Sunday, July 29, 2012

Plastic Bottle Safety: How to Know Which is Safe for Sensitive Skin

Safe Plastic Bottles
Glass is rarely used for most personal care or cosmetic products.  On the other hand, plastic is everywhere in products we use daily, including food, cleaning products, even care of newborn babies.  Most plastic containers are identified by a symbol and number on the bottom. 

If you have sensitive skin, it's very important to know what ingredients are in your skin care, personal care and makeup products.   Some plastics can leach chemicals into the product they contain.  Make it also a habit to check the tubes and bottles you buy that contain your food and sensitive skin care and personal care products.  As a general rule, never reuse a plastic bottle as a food or drink container, it it didn't contain food or drink originally.

Safe Types of Plastics
plastic bottle safety

#1 PETE - Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is commonly used for most bottled water, soda, cooking oils, juice, and other foods.  This type of plastic is the safest as long as it's not exposed to heat, such as left in the sun, or reused.  When reused, exposed to heat or left in the sun, this type of plastic can leach the chemical phthalate.  Phthalates have been linked to be hazardous to health.  As long as not exposed to heat, they are safe, and easily recycled for a variety of products.
Recycling of PETE: Picked up through most curbside recycling programs.
Recycled into: Fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps

#2 HDPE - High-density polyethylene is used for milk, larger water bottles, detergent bottles, oil, personal care product bottles, and toys plastic bags.  This plastic type is considered as generally safe.  It is recycled for a variety of products.
Recycling of HDPE: Picked up through most curbside recycling programs, although some allow only those containers with necks.
- Recycled uses: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing

#4 LDPE - Low-density polyethylene is used for squeezable tubes and other uses. Not known to leach any harmful chemicals. Not as widely recycled as #1 and #2.
- Recycling of LDPE: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.
- Recycled Uses: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile

#5 PP - Polypropylene is used for deli soup containers, yogurt containers, drinking straws, baby diapers, Rubbermaid containers, some plastic baby bottles, hot liquids, ketchup bottles and other cloudy plastic bottles.  Stabilizers in polypropylene may leach from the plastic.  This is sometimes recycled.

Unsafe Types of Plastics

#3 V or PVC - Vinyl/polyvinyl chloride is used for vegetable oil bottles, Appalachian Mountain spring water, and some plastic squeeze bottles.  May leach hormone-disrupting chemicals di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP).  It is not recyclable.

#6 PS - Polystyrene is used for most opaque plastic cutlery, plastic plates, cups, styrofoam and meat packaging.  May leach styrene, which may cause cancer.  Not recyclable.

#7 OTHER - Polycarbonate contains bisphenol-A (BPA) and is used mostly for plastic baby bottles, five gallon water jugs, teething rings, pacifiers, re-usable sports bottles, clear "sippy" cups, some clear plastic cutlery, and inner lining of food cans.  BPA has been linked to human breast cancer cell growth, since it mimics estrogen. Not recyclable.

Aluminum Tubes for Toothpaste

Tubes that are lined with aluminum are often used for toothpaste, specially those with fluoride.  This type of tube, called laminate, may leach aluminum into the paste, if the tube cracks or splits.  For years Tom's of Maine has used 100% aluminum tubes and maintained that it was safe.  However, since 2011, they are moving away from these to plastic tubes.

Cleure Tubes and Bottles
Most brands use tube manufacturers in China, where guidelines and standards are not as strict as in the USA.   Cleure tubes and bottles are made in the USA and are free of BPA.  All Cleure tubes, jars and bottles are either #1, 2, or 4, and are recyclable and safe for their intended use.
 

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