Around two million plastic bottles are bought every five minutes all over the world. One million plastic cups are used in airline flights in the United States every six hours. With these numbers, it is without question that plastic is the most consumed product in the world. However, new research shows that plastics are slowly killing people without them knowing.
For many years, there has been this belief that bottled water is better than tap water because of the vitamins it contains. However, it is actually just tap water that is put in a bottle, making it an environmentally unfriendly hydration source. Aside from this, plastic bottles are actually dangerous to humans. Before you use these products, it is pertinent that you take a look at the bottom of the packaging and look for a symbol.
Symbols and Their Meaning
At the bottom of the bottle, you will find a triangle with a number, which can be anywhere from one to seven. With the symbol you see, you can tell whether the plastic you hold is safe or not.
Known as PET or PETE, the bottle with this number means that it should only be used once. This is because reusing them can expose people to a chemical substance called EPA. The plastic could possibly emit antimony, which is a heavy metal that can interfere with the hormones in the body. It is also possible that the plastic is carcinogenic.
If you find a triangle with the number “2” in it, the bottle is known as HDPE or HDP, which is considered the good plastic. It is named so because it doesn’t have as much emission as the other types of chemicals used in the other bottles when in contact with water.
Also labeled as V or PVC, the number 3 in the bottle means that it has two toxic chemicals that can both influence the hormones in the body. Still, PVC is the most used type of plastic around.
LDPE plastics have the number 4, which means they don’t emit chemicals when used in water bottles. However, most of them are actually present in plastic bags.
PP or number 5 plastics are also good types of plastics. They are recognizable because of their white color. Sometimes, they are transparent. PP plastics are common in cups of yogurt and syrup bottles.
Although this emits STIREN, which is carcinogenic, this plastic is used in fast food packaging as well as in coffee cups.
Finally, plastics with no labels are in this category where they are known as PC. You should not trust plastics without labels because they often emit BPA, which is a very harmful chemical. Unfortunately, PC plastics are common in containers for food, sports drink bottles, and worse, infant bottles.
If your bottle has 2, 4, or 5, you shouldn’t really worry. However, if it is labeled, 1, 3, 6, or 7, you are exposing yourself to the dangerous chemicals that these plastics emit.