After reading the article ‘Don’t Blame Plastic’ by admin about the plastic bottles, like every mother, I was also restless to know if I am doing the right thing for my kids. I did a research, though not a vast one, on the type of materials permissible for kids. The query landed me in a different zone.
Admin had mentioned about the care to be taken before reusing the bottles. As an extension to this, I would like to start with the type of bottles in the market, and how to identify them. The chemical leaching is extremely dangerous for not only kids but the adults as well.Hence watch out for the ,danger triangles’ as I would call them.
To have an idea, just turn the bottle upside down. On the bottom of the bottle, we can see a triangle with the number in the middle. This is called the recycling symbol. The number varies from one to seven depending on the type of the bottle. This is a denotation of the quality of the plastic used. 1 is for Poly ethylene teryphthalate, which we called by the nick name Pet bottle. This is far from a pet in the literal sense since it is the most dangerous form, if reused. If you see the number 1 inside the triangle, the first thing you should do is to crush the bottle as soon as it is empty, to avoid the reuse by anyone else. By simply throwing it away, you would be exposing someone who is unaware of the danger.
Number 2 is for high density polyethylene. This material is comparatively stable. Hence the bottle is comparatively fine. I would stress the word ‘comparatively’, since they are just fine when compared to the other plastic bottles. Same is the case with numbers 4 and 5, which stands for low density polyethylene and polypropylene respectively.
Number 3 stands for poly vinyl chloride, which is mainly used in water pipes, credit cards, water containers and rarely in bottles. Number 6 stands for styrene used in disposable cups, diary product containers, fast food containers etc. The word disposable itself denotes that it should not be reused but unfortunately, I have witnessed families who wash and keep the fast food containers so that they can pack food for their friends and relatives. Now that we know the danger, just imagines what you are doing to them. Other resins like melamine come under number 7 category. Mostly bottles and utensils of kids and babies are marked 7. That doesn’t mean that they are out of danger but better than the worst.
It’s our bad luck that no ban is applied on the plastics, which permeate BPA, in our country. Therefore, we should use our discretion while using the same. Otherwise, we can go for glass, brass, or ceramic utensils. But again, when we have kids home, using glass or ceramic would not be a feasible solution.
If you are using plastic, make sure that you are not storing hot items. While buying bottle water, make sure that the shops where they are stored are not fuming in the sunlight, since it would affect the temperature of water. Otherwise, ask for chilled water. Having cold is anytime better than having cancer. If your plastic utensil is deformed due to heat, please discard them even if they are brand new.