The invention of plastics is an astonishing one because these materials are abundant and can be shaped in any way we like. Although plastics are cheap and handy, they can have a great toll on our health and our environment as they emit dangerous fumes and are mostly non-biodegradable. If you take a look at a plastic product you will notice a recycle sign with a number in it. You need to notice this number and avoid using the plastic if it had one of the following numbers:
#1 PETE (polyethylene terephthalate): Like their number indicate #1 plastics are for one time use. They are used to package water, juice and other produce. You need to dispose a PETE upon one use as antimony, a toxic chemical, can leach out of the product when washed with detergents or exposed to high temperatures.
#3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride): The use of PVC raises many health concerns because they contain phthalates which are put to increase the PVC flexibility. Leaching of phthalates is harmful as it can mess with hormones and so have a bad influence on the reproductive system and may even cause liver cancer. PVC is used to make shower curtains and some children’s toys, so choose shower curtains made from other materials and make sure that your children don’t chew on toys made of PVC.
#6 PS (polystyrene): This is the notorious Styrofoam which is used with food products as containers and cutlery. Polystyrenes are harmful on the environment as they can’t be easily recycled. The stuff is dangerous on our health too as it emits styrene which is a probable carcinogen and neurotoxin that may disrupt hormones and lead to infertility. To avoid the dangers of PS, choose glassware to store food and if you had to use PS don’t use it for fatty foods such as cheese and meat.