Are your plastic bottles safe to use?

Are your plastic bottle save to use?

Many people particular Asian countries like Malaysia uses plastic bottles as water container for drinking. Well, that’s including me when I was a student. I used bottles like mineral water bottle or soft drink bottles, because it is cheap and convenient. But did you know that those bottles could harm your health?

If you take a look under the plastic bottles, there will have a small triangle sign with numbers and characters shown in the picture below. That is SPI resin identification coding system which was developed by the NA Society of the Plastics Industry in 1988. Those numbers are to separate the different kinds of plastics when process for recycling.

But did you know that those codes can be used to identify a plastic that whether is save to use as water container or vice versa?

Resin identification code

Avoid plastic #1, #3, #6 & #7

According to wikipedia, Plastics #3, #6, and #7 have been associated with negative health effects. But according to a newspapers cutting shown below that I got from my mother, it says that plastics #1, which is normally used for mineral water bottles and soft drink bottles, could be dangerous to use too.

Plastic bottles with code #1 was built by polymer Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). According to the research at Italy in 2003, researchers found that, water inside the PET bottles will release a chemical called Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) slowly after the bottle is being used for 9 month. DEHP could cause cancer and might have negative effect on male’s testicle. When a male’s body was high in DEHP level, the number of sperm inside will decreased and the it will damage the sperm’s DNA too.

Plus, PET bottles was designed for single usage only. This means that you have to junk it after you first open and finish the content of the bottle. And PET bottles which mainly used for containing mineral water and carbonated water, are not easy to clean up and it can be infected by bacteria easily.

While the negative effects of bottle #3, #6, and #7, you can refer to the Wikipedia link above.

Newspaper cutting source
Click for bigger view.

Which is the safest to use?

Well, refering to the newspapers, plastic bottle with code #5 is the safest to use, which I’m using right now. It can sustained heat up to 135 degree Celcius, so don’t worry to use it to contain hot waters, while PET bottles can’t go further than 70C.

Another plastic bottle that is also safe to use is #2, which you can see it on baby’s milk bottles and plastic bags. It can stand the water heat up to 120C.

Other useful tips for a safer bottle usage

  • You can use a little baking soda with warm water to wash a plastic bottle that is newly bought or never been used before. Then let it dry in room temperature.
  • If the bottle was falled off to ground and slightly damaged, stop using that bottle immediately.
  • Avoiding of using dish washer or dryer to clean the plastic bottle.
  • Avoiding the plastic bottle from direct expose to the sun.
  • Wash your plastic bottle regularly, because saliva that goes into bottle or trap around the openings could grow the bacteria if enough warm.

Essential Reading
Health and Plastic Water Bottles
Are plastic bottles dangerous? –
Is re-use of plastic bottles bad for your health? –
Facts filter out fiction about bottled water –
Choose your plastic water bottles carefully –

Although this is not an article related to design or Japan, but it’s related to the most critical aspect to ourself which is HEALTH, and many people are not aware about this. Hopefully with this article, you can be smarter when purchasing plastic bottle, and have better habit on using the bottles.

Important notes: All the words above are based on research and reliable sources.

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