Health: Plastic Oh-No

A chemical found in everything from nail polish to shower curtains may be linked to health problems

By Emily Gertz

Plastic bottles marked with recycling symbol #1 are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). Containers made from PET are often used for products like water, ketchup, milk, and vegetable oil. Despite the “phthalate” in its name, PET is chemically different from PVC and is not associated with phthalate leaching. Some experts still say it’s best to avoid reusing disposable PET containers, and to avoid heating foods in plastics. It’s also worth noting that some plastic food containers may contain a substance called bisphenol-A (BPA), which, like phthalates, has been implicated as an endocrine disruptor. If you want to limit BPA exposure, one easy way is to minimize or avoid using polycarbonate plastic bottles (marked with #7).

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Issue 25

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