In the U.S., of all the things that are consumed in small plastic containers, bottled water sustained the largest growth over the years. It is believed to deliver safer, cleaner, and healthier water, plus it is very convenient. A lot of advertising campaigns have been done promoting bottled water, employing the participation of huge celebrities in the process. Most consumers are convinced, so they keep coming back and buying more. In fact, production of bottled water increased from 3.3 billion in 1997 to 15 billion in 2002. This just shows that majority of the consumer population find food and drinks that come in plastic containers very convenient and pretty much safe too.
What many people do not know is that there are certain bottles that can leach chemicals into their food and drink, and this in turn can cause serious illnesses among consumers. To make sure you are using a safe plastic container, recycling symbol on the container must be checked.
Know Your Number
Those which have the following number tags with them are usually safe: #2 (with HDPE or high density polyethylene), #4 (with LDPE of low density polyethylene), and #5 (with PP or polypropylene). If it has the #1 seal (which is the most commonly used plastic container), it means that it can only be used once and must be thrown or recycled after. Those with #7symbol should be avoided. This kind of plastic container uses BPA or bisphenol-A, which is a synthetic estrogen. This chemical has the possibility of leaching into food and drinks because it ages well when exposed to heat. BPA can disrupt the hormones and can cause heart diseases, certain cancers, and diabetes to name a few.
Ban the Big B?
Today, more and more states, like North Carolina, Connecticut and Massachusetts are already taking into consideration banning the use of BPA or bisphenol-A in manufacturing small plastic containers that are used for storing food and drinks. This chemical is considered harmful to humans and can cause a lot of serious illnesses. North Carolina has already passed a law banning plastic containers from being thrown in their landfills to encourage recycling among the people, while the other two states have already passed legislation prohibiting BPA use.
Plastic containers are all around us, and they may continue to be so for a long period of time. While they are convenient, the question remains how safe can we make them and at what level do we start changing? It is up to us to be responsible enough to look at the recycling # to ensure our safety and health. Continue to educate yourselves as well as the future generation about these things. Everyone always wants to do the right thing. This is your chance, choose your bottle – then recycle.