Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The good, the bad and the cancer causing causing crap.


Now that you know what each of the numbers represents, here are the kinds you should look for at the store:

Safer Plastics

#2HDPE, #4LDPE and #5PP

These three types of plastic are the healthiest. They transmit no known chemicals into your food and they're generally recyclable; #2 is very commonly accepted by municipal recycling programs, but you may have a more difficult time finding someone to recycle your #4 and #5 containers. Milk, water, and juice bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, and grocery, trash, and retail bags. Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. # 4 LDPE Some bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles. 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 PP Some ketchup bottles and yogurt and margarine tubs. 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.



#1 PET

#1 bottles and containers are fine for single use [what is fine about single use???] and are widely accepted by municipal recyclers. You won't find many reusable containers made from #1, but they do exist. It's also best to avoid reusing #1 plastic bottles; water and soda bottles in particular are hard to clean, and because plastic is porous, these bottles absorb flavors and bacteria that you can't get rid of. Also used to make soft drink, water, sports drink, ketchup, and salad dressing bottles, and peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars. Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.


PLA

PLA (polylactide) plastics are made from renewable resources such as corn, potatoes and sugar cane and anything else with a high starch content. The starch is converted into polylactide acid (PLA). Although you can't recycle these plant-based plastics, you can compost them in a municipal composter or in your backyard compost heap. Most decompose in about twelve days unlike conventional plastic, which can take up to 1000 years.

Plastics to Avoid

#3 PVC

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is often used frequently in cling wraps for meat. However, PVC contains softeners called phthalates that interfere with hormonal development, and its manufacture and incineration release dioxin, a potent carcinogen and hormone disruptor. Vinyl chloride, the primary building block of PVC, is a known human carcinogen that also poses a threat to workers during manufacture.Most cling-wrapped meats, cheeses, and other foods sold in delicatessens and groceries are wrapped in PVC. 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.


#6 PS

This is baaaad stuff. Extruded polystyrene (#6 PS; commonly known as Styrofoam) is used in take-out containers and cups, and non-extruded PS is used in clear disposable takeout containers, disposable plastic cutlery and cups. Both forms of PS can leach styrene into food; styrene is considered a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It may also disrupt hormones or affect reproduction. Foam insulation and also for hard applications (e.g. cups, some toys) 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 PC

#7 Polycarbonate (PC) is found in baby bottles, 5-gallon water bottles, water-cooler bottles and the epoxy linings of tin food cans. PC is composed of a hormone-disrupting chemical called bisphenol A, which has been linked to a wide variety of problems such as cancer and obesity.Baby bottles, microwave ovenware, eating utensils, plastic coating for metal cans. 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.

But don't worry, the government will keep you safe.. right?

2 comments:

bugink said...

come to the Ward 4 Trash Bash tomorrow night...6PM corner of Suffolk and Pine. I'll be the Mom with the two little girls. We pick up LOTS of plastic and recycle what we can.

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