Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for May 29, 2006

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To assist recycling of disposable items, the Plastic Bottle Institute of the Society of the Plastics Industry devised a now-familiar scheme to mark plastic bottles by plastic type. A recyclable plastic container using this scheme is marked with a triangle of three “chasing arrows”, which enclose a number giving the plastic type.
 
The resin identification codes:

  1. PETE: Polyethylene Terephthalate – Commonly found on: 2-liter soft drink bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars.
  2. HDPE: High Density Polyethylene – Commonly found on: detergent bottles, milk jugs.
  3. PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride – Commonly found on: plastic pipes, outdoor furniture, shrink-wrap, water bottles, salad dressing and liquid detergent containers.
  4. LDPE: Low Density Polyethylene – Commonly found on: dry-cleaning bags, produce bags, trash can liners, food storage containers.
  5. PP: Polypropylene – Commonly found on: bottle caps, drinking straws
  6. PS: Polystyrene – Commonly found on: packaging pellets or Styrofoam peanuts, cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, take-away food clamshell containers.
  7. OTHER: Other – This plastic category, as its name of “other” implies, is any plastic other than the named #1–#6, Commonly found on: certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware.
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May 29, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 29, 2006

If using plastic containers in a microwave is a such a health risk, why do they make them?? The term “Microwave safe”only means it won’t melt in a microwave oven and has nothing to do with the safety of people’s health.

Chemicals in plastic

Several research studies have found that when plastic comes in contact with certain foods, molecules of the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the food or beverage. Certain characteristics of the food item can make it more likely pick up plastic molecules.

The more liquid a food is, the more it touches the plastic, so the more opportunity it has to pick up plastic molecules. Acid foods, such as tomato sauce, appear to be particularly interactive with plastic. If you heat a food item in a plastic container—even if the container is microwave safe—the transference of plastic from the container to the food is even more likely.When molecules of plastic—or more properly, molecules of the chemicals that get added to plastics during manufacturing—get into our bodies, it’s not a good thing. They can cause unwanted effects in the human body; for instance, some of the chemicals mimic estrogen. Estrogen, of course, is a normal, essential human hormone; but having too much of it (or the molecules that mimic estrogen) has been associated with breast cancer and other health problems. In general, chemicals that fool the body into thinking they are estrogen or other hormones are called endocrine disruptors.

So, what would a better food-storage solution look like? The primary characteristic you want in a container material is inertness—that is, you want a material that holds tightly to its own molecules and does not let them go floating off into the food or drink touching it. On this score, glass and porcelain arethe best choices. Companies do make some storage containers with glass or porcelainbottoms and plastic tops. Some of them are oven-safe and large enough to cook in; in those cases, you can simply store the leftovers in the same thing you cooked in. Although these “combo containers” are designed to be air- and liquid-tight, they often don’t seal quite as tightly as the best all-plastic wares. But given the health advantages of food-on-glass storage vs. food-on-plastic storage, the tradeoff seems more than acceptable. The glass and porcelain containers are usually microwave-safe, too, though it’s usually best to microwave the dish covered with a plate or paper towel rather than the plastic lid.

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

   

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