Have you ever taken a closer look at those seemingly mindless numbers at the bottom of your plastics? Items like soda bottles, shampoo bottles, or even plastic Tupperware.

This serial number is actually called a Resin Identification Number—a regulated safety resource for consumers to observe the kind of plastic resin a product contains.

Let’s take a look at the six most common kinds of plastics, and the potential threats they pose, according to Mercola.com:

Plastic #1: Polyethelene Terephthalate (PET)

You’ll perhaps find this plastic is the most common in your life. Bottles for soft drinks, water, mouthwash, condiments, salad dressing, etc. A chemical additive in this plastic known as antimony is present in a product, such as bottled water, at higher levels the longer is sits on a shelf in a store.

Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is often considered a low-hazard plastic and used for bottling products like juice, milk, water, cleaning solutions, and shampoo. You’ll find it in grocery bags and the bag in your cereal box. This plastic has also been linked to estrogenic substances.

Plastic #3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Table cloths, plastic toys, sandwich wrap, medication containers—all often made with PVC, which contains a cocktail of toxic chemicals. This plastic, too, has been linked to what Mercola refers to as a “gender-bending” chemical reaction causing males to develop more female attributes. This has been found in many animal species such as polar bears, whales, otters, and deer.

Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

LDPE is another chemical compound used for making bags for newspaper, bread, fresh produce, trash, and frozen items. Much like PVC, HDPE, and most other plastics, this compound can cause the “gender-bending” affect.

Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)

You’ll most likely find this plastic in containers for deli food, medications, yogurt, and takeout. This plastic is also considered a low-hazard compound due to its high-heat tolerance, however, the plastic is still known to leach, or discharge, two known chemicals.

Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS)

You may have never heard of Polystyrene, but we’re sure you’ve heard of Styrofoam. This compound is high-hazard for leaching a cancerous chemical known as styrene when exposed to high heat. Ever drink a hot coffee from a Styrofoam container? Not a good idea!

For more information on recycling your plastic items here in Cumberland County, call us at 856.825.3700.

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