"#1" or "PET" - P.E.T."PET", sometimes distinguished by a #1 stamp, stands for polyethylene terephthalate. It releases a chemical named antimony trioxide (Sb2O3). This chemical toxin has been cited many times as a serious health concern, yet these concerns have been discarded by governments, who have claimed that not enough of this chemical is present to cause problems.
It is well known that antimony trioxide leaches into drinks bottled with P.E.T. plastics, and the longer the shelf life, the more toxic the drinks become. According to studies in Canada, typical ground water contains about two parts per trillion (ppt) of antimony, but freshly bottled water has averages at around 160 ppt, raising to 630 ppt within 6 months. Throughout Europe, the average for bottled water contains 350ppt, yet in Germany, PET water that had been bottled for 6 months contains a huge 700 ppt. Antimony is very similar to arsenic. In small amounts, antimony poisoning causes headaches, dizziness, and depression. Larger doses produce violent and frequent vomiting, and may lead to death within a few days. Another compound leached by P.E.T. plastics is antimony pentafluoride (SbF5), which reacts with many different compounds. These plastics are produced using hydrogen fluoride, and the chemicals are so toxic during the manufacturing stage that even a small amount in contact with skin can be fatal.
This type of plastic is made using benzene.
"#2" - H.D.P.E.H.D.P.E. is identified by a #2 stamp. "HDPE" stands for 'high density poly-ethylene', which is a thermoplastic made from petroleum. Can you possibly feel safe drinking from bottles that have petroleum seeping into the drinks they contain? Petroleum is the cause of various brain diseases and many cancers.
In America, the industry friendly F.D.A. usually embraces the intake of synthetic chemicals unless they are publicly proven beyond doubt to be dangerous. Only a minimal amount of testing ever takes place, until a large number of problems are uncovered in workshops and factories. Petroleum toxicity is known to cause learning difficulties in children, trigger asthma, cause obesity, as well as infertility.
"PVC", #3 - P.V.C.P.V.C., identified with "PVC" or #3, is one of the most hazardous products ever designed for consumers. Poisonous chemicals are released throughout the life cycle of P.V.C., including mercury, dioxins, and phthalates. When people burn P.V.C. products, they release dioxins, the most potent synthetic chemicals ever discovered, which can cause health problems including cancers, respiratory, and reproductive problems. They cripple the immune system for years. The noticeable smell from a new car or shower curtain is the result of toxic P.V.C. fumes.
In July 2005, the European Parliament banned the use of P.V.C. toys, although they are still legal in America. This same material is used in drinking bottles, and therefore, toxins are inside most bottled drinks. Factory workers who work with these materials face long-term health risks, including angiosarcoma of the liver, lung cancer, brain cancer, lymphomas, leukemia, and liver cirrhosis. Firefighters also often face similar risks after extinguishing P.V.C. fires, which release hydrogen chloride gas, which forms deadly hydrochloric acid when inhaled, according to besafenet.com.
Not recyclable due to its toxic properties, P.V.C. is deadly and dangerous. It is known to leach its poisonous chemicals into drink containers.
"#4" - L.D.P.E.L.D.P.E. is the acronym for Low Density Polyethylene. It is virtually identical to H.D.P.E. (reference "#2" above).
"#5" - PolystyreneThis is one of the safer plastics, but since it is manufactured with benzene and petroleum, we recommend avoiding it. Styrene is itself a carcinogen.
"#7" - OtherThe "other" literally means unspecified and uncategorized. This plastic could be made from anything, so always avoid these plastics.
B.P.A. (unlabeled)Consumer awareness groups have been on the news in recent years decrying the bi-phenol-A (B.P.A.) found in plastics; especially in regard to plastics used for the drinks of children and infants. B.P.A. is a chemical which is known to leach out of plastics, disrupting the hormones, as well as causing brain damage, cancer, diabetes and heart problems. The great majority of plastic bottles contain B.P.A., which some manufacturers claim does not leach into the drinks. However, a Harvard University study has shown that drinking from B.P.A. infused bottles increases B.P.A. urine levels by a massive 70%. Imagine the level if an infant were given formula from one of these containers 6-7 times a day, every day, as is normal. This toxin is found in all clear, hard plastic bottles. Cloudy plastics do not contain B.P.A.. Thus, almost all plastic drink containers contain B.P.A., but milk jugs do not.
The F.D.A. has maintained that B.P.A. is safe after having consulted with B.P.A.-industry lobbyists to determine its safety.
EpilogueMake sure to know what you, and your family, are taking into your bodies. The information gathered on recycling symbols, and numbers was gathered from http://www.earthodyssey.com/symbols.html. We recommend against the use of plastics for the storage of food and drinks, because one extra chemical might be all that is required to push a body into a cancerous state, or some other horrible condition, in the future. It's time for us to stop playing Russian Roulette with our health.
B.P.A. Is In Metal Food Containers Too, Because It Was Intentionally Put There -- To Make Them "Safe"