Recycle No. 7

30 04 2008

No, this is not another article to encourage you to recycle. It is about the signs you see on the left and how it affects your health. We Malaysians hardly ever recycle our waste and plastics and know even less about how these products are recycled. The signs you see on the left are two variations of the seven Resin I.D Codes (1 through 7) used in identifying the type of plastic products which are also recyclable.

These codes are normally found on the bottom of containers and are normally embossed. Meaning they are molded into the design of the container and raised from the surface. Resin ID codes are used to help identify different plastics for recycling, but they do not provide guidance on the safe or intended use of a product and should not be used for this purpose. And herein lies the danger. These codes identify not only the type of plastics but the resin found in them, and it was recently found that a resin used in Recyclable 7 plastics is not as benign as it was once thought to be. This resin is known as “Bisphenol A” or BP A. Here is an excerpt from an article I read.

Depending on whom you talk to, BPA is either perfectly safe or a dangerous health risk. The plastics industry says it is harmless, but a growing number of scientists are concluding, from some animal tests, that exposure to BPA in the womb raises the risk of certain cancers, hampers fertility and could contribute to childhood behavioral problems such as hyperactivity.

Plastic water and baby bottles, food and beverage can linings and dental sealants are the most commonly encountered uses of this chemical. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay put. BPA has been found to leach from bottles into babies’ milk or formula; it migrates from can liners into foods and soda and from epoxy resin-lined vats into wine; and it is found in the mouths of people who’ve recently had their teeth sealed. Ninety-five percent of Americans were found to have the chemical in their urine in a 2004 biomonitoring study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After reading this and more articles on Bisphenol A I went around looking at plastic water bottles found in my house. And I found 2 items that carry the ominous sign. One was a milk bottle used by my niece and the other was a water bottle which I always keep beside me on my table! You can see the picture of the bottle below.

water Bottle

As you can see the recycle #7 sign is clearly visible on the bottom of my drinking bottle. The letters “PC” found below the sign indicates that the bottle is made of polycarbonate. For more information on this subject you can Google the word “bisphenol A”. And for those who wish to learn more about the resin I.D codes, you can go to the link provided below. (p.s I have yet to learn how to link a word in my article to the URL)

http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_plastics/bin.asp?CID=1102&DID=4645&DOC=FILE.PDF

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2 responses

1 05 2008
thrust73

Gee Uncle din know so much about da label, only know dioxin from plastics are harmful. There are now emails circulating around about goreng pisang etc being added with plastics during frying. Dunno whether its true?

1 05 2008
virtualmystic

Yeah you sent that article to me. I am quite confident that it is merely a rumour or mischief created to spite competition.

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