Ask TSL: Are All #7 Plastics Toxic?

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Oh! the EVIL #7 recycling category and its never-ending confusion! I think its time to shed a little light on the subject. So here we go . . .

The short answer to the question is “No.” Not all #7 plastics are made with toxic chemicals.

Let’s look at a basic overview of what plastics this “other/miscellaneous” recycling category includes:

  • EVIL: Polycarbonate, a clear, hard plastic that contains hormone-disrupting bisphenol-a. Found in Nalgene Lexan and other sports bottles, baby bottles and food containers. May appear as #7 PC.
  • NOT EVIL: Mixed or layered plastics: use of the code #7 indicates that the product is made with a resin other than categories #1-6, or is made of more than one resin used in combination. Found in three and five gallon reusable water bottles, some citrus juice and ketchup bottles. This is also where the Gerber Graduates Baby Food and the Baby Bjorn Bibs and Plate and Spoon fall. May appear as #7 Other.

I like the way Jeremiah of ZRecs explains it:

The #7 plastics category includes a lot of newer plastics and layered plastics as well. It is actually a common number to see on food items that have multiple layers of different plastics for preservative or breatheability factors.

So when deciding whether to throw out your baby bottles and dishes marked with a #7, keep in mind that they may not be the EVIL kind of #7 plastic. If you’re unsure, contact the company and ask them directly whether the product in question contains any bisphenol-a (BPA) or phthalates.

P.S. Newer plastics included in the #7 other category are: PES, Tritan Co-polyester, PPSU and bioplastics (PLA).

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  • http://www.wildlyluckysoap.com/ soapchix

    I’ve run into this confusion, too. I discovered that Dole fruits in the plastic containers DO contain BPA’s and are, therefore, evil.

    http://soapchix.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/the-fascinating-world-of-resin-and-recycle-codes-on-plastic-containers/

    Soapchix Tiff

  • http://www.wildlyluckysoap.com/ soapchix

    I’ve run into this confusion, too. I discovered that Dole fruits in the plastic containers DO contain BPA’s and are, therefore, evil.

    http://soapchix.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/the-fascinating-world-of-resin-and-recycle-codes-on-plastic-containers/

    Soapchix Tiff

  • Lojack

    The blue plastic lids for Pyrex containers are NOT marked. But I called the company and they said the lids are #7. They declined to tell me what exactly it was made of, saying it was “proprietary information”. I specifically asked whether the lids contained any BPA or phthalates, and after putting me on hold to check with a supervisor, the customer service rep assured me that the ingredient list DID NOT CONTAIN EITHER BPA OR PHTHALATES.

    But: why don’t these companies come right out and say so???

  • Lojack

    The blue plastic lids for Pyrex containers are NOT marked. But I called the company and they said the lids are #7. They declined to tell me what exactly it was made of, saying it was “proprietary information”. I specifically asked whether the lids contained any BPA or phthalates, and after putting me on hold to check with a supervisor, the customer service rep assured me that the ingredient list DID NOT CONTAIN EITHER BPA OR PHTHALATES.

    But: why don’t these companies come right out and say so???

  • JOANNE

    i was just wondering if the chicco baby bottles contains BPA, they have the #7 at the bottom of their bottle. thanks

  • JOANNE

    i was just wondering if the chicco baby bottles contains BPA, they have the #7 at the bottom of their bottle. thanks

  • softlanding

    Hi Joanne,

    I’m unfamiliar with Chicco product materials, so I contacted them to learn more about their products. I’ll post more when I know more!

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Hi Lojack,

    Thanks for sharing the great news about Pyrex dishes!

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Hi Joanne,

    I’m unfamiliar with Chicco product materials, so I contacted them to learn more about their products. I’ll post more when I know more!

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Hi Lojack,

    Thanks for sharing the great news about Pyrex dishes!

    Alicia

  • http://mygreening.blogspot.com Candice Broom

    I’m so glad you blogged about this. I stopped using Gerber when I saw the dreaded “7″ about 5 weeks ago. I’m so relieved that they are okay! I hope the same is true for their single serving juice bottles. We haven’t bought them in 2 years but my older son plays with them when he is pretending to cook.

  • http://mygreening.blogspot.com Candice Broom

    I’m so glad you blogged about this. I stopped using Gerber when I saw the dreaded “7″ about 5 weeks ago. I’m so relieved that they are okay! I hope the same is true for their single serving juice bottles. We haven’t bought them in 2 years but my older son plays with them when he is pretending to cook.

  • Tina

    Do you know about the #7 in the single serving Mott’s containers.. it’s #7 other, but the customer service rep I spoke with was not sure?

  • Tina

    Do you know about the #7 in the single serving Mott’s containers.. it’s #7 other, but the customer service rep I spoke with was not sure?

  • Alisa Dornau

    What about the Wadda Juice – it does contain the #7. I have not contacted the company yet – but will.

  • Alisa Dornau

    What about the Wadda Juice – it does contain the #7. I have not contacted the company yet – but will.

  • C. Weldon

    Does anyone use the Learning Curve Breastflow bottles? I just contacted the company today to find out what type of plastics are used…will try to remember to post the response. My son just turned one so I will probably switch to sippy cups soon anyhow – already have and like the Born Free cups. Just curious if anyone knows about those bottles!
    Thanks!

  • C. Weldon

    Does anyone use the Learning Curve Breastflow bottles? I just contacted the company today to find out what type of plastics are used…will try to remember to post the response. My son just turned one so I will probably switch to sippy cups soon anyhow – already have and like the Born Free cups. Just curious if anyone knows about those bottles!
    Thanks!

  • C. Weldon

    I just received a response from First Years…too bad I didn’t ask this question 9 months ago!

    “The First Years is committed to providing parents with safe, reliable feeding products for their children. Based on the United States Food & Drug Administration’s support of the use of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins in food and beverage containers, The First Years is confident that its bottles containing such materials are safe. Consumers can contact The American Plastics Council at 703-741-5588 with additional questions regarding the use of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins or Bisphenol A (BPA), the chemical building block that is used to make such substances.”

  • C. Weldon

    I just received a response from First Years…too bad I didn’t ask this question 9 months ago!

    “The First Years is committed to providing parents with safe, reliable feeding products for their children. Based on the United States Food & Drug Administration’s support of the use of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins in food and beverage containers, The First Years is confident that its bottles containing such materials are safe. Consumers can contact The American Plastics Council at 703-741-5588 with additional questions regarding the use of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins or Bisphenol A (BPA), the chemical building block that is used to make such substances.”

  • Michelle

    Thanks for all of your work! I’m hoping to buy a food processor in the next few weeks, but I noticed that at least Cuisinart’s models all have bowls made from Lexan. Do all Lexan products contain BPA? What about phthalates or PVC?

  • Michelle

    Thanks for all of your work! I’m hoping to buy a food processor in the next few weeks, but I noticed that at least Cuisinart’s models all have bowls made from Lexan. Do all Lexan products contain BPA? What about phthalates or PVC?

  • Jan

    I also called World Kitchen about their Pyrex and Corningware lids. The representative I spoke with said that the lids are #7, but contain no BPA. I asked their composition and she said they were “a customized polypropylene rubber based compound.” She said that they passed the California proposition standard.

  • Jan

    I also called World Kitchen about their Pyrex and Corningware lids. The representative I spoke with said that the lids are #7, but contain no BPA. I asked their composition and she said they were “a customized polypropylene rubber based compound.” She said that they passed the California proposition standard.

  • Kim

    I’m still confused and little worried about the 5 gallon water jugs from water companies like Sparkletts. Are they safe to use or not? I probably go through one 5 gallon jug every two days so if the plastic is EVIL I am drinking in a lot of evil everyday! Eeks! If someone could please help clarify, I would so greatly appreciate it!

  • Kim

    I’m still confused and little worried about the 5 gallon water jugs from water companies like Sparkletts. Are they safe to use or not? I probably go through one 5 gallon jug every two days so if the plastic is EVIL I am drinking in a lot of evil everyday! Eeks! If someone could please help clarify, I would so greatly appreciate it!

  • sharon

    i just bought a rubbermaid 400 ml drinking bottle, the ones that have different lid colors, it’s #7 other but the plastic is hard. is that bpa free?

  • sharon

    i just bought a rubbermaid 400 ml drinking bottle, the ones that have different lid colors, it’s #7 other but the plastic is hard. is that bpa free?

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  • Tamiko

    I’m going through my daughter’s water containers and the ones we got from companies as giveaways…to me they’re just not worth the time and the trouble to figure out so I’m just recycling anything in question and replacing them w/BPA free items.

  • Tamiko

    I’m going through my daughter’s water containers and the ones we got from companies as giveaways…to me they’re just not worth the time and the trouble to figure out so I’m just recycling anything in question and replacing them w/BPA free items.

  • christygriner

    nice post

  • christygriner

    nice post

  • Jenine

    I have a collection of Rubbermaid plastic containers ;stored in a storeage unit for over 10 years.
    The numbers range # 12345678.
    Do these conatian BPA & could have leakage due to prolonged storage;
    should I toss them or is it safe to donate them ???
    Thank s,
    jenine

  • Jenine

    I have a collection of Rubbermaid plastic containers ;stored in a storeage unit for over 10 years.
    The numbers range # 12345678.
    Do these conatian BPA & could have leakage due to prolonged storage;
    should I toss them or is it safe to donate them ???
    Thank s,
    jenine

  • softlanding

    Hi Jenine,

    My first inclination would be to go ahead and recycle those containers. Rubbermaid recently published their materials list here, but I’m sure it refers to their current “recipe” of plastics.

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Hi Jenine,

    My first inclination would be to go ahead and recycle those containers. Rubbermaid recently published their materials list here, but I’m sure it refers to their current “recipe” of plastics.

    Alicia

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  • Amy

    Do all Cuisinart bowls contain BPA?

  • Amy

    Do all Cuisinart bowls contain BPA?

  • softlanding

    Hi Amy,

    We haven’t researched the Cuisnart products ourselves, but ZRecs.com has recently published an article stating, “All Cuisinart work bowls are made of Lexan (polycarbonate), and no BPA-free replacement bowl – glass, plastic, or metal – is available from the company.” (read the article here).

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Hi Amy,

    We haven’t researched the Cuisnart products ourselves, but ZRecs.com has recently published an article stating, “All Cuisinart work bowls are made of Lexan (polycarbonate), and no BPA-free replacement bowl – glass, plastic, or metal – is available from the company.” (read the article here).

    Alicia

  • Kristi

    I understand that Number 7 PC is the evil plastic. Much to my dismay my waterbottle that I have been using for the past 5 months is evil. However, if I do not use it to heat liquids and only wash it with mild detergent, should I still be worried? Thank you.

  • Kristi

    I understand that Number 7 PC is the evil plastic. Much to my dismay my waterbottle that I have been using for the past 5 months is evil. However, if I do not use it to heat liquids and only wash it with mild detergent, should I still be worried? Thank you.

  • softlanding

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Similac would not confirm that their #7 plastic is a layered plastic free of BPA for us or for SafeMama, so we have no choice but to stick with our guns and avoid recommending Similac until we hear a clear answer from them.

    We hope that it really is BPA free – that would be fantastic!

    Alicia

  • Elizabeth

    I know you have said this, but not all #7 are bad. Similac formula #7 does not contain BPA but is labeled that way because several different plastics are used. I have confirmed this with the company. Also they have recently switched from metal cans to plastic containers with no BPA for powder formula. I know I have been looking at the baby formula aisle differently. Metal cans always have a lining of BPA according to my research.

  • Elizabeth

    I know you have said this, but not all #7 are bad. Similac formula #7 does not contain BPA but is labeled that way because several different plastics are used. I have confirmed this with the company. Also they have recently switched from metal cans to plastic containers with no BPA for powder formula. I know I have been looking at the baby formula aisle differently. Metal cans always have a lining of BPA according to my research.

  • softlanding

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Similac would not confirm that their #7 plastic is a layered plastic free of BPA for us or for SafeMama, so we have no choice but to stick with our guns and avoid recommending Similac until we hear a clear answer from them.

    We hope that it really is BPA free – that would be fantastic!

    Alicia

  • Mule Skinner

    I am belatedly trying to understand about all this. It seems that #7 cannot be trusted since it is a catchall category. I also read that #3 and #6 are not suitable for food handling, but I see nothing on that here.

  • Mule Skinner

    I am belatedly trying to understand about all this. It seems that #7 cannot be trusted since it is a catchall category. I also read that #3 and #6 are not suitable for food handling, but I see nothing on that here.

  • softlanding

    Hi Mule,

    You are correct about the #7 recycling category. You really need to avoid those plastics unless the product is specifically labeled as BPA free, or you have info regarding a product’s BPA free status from a reputable source.

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Hi Mule,

    You are correct about the #7 recycling category. You really need to avoid those plastics unless the product is specifically labeled as BPA free, or you have info regarding a product’s BPA free status from a reputable source.

    Alicia

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  • Paris

    We were told by a leading WSU (WA state Univ) researcher that they found BPA in the lining of the SIGG stainless steel bottles. Apparently SIGG gets their lining from another company so they do not have to disclose what it is made of. I specifically switched to SIGG (when I found out I was pregnant with twins)because http://www.ewg.org stated they were safe. Now my SIGG bottles sit up on a shelf until I can verify. Thoughts?

    • Alicia

      Hi Paris,

      We never could get a straight answer from SIGG about their lining. Each time we called, we were told that the lining ingredients were proprietary, but that they had been tested and proven to be 100% BPA-free. It’s just another unknown for us . . .

      Alicia

  • Paris

    We were told by a leading WSU (WA state Univ) researcher that they found BPA in the lining of the SIGG stainless steel bottles. Apparently SIGG gets their lining from another company so they do not have to disclose what it is made of. I specifically switched to SIGG (when I found out I was pregnant with twins)because http://www.ewg.org stated they were safe. Now my SIGG bottles sit up on a shelf until I can verify. Thoughts?

    • Alicia

      Hi Paris,

      We never could get a straight answer from SIGG about their lining. Each time we called, we were told that the lining ingredients were proprietary, but that they had been tested and proven to be 100% BPA-free. It’s just another unknown for us . . .

      Alicia

  • Alicia

    Hi Boo,

    We’ve done some pretty thorough research on TPE, and it seems to be a good, non-toxic material. It is typically BPA, PVC and phthalate-free. Many of the products we offer at TSL use TPE (or TPR, which another form of the same compound) as a rubbery grip or sippy spout cover to make it more comfortable to drink from.

    Alicia

  • Boo

    Does anyone know about TPE ? It is a soft plastic like PVC. Is it safe?

  • Boo

    Does anyone know about TPE ? It is a soft plastic like PVC. Is it safe?

  • Alicia

    Hi Boo,

    We’ve done some pretty thorough research on TPE, and it seems to be a good, non-toxic material. It is typically BPA, PVC and phthalate-free. Many of the products we offer at TSL use TPE (or TPR, which another form of the same compound) as a rubbery grip or sippy spout cover to make it more comfortable to drink from.

    Alicia

  • Dorene

    Does anyone know if VitaMix machine has any of the evil chemicals?

  • Dorene

    Does anyone know if VitaMix machine has any of the evil chemicals?

  • Dorene

    Contacted VitaMix about their product. NO they do not use BPA in the newer version Super 5200… Expensive product, but wow it can do everything!!
    Also, contacted Cuisinart about their Mini Food Processor…since many of us use this for making baby food…have not heard back yet, but will keep you posted.

  • Dorene

    Contacted VitaMix about their product. NO they do not use BPA in the newer version Super 5200… Expensive product, but wow it can do everything!!
    Also, contacted Cuisinart about their Mini Food Processor…since many of us use this for making baby food…have not heard back yet, but will keep you posted.

  • Dorene

    DO NOT USE CUISINART IF YOU WANT TO STAY AWAY FROM BPA CONTAMINATION…Switch to VitaMix for the baby and family food prep. Also, anyone using can baby food be careful because the jars contain BPA lining under the lid. Check out ZRecs Guide for more information.

  • Dorene

    DO NOT USE CUISINART IF YOU WANT TO STAY AWAY FROM BPA CONTAMINATION…Switch to VitaMix for the baby and family food prep. Also, anyone using can baby food be careful because the jars contain BPA lining under the lid. Check out ZRecs Guide for more information.

  • Rose

    I am planning to buy a baby bottle but I’m not sure which one would be better and safe. Is it better to buy the Born-Free Baby plastic bottle or the AVENT Baby plastic bottle ? Both of these bottles do not have any numbers at the bottom of the bottles. Please advise. All suggestions and experiences shared will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • Rose

    I am planning to buy a baby bottle but I'm not sure which one would be better and safe. Is it better to buy the Born-Free Baby plastic bottle or the AVENT Baby plastic bottle ? Both of these bottles do not have any numbers at the bottom of the bottles. Please advise. All suggestions and experiences shared will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • http://alternativeenergysourcenews.blogspot.com/ Alternative Source News

    Why bother …just throw them all out. Not worth determining if it is or not

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  • izzy

    I just heard about the bpa chemicals and I am currently trying to gather more information. I am confused in one thing though, so is the number 7 bad in plastics? and also there are some letters like o and pc what does that stand for? is this a good thing that it has that on it? If anyone can answer this i would greatly appreciate it Thanks

  • soupy

    So. let me get this straight. All #7 plastics are NOT bad. Just some, or most of them. Yeah sure. This is a good way to keep everyone confused and in the dark. Just avoid them if you ask me. Who in the hell trusts the FDA anyway? Hello????!

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