I’ve heard about it, you have heard about it…BPA (bisphenol-A) has shown in some tests to be harmful to unborn children and small children alike. So after giving up my 24 water bottles a month and switching to a reusable plastic water bottle a year ago, I have now recycled the 32 oz plastic bottle and opted for a 20 oz steel reusable bottle. I continue to scour the tags and bottoms of all plastic containers for the recycle symbol as well as what number is inside it.
The safest plastic containers are #2, 4 & 5, while #1 and #2 are the best for recycling purposes. You should also avoid resin codes 3, 6, & 7 especially when used around food or storing food.
I have used Glad reusable plastic containers and Tupperware durable plastic containers for many years for storing leftovers. I thought Tupperware would last me the longest; however, after viewing a brief video from WebMD’s Health eHome, I am wholeheartedly reconsidering recycling those older stained and scratched containers.
According to Gregg Renfew, Healthy Child Healthy Home, plastic containers which have permanent stains, scratches or cracks have the greatest risk of releasing harmful chemicals into food, especially when warmed in the microwave. It is best to recycle or reuse these containers for non-food items. It is even better to use glass to store and reheat foods in the microwave and use a paper towel instead of plastic wrap to prevent spills during heating.
This helpful site also strongly recommends, for the health and safety of everyone in the home, buying food products in glass, recyclable paper or chipboard and bags. Yes, even canned food poses threats.
How to Live BPA Free? Do the following to prevent contaminants from entering your food:
- Take out all your plastic containers, cups & dishes from your cupboards
- Inspect each one for cuts, scratches, cracks & stains. If any of these are found, either recycle them or reuse them for non-food items like storing office supplies or hair notions in the bathroom.
- Check the resin or recycle code that is usually found on the bottom of the container. Ensure it is one of the numbers listed above. If no number is found, consider using the container for non-food items or getting rid of it. These plastics could pose hazardous food contamination over time.
- Consider buying more glass dishware for storing and reheating food, especially in the microwave. There are many good finds at your local thrift store as well.
- Avoid using plastic wrap at all costs and do not use it when reheating foods in the microwave as it is more likely to release toxins into your food. Instead use recycled paper towels, cloth napkins or waxed paper to cover dishes for reheating in the microwave.
You CAN live BPA free and not be inconvenienced by it. There are new products on the market that are both recyclable as well as healthy for you. Consider products made from corn, which look and feel just like plastic as well as products made from post consumer material.
**News update…there’s more evidence that plastic food containers are leaching harmful hormones into our food…get the rest of the story here.