Do Plastic Bottles Pose A Health Risk?

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Do Plastic Bottles Pose A Health Risk?

Hello All!!

Wherever you go, you can spot one thing and that is plastic. There has been reduction in plastic carry bags as nowadays we carry our own bags to the supermarket and the grocery store. But have you ever thought about the plastic bottles used by you? Are they safe? One thing is clear that they are quite handy and help us in keeping ourselves hydrated on the go 😛

Many people reuse PET bottles. Tell me one person who has not done that! There were rumours that reuse of PET bottles is dangerous for human health. I call them rumours because there was no scientific demonstration to support them.

Do Plastic Bottles Pose A Health Risk

Is plastic not safe?

Plastic bottles have a coding system and you can find it in the recycling logo. It tells you from which plastic it is made. The mineral water bottles that you purchase are made out of PET which is a light weight plastic or code 1.

The Professor of Toxicology from the University of Queensland says that PET does not cause problems but PET bottles are meant to be used only once.

Then come the refillable plastic bottles that are made up of stronger plastic which is indicated by code 7. With passing time they slowly break down and release the chemical BPA (Bisphenol A) into the water stored in it. If you happen to repeatedly reheat the bottle (use a dishwasher), more of BPA will be released.

It has been known for decades that BPA mimics estrogen, the female hormone. The chemical has been shown to cause cancer, reproductive disorders and diabetes in animal studies. Effects on humans are not proven.

Plastic codes -Do Plastic Bottles Pose A Health Risk

What you should be careful about?

However, BPA is used commonly in baby bottles and it is shown that it leaches when repeatedly washed or heated. In the US and elsewhere, baby bottles having BPA have been withdrawn. People feeding babies say that they would not like to take a chance and that is a valid point too! Scientists suggest that you should be avoiding bottles with the code 7 and go ahead with 2, 4 and 5. Plastic bottles with the code 2, 4 and 5 are the best ones for reuse. The numbers 2, 4 and 5 say that the plastic is either polypropylene or polyethylene. There is nothing dangerous about them and one need not worry.

Other plastic codes are 3 and 6. The code ‘3’ indicates that the plastic is polyvinyl and that is not used for food. The other code ‘6’ means it is polystyrene which is mainly used for disposable cups and egg cartons.

7 coded bottles are the ones in which unhealthy leaching accelerates due to the heat. Scientific studies confirm that sunlight has no harmful effect as it affects only the exterior of the bottle and not the interior part or the contents in it. When the bottle develops cracks it is a sign that it is beyond its re-use date.

Dos and don’ts of plastic

  • Don’t heat the plastic bottles by placing them in the microwave or filling them with hot water/milk.
  • Wherever possible, use glass bottles. Even using steel and aluminium bottles are good options.
  • Don’t use bottles with the code 7, especially for kids.
  • Try using clear plastic instead of coloured ones as they leach into the water.
  • When bottles start showing signs of cracking discard them.

Use plastic with caution! Do read the codes!

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