Which plastics are safe?

Last year we heard all about hybrid cars and florescent light bulbs, but what’s new this year in the way of saving the planet? A few things have come up in the last year that have debunked previous opinions. I am speaking specifically about plastic food and beverage containers.

Bottled Water

Remember when bottled water became the rage? When I was a child, you got your drinking water from the tap. Then bottled water came about and everyone thought they were getting healthy because suddenly we had easy access to water on the go. It seemed a little odd to me that we’d pay so much for water, and that it would be missing things you get from tap water, like flouride, but I joined the revolution like everybody else. But now we are finding that not only does mass production of plastic water bottles cause enormous amounts of waste and air toxins during the production process, but drinking water from a plastic bottle is now in question! The plastics themselves, especially heated, even by the sun, contain potentially harmful ingredients. The solution? Check out the latest in stainless steel water bottles. When you think about it, these are really army canteens, but they are reshaped to fit your bike and backpack holders. Plus they are BPA (the harmful chemical found in plastic bottles)- free. If you must drink from a plastic bottle, don’t keep reusing it, just use it the one time. For stainless options, I like Sigg:

and Kleen Kanteen, who now even has a stainless steel sippy cup.

Love it!

Baby Bottles

Speaking of which, now they are saying even the baby bottles we all used not so long ago are not so good. We thought there was an issue with breast feeding versus formula feeding, but who knew the bottle itself was in question! A site called Born Free claims to have products that are BPA-free, like these plastic bottles:

Unfortunately for me, I used one of the brands of bottles for both my children that has been identified as being one of the worst offenders of BPA leakage. Read the study.

Plastic plates and microwaves

Many plastics are not really meant for the microwave. Another fact I didn’t know until recently. The best way to be safe about this is to only put plastics in the microwave that specifically state that they are microwave-safe. You could avoid this altogether and just not put plastic in the microwave at all anymore too. You could reheat food on the stove or in the oven or put onto a ceramic plate and then into the micro for reheating. It’s hard when you bring your lunch to work, but it is important to make sure you are reading your plastic labels. Here’s a company called Preserve who makes safe plastic food containers and ther products out of safe and recycled materials, like this cutting board made from pressed paper!

Another big topic now is lunchboxes. A few years ago it was determined that many children’s lunchboxes contained lead in the plastic lining of the soft zippered-style bags. Today this is being watched so most of what you find at major retailers is safe, but to be sure, read the labels and look for those that specifically say they are lead-free. You can find a whole bunch on the website like the ones from Laptop Lunches or these cuties from Mimi The Sardine:

Whatever you do, read the labels and keep up with the latest findings so you can feel good about not only the food you are preparing for your family, but how you serve it to them.

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Rachael Ray