Important Safety Alert: Rethink Plastic!

The post scheduled for today, Self Storage Part 3 – How to Be a Smart Self Storer, will now be posted tomorrow. In my opinion this post was too important to delay. Please check back tomorrow to read the final installment in the Self Storage series.

The Today Show did a story this week focusing on the safety of the plastic containers we use to hold our water, leftover foods and even our babies’ juice and formula.

These concerns have been around for a number of years. I recall the concern about chemicals leaching into our food when we use plastic containers in the microwave. My concern was eased by the last media blitz on the subject, which debunked those allegations. “Perfectly safe,” they said.

The Today Show report brought those concerns crashing back, and then some. Their report focused on a number system on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers. The primary chemical (or group of chemicals) to make the plastic is assigned a number, and that number is stamped on the bottom of many (but not all, and that’s another big problem) bottles and containers. I believe they were originally assigned to assist with recycling efforts, but now those numbers are being associated with the safety of the plastic itself.

So, which are safe to use? That’s a matter of debate. Some scientists say a “1” on the bottle (what you find on most of your bottled water) means it’s safe, at least for one use. According to Dr. Leo Trasande of the Mount Sinai Center for Children’s Health and the Environment (part of their School of Medicine) those bottles are difficult to wash and should never be re-used.

A “3”, “6”, or “7” would mean it’s potentially unsafe. According to Dr. Trasande , “The bottles with the numbers 3, 6 and 7 are not safe for use across the board.”

Some bottles with the number 7 indicate that the bottle contains bisphenol A, a chemical linked to reproductive and fertility problems. Many baby bottles are sevens. And some sippy-cups. Dandy.

This story is well worth watching.

The story caused such a stir they did a follow-up the next day.

I have cupboards full of plastic plates and cups that don’t even have numbers on the bottom. They are going into the trash.

Many of Son’s sippy cups, which are mostly Munchkin brand straw cups similar to the ones pictured above, are also not numbered. I’ve sent off an e-mail to the company inquiring as to what chemicals are used in making their plastics. Son will be using glass, at least for now.  He’s old enough and his motor skills are deft enough that I don’t have a huge safety concern about glass.   At least until he reaches adolescence.

I can’t just assume these plastics are safe any longer, assume that the companies will be forthcoming, assume that the government has the issue in hand. I’d much err on the side of safety.

What’s next?  The danger of Brussel sprouts?  Well, I can hope.

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