What do you know about buying bottled water? You’ve probably heard that you should check the bottom of the bottle for any flaws. Alas, that’s not enough to protect your health.
All plastic bottle labels contain information about the type of plastic they’re made of. And this information is crucial. After all, all plastics leach chemicals into the contents of the bottle, and some of them are hazardous.
Any plastic bottle contains one of these symbols.
And here’s what they mean:
1. PET or PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate).
PET bottles are disposable. They can leach heavy metals or hormone-disrupting chemicals.
PET is the most widely used type of plastic. What’s important to remember is that it’s supposed to ne NON-REUSABLE. If you pour new water into a PET bottle, be warned that you’re potentially putting leached chemicals into your body, not to mention lots of bacteria that just love PET.
2. HDP or HDPE (High Density Polyethylene).
This is a very good type of plastic that leaches almost no chemicals. Experts recommend buying water in HDPE bottles. Not only is it safe, it’s also environmentally friendly: almost all HDPE is recycled.
It’s a hard plastic that is most commonly used for storing milk, toys, detergents, and for manufacturing certain types of bags.
3. PVC or V (Polyvinyl Chloride or Vinyl).
Vinyl products leach at least two hazardous chemicals, both of them hormone disruptors.
It’s a soft, flexible plastic that is normally used in oil and toy containers. Another common use for PVC are blister packs for all kinds of products. Vinyl is also used in computer cables, piping, and bathroom fittings.
PVC is relatively impervious to direct sunlight and weather, which is why it’s used to make window frames and garden hoses. Nevertheless, most experts suggest avoiding it if there’s a better alternative available.
4. LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene).
This plastic is used to make bottles and bags. It does not leach chemicals into the water stored within.
However, water storage is the only thing it’s safe for. LDPE grocery bags are best avoided, unless you want some heart-disrupting chemicals with your food.
5. PP (Polypropylene).
This plastic is usually white or opaque. It’s used for syrup and yogurt containers.
PP is valued for being heat-resistant: it doesn’t melt when heated. It is reasonable safe.
6. PS (Polystyrene).
This is used to make coffee cups and fast-food containers. However, it leaches hazardous chemicals when heated.
PP is a cheap, lightweight, and pretty sturdy plastic, but it is totally not suitable for storing hot foods and drinks.
7. PC (Polycarbonate) and Miscellaneous.
This is the most dangerous plastic. It is often used to make water bottles and food containers.
Storing food or water in PC containers is a very bad idea, since it leaches bisphenol-A (BPA), a known hormone disruptor. BPA is toxic and disrupts the production of estrogen, the female sex hormone.
The best thing to do is to avoid plastic bottles altogether. Opt for glass containers, which are both safe and environmentally friendly!