-free versions of their products, which have been met with a grateful market.
Check to see what number is inside the recycling symbol on the bottom of your plastic product. Number 3, #6, and #7 all contain BPA. Numbers 1,2, 4, & 5 are safer.
If you're concerned about the effects of BPA, I would advise you to do some research into this matter, and check your plastic containers.

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