We all know that plastic water bottles are all around us; in the water, on air, and on land. It is very easy to grab when you need water to quench your thirst at the office; in the gym; and even at the beach. Although plastic water bottles are undoubtedly useful, these are outright dangerous, too, because plastics are made of substances and harmful chemicals that are not recyclable and can cause damage to the environment. Hence, it is very important that you always steer clear of plastics when doing groceries or when making choices for your kids’ lunches. You would never want to swallow chemicals, do you?
Despite the warnings and the horrific health issues that come along the use of plastics, a lot of people are still into plastic water bottles of three major reasons: convenience, portability, and cheaper price. As mentioned above, it is very easy to tag along a plastic water bottle or a plastic soda bottle when going to the beach or at lunch in school or in office compared to water bottled in glass. Plastic water bottles are also very accessible. You can see them anywhere; in public spots like bus parking lots or in vending machines. In groceries, bottled drinks in plastics keep their line straight in one aisle as they come in a plethora of sizes, brands, and tastes. Disposal of these items are also pretty easy. You just have to toss it anywhere you see a trash bin; no worries. Finally, water bottles are no doubt cheaper than bottled drinks in glasses. With all these, who would never fall into the hands of plastic water bottles anyway?
It might be safe to conclude that plastic water bottles are somehow indispensable, but it does not mean that we have to totally eliminate the use of plastic bottles in our lives. Did you know that plastics come in different types, and there are certain types of plastics that are very dangerous to human health while there are also those that do not harm at all? Read on to see which plastic to ditch and which plastic to patronize while staying green.
Plastics to Avoid
The PVC or #3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) comes first in the list because it contains higher doses of toxic chemicals that can harm body living and non living things. In fact, environment sectors and health departments see it as the worst plastic ever created. It contains di-2-ehtylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), Dioxin, and Ethylene Dichloride that are known for their contributions in aplenty of severe health problems ranging from hormone and endocrine disruptions, cancers, birth defects, poor child development, and damages to reproductive and immune systems. It goes into the human body easily since these are the ones used to make cooking oil bottles, teething rings, toys, medical paraphernalia, transparent food packaging, and in most construction materials. Clearly, most of these items are present in almost every home all around the world. On the one hand, it goes to bodies of water when people throw plastic wastes to the sea or leave it at the beach.
Next in the list is #6 Polystyrene (PS) – a rigid and very inexpensive type of plastic that uses styrene to produce it. Styrene has long been known for its effects on the body called nuerotoxic, which is characterized by fatigue, nervousness, delay of responses, difficulty in sleeping, and a lot more. Furthermore, it has carcinogenic effects and can cause the lowering of red blood cells and the weakening of the immune system. This type of plastic is used to make foams and polysterene cups or foam cups. Drinking thru these can pass on the styrene substance to the human body and can even leach into one’s unborn baby.
The third type of plastic to stay away from is #7 Polycarbonate. It contains the hormone disruptor bisphenol-A or the renowned BPA that health organizations have been warning all of us lately. Bisphenol-A is manufactured to work as a lining in cans for food and water storage and to create medical equipment and devices, water jugs, sports bottles, safety equipments, and discs. But the worse fact is that this is the same plastic used to create baby drinking and feeding bottles. BPA is known for its effects on the endocrine system. It mimics that work of the endocrine while disrupting normal body processes, delaying or blocking responses, and eventually causing further damages to the other parts of the human body.
Plastics to Consider
The #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) is not only known to be the most common and easily recycled plastic for bottled waters and soft drinks, jelly jars, ketchup bottles, peanut butter and pickle bottles, and sports drinks. It is also the safest in all types of plastics out there. Studies show that it does not leach any chemicals to the drinks and food being stored in it. However, studies show that it can potentially release toxic chemicals when used for a long time. It is strongly suggested that you don’t use these plastics as food and drinks storage containers for a long time.
Another kind is the #2 High Density Polyethylene, which is used to store milk, water, yogurt, cereals, and trash since it does not leak any suspecting chemicals that may cause cancer and other health issues to both animals and humans. Finally, there is #4 or Low Density Polyethylene and #5 or Polypropylene. These are used to make frozen food bags and ketchup bottles and margarine tubs respectively. Both are very safe and are not known to produce any harm chemicals when used.