Bisphenol-A and Polycarbonate Plastic
Plastic is hard to avoid, but when it comes to food and drink containers, recent evidence suggests that it’s time to read the fine print. Nalgene bottles, and most plastic baby bottles are made with polycarbonate, a hard and strong plastic that has the potential to leach bisphenol A. Bisphenol A (BPA), which is used to make many hard plastic toys, bottles and food containers, is thought to mimic the hormone estrogen. Recent independent studies link the chemical to breast cancer, obesity, infertility and insulin-resistance in rodents. Health Canada is expected to classify bisphenol A as a dangerous substance later this month. Although the jury is still out on exposure levels and direct effects on humans, it is best to play it safe, especially when it comes to infants and children.
Plastics to Choose: #2, #4 and #5
Ever wonder about the coding system on the bottom of plastic bottles and what they really meant? Well, now’s the time to learn. Most bottles are labeled for recycling purposes, but these codes are helpful in telling us what kinds of plastic was used to manufacture the bottles. Luckily, preventing exposure to polycarbonate plastic bottles is easy if you choose glass, stainless steel, or safer plastic (#2, #4 or #5) bottles.
So what types of plastics are the lesser of evils? #2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene), #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene) and #5 PP (polypropylene) are typically opaque in color and are not known to contain carcinogens or hormone-disrupting chemicals. The number to stay away from? #7 Polycarbonate.