How To Uncode the Hidden Dangers Of Plastic Bottles

The portability of recycled plastic bottles has made toting water convenient, but just how healthy is reusing them?

Bottles labeled No. 1: Most soft drinks, including Poland Spring, Dasani and even Snapple bottles carry this number to reflect that they are bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for consumer use. The narrow-necked bottles are not made for repeated use. The design of the bottle means they're difficult to clean. And, that means bacteria, from your hands and mouth, can grow in the bottle over time, says Royte.

MainStreet's Take: Always wash out with soap and water before reusing.

No. 2: At the grocery store, when you come across one gallon plastic containers and 2.5 gallon jugs of water, you'll see this number on the plastic.

MainStreet's Take: Wash with soap and water, do not reuse too many times.

No. 3: Polyvinyl Chloride (or PVC) and are environmentally hazardous and not recyclable. Not many bottles carry this label.

MainStreet's Take: NOT safe to use in the first place.

No. 4: Bottles with the number are considered safe, and are made using low density polyethylene. In addition to being used for some water bottles, it's a common oil-based plastic that's used for containers that are squeezable.

MainStreet's Take: OK to reuse when properly cleaned.

No. 5: When you pop plastic in the microwave, it's usually has this number because it's made with polypropylene.

MainStreet's Take: OK to reuse when properly cleaned.

No. 6: This is usually used for egg cartons, and styrofoam cups.

MainStreet's Take: Not a great container, if you are environmentally friendly.

No. 7: Polycarbonate bottles with this number can have many "other" materials. In other words, the bottle may have been used with phthalates, or bisphenol A, or not. It's a catchall. And, since bisphenol A is restricted in Canada, and has been linked to disruption in lab animals, it may be a number you want to avoid if you don't know the content. You'll see this number commonly at the water cooler. And, even Nalgene bottles carry this identification, while being bisphenol free.

MainStreet's Take: May not be safe to reuse.

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[via aol]

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