Using plastics made with the chemical BPA may be harmful to your health and your children's development. Learn how to read the labels on plastic containers to determine whether they contain BPA.
Some plastics are more harmful than others, depending on whether they’re made with the chemical known as Bisphenol A (read about the dangers of BPA here). Typically, any product made of hard, clear plastic probably contains BPA, unless the manufacturer specifically states that it's BPA-free. An easy way to spot the "okay" plastics from the "bad" plastics is to read the recycling labels located on the bottom of plastic containers and products:
Less Harmful Plastics Are Labeled:
• 1, 2, 4, 5
Avoid These Labels:
Plastics with the numbers 3, 6, or 7 on the bottom are made with phthalates, polystyrene foam, or BPA, which may have a harmful affect on children’s development.
• 3 may be found in window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, and clear food packaging
• 6 may be found in disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, and carry-out containers
• 7 (miscellaneous) may be found in gallon-size water bottles and certain food containers
A Word on Canned Foods:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows BPA to be used in food cans. According to the Environmental Working Group, levels of BPA vary greatly, even in different cans of the same food, making it difficult to label any canned foods as better or worse than others. However, a few canned foods sometimes measure high in BPA: beans, green beans, green peas, and chili. Others, mainly fruits and beverages, tend to have low concentrations of BPA.