People all over the world are trying to discover the causes that increase the risk of cancer. This is because millions of people die from this malicious disease every year. This year, more than 1,600,000 new cases of cancer are predicted. Eventhough the evidences are inconclusive, plastics are still considered as carcinogens, so try to avoid them as much as possible in order to prevent cancer.
If you have noticed the triangle with a number at the bottom of every bottle, it shows which type of plastic it is as well as how safe it is for use.
The bottles that have number 1 on the bottom or also known as PETA or PET bottles, are the ones that are only for one use. If you use them more than once, you are exposed to the substance EPA. This plasitc can emit a heavy metal called antimony that interferes with hormones. It is very likely that this plastic is carcinogenic.
HDP or HDPE is the plastic marked with number 2 in the triangle and it is considered as the good plastic, because this plastic does not emit as much as chemical as the other types.
The number 3, also labeled as PVC or V means that that plastic emits 2 toxic chemicals that can interfere with the hormones. This plastic contains phthalates which are considered carcinogenic and it is one of the most commonly used plastics.
Those plastics labeled with number 4 also known as LDPE plastics are not harmful since they don’t emit chemicals when used as water bottles.
Another safe type of plastic is PP plastic. It is easily distinguishable since it is white or transparent. PP plastics are usually used in yogurt cups and bottles.
The plastic used for the production of coffee cups and fast food packing releases STIREN which is a carcinogenic chemical.
This plastic without labels falls under the PC category. Make sure to avoid these kind of plastics since they may emit BPA- a very harmful chemical. Sadly, these kind of plastics are used in sport drinks, infant bottles and food containers.
Plastics Considered As Carcinogens
It is a fact that many plastics contain compounds that are considered as carcinogens, eventhough the evidence is still inconclusive.
The three most mentioned compounds as carcinogens are:
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Dioxins are emitted during incineration of plastic vaste, especially PVC, and since they are not present in food storage containers, they are less likely to have a direct impact on your everyday life.
However, you can get in contact with dioxine indirectly, through food. If you are consuming meat from animals that are fed in contaminated areas, they store this compound in their fat, which is later on transmited through consumption. Make sure to avoid meat and fish consumption with increased fat content in order to reduce your exposure to dioxins.
On the other hand, Phthales and BPA are present in the plastics we use every day. In 2011, they were listed as reasonably anticipated carcinogen based on the evidence of carcinogenicity conducted on experimental animals.
PVC contains about 95% of DEHP. These products may contain from 1% to 40% DEHP. Plasticized PVC is used for shoes, dolls, baby pants, food packaging, curtains, shower, swimming-pool liners, rainwear, garden hoses, imitation leather, tablecloths, toys, etc.
Many types of cancer are associated with hormone disruption. Since BPA is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the hormones, it is wise to avoid BPA exposure.
Try to use the plastics in the proper way. Don’t heat your food in plastic containers that contain phthalates or BPA since there is a risk that your food will be contaminated. Moreover, the contanct of plastics with detergents may trigger the emission of these chemicals.
Which Plastics To Avoid?
Try to avoid or be cautious when you use PVC, Polystyrene plastics and PETE. You can easily identifay them according to their labels, the number 6,3 and 1.
These plastics are usually used for:
PS (polystyrene): cups used in vending machines, CD cases, hard packing, toys.
PETE (polyethyleneterephthalate): drink bottles and flexible oil
PVC: plastic trays for fruits and sweets and many other uses.
You should also be very careful when using products from category 7. This is a combination of plastics that do not belong in the other categorizations. That’s why it is hard to make generalizations about the effects of these products since the structure may vary.
Make sure before buying something in plastics to check the type of plastic you are going to use in order to make a significant change for your health. Being cautious about their usage is of great importance for your overall health.