Checking the bottom of the bottle when buying bottled water is of utmost importance, allowing the consumers to avoid toxic chemicals and protect their health. “The problem with water bottles is, it’s made of plastic,” explains Dr. Ravi Patel with Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center. ”And there’s different kinds of plastic. Plastics actually release different chemicals in different situations.”
“I think the psychological makeup that the water bottle is the cleanest safest thing isn’t necessarily true. So, if you go ahead and look at the mug, you look at the steel mug, and then you look at the water bottle. It’s equally easy to carry. It’s an easy change to make. It could be a change that affects your family, your children, your health on a long term basis,” added Dr. Patel. However, if you are still a fan of plastic bottles, make sure you check the triangle on the bottom of the bottle.
The truth is that the plastic bottles labeled with PP, HDPE, and HDP, are the ones that don’t leach toxic compounds in the water. The rest of the letters represent the chemicals found in the bottled water you are drinking. Each brand is obliged to label the content of the bottle, by either having the letters, numbers, or number symbols outlined in the graphic.
#1 PET or PETE
This symbol indicates single-use bottles, which can leach heavy metals and detrimental chemicals that impact hormonal balance.
PET is one of the most commonly used plastics in consumer products, and can be found in most water and pop bottles, even in some packaging. It is designed for single use applications and repeated use is known to increase the risk of both leaching and bacterial growth. PET plastic is very difficult to decontaminate, and the cleaning relies on harmful chemicals. Polyethylene terephthalates are likely to leach carcinogens.
#2 HDP or HDPE
This plastic doesn’t release any chemicals and is one of the healthiest waters available on the market. This is the reason why experts recommend choosing particularly these bottles.
HDPE plastic is the plastic used to make oil bottles, toys, milk jugs, detergent, and some plastic bags. It is the most commonly recycled plastic and is classified as one of the safest forms of plastic. It is a relatively simple and quite inexpensive process to recycle HDPE plastic for repeated use.
#3 PVC or 3V
It releases two toxic compounds that may impact the hormones in the body.
PVC is quite flexible plastic that is commonly used to make blister packaging for myriad consumer products, plastic food wrapping, teething rings, cooking oil bottles, and children’s and pets’ toys. It is commonly used as the sheathing material for computer cables as well as parts for plumbing and plastic pipes. Being relatively effective in not allowing liquid to go through, it is also used to make arbors, window frames, garden hoses, raised beds and trellises.
Although it doesn’t release any chemicals, this type of plastic cannot be used in the production of bottles.
It is typically found in squeezable bottles, shrink wraps, dry cleaner garment bags, and the type of plastic bags used to package bread. Some furniture and clothing also uses LDPE. In addition, the plastic grocery bags used i stores today are made using this type of plastic.
It is used as a packing for yoghurt cups and syrups.
PP plastic is very tough and lightweight and is characterized by great heat-resistance qualities. It serves as a barrier against chemicals, moisture, and grease. The thin plastic liner in a cereal box is made of polypropylene, which keeps your cereal dry and fresh. PP is also used for disposable diapers, pails, plastic bottle tops, potato chip bags, straws, packing tape, margarine and yogurt containers, and rope.
It releases carcinogenic substances and it is mostly used in the production of fast food casings and coffee cups.
Polystyrene is a cheap, lightweight and easily-formed plastic with countless uses. It is commonly used to make food containers, egg cartons, disposable styrofoam drinking cups, take-out “clamshell”, plastic picnic cutlery, foam packaging and foam chips used to fill shipping boxes. PS is also used to make sheeting for laminate flooring for home construction and rigid foam insulation.
#7 PC or non-labeled plastic
This is the most dangerous plastic in the food production which is known to release BPA chemicals. It is mostly used in the production of food containers and sports water bottles.
The major concern with these plastics is the risk of chemical leaching into food or drink products that are packaged in polycarbonate containers made using BPA, a well-known endocrine disruptor.