Wednesday, February 24, 2021
There’s a lot of fear surrounding plastic. Many people just assume that if something is made of plastic, it must be toxic. Mostly, what people want to know is whether a certain plastic contains something that’s toxic. How to tell if a plastic bottle is BPA free is a very common concern.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is BPA, and why do people care about it? Short for bisphenol A, BPA is a chemical compound that’s often added to plastic and resins. Research shows that this chemical can have lasting health ramifications, especially on children. BPA is commonly used in plastics used for food storage, so it’s no wonder people question it. A relatively high dosage is needed to cause harm, but many people like to keep tabs on it and avoid it when they can. Luckily, some packaging manufacturers are picking up the slack by offering BPA-free packaging alternatives.
As with most products, labeling is required of plastic, too. You’ve likely seen the little recycling triangle on toys and packages made from plastic. But have you ever wondered about the numbers inside the triangle? This number is exactly how to tell if a plastic bottle is BPA free. Safe packaging will be marked with the numbers one through five, depending on the makeup of the plastic. Those numbers refer to PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, and PS plastics, respectively. Any plastics with these labels are a safe bet.
If you’re still on the fence about plastic safety, you can take some very simple steps to reduce risks. The first option is to cut back on food that’s packaged in plastic. When food spends such a long time in plastic, any BPA present has a higher chance of spreading. Eat fresh when you can, and use packaged food as supplements to your diet.
Next, simply avoid heating food in plastic. Plastics cups and plates for kids are great for holding food—just don’t use them for heating food. On that note, avoid microwaving leftovers in plastic containing BPA. This is also a great way to protect yourself and keep your plastic from degrading.
Most food containers are safe, and that’s why food is often stored in them. Plastic bottle packaging, for instance, doesn’t leach BPA into beverages like people have been led to believe. These containers—and most plastic containers, for that matter—are made to be inert when the molecules of the food interact with the containers. Taking precautions doesn’t hurt, but being informed on what to look out for and why will save you a lot of stress.