For mothers who are looking for products for their babies such as feeding bottles, bowls, mugs, or toys, they will realize that most of these products are made of plastic which comes in various types. For the safety of your babies, you should buy food grade plastic to ensure that the product is absolutely safe and residue-free.
The US Plastics Industry Association has divided plastics into seven types according to the form of recycling which we can see the type of plastic on the label or under the package. The seven types of plastics are as follows:
1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET)
is plastic used to make packaging for beverages, jams, sauces, and food trays as it is light. Approved by the FDA or the US Food and Drug Administration, it is safe to be used as food container. It is free of residues such as BPA and Phthalates, so it is the most commonly used type of plastic for food packaging.
2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
is tough and corrosion resistant. It is not sensitive to light because of its high density. Therefore, it is often used to make packaging for cleaning detergents, shampoos, laundry detergents, bleach, garbage bags, etc. It is also used to make milk bottles (opaque or solid color).
3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
is a vinyl plastic. It is often used in the manufacture of pipes and slabs. This type of plastic contains phthalate as a component. Therefore, it is not suitable for making food packaging.
4. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
is a flexible plastic film. With its tear resistance quality, it is used to produce tote bags, food cooler bags, plastic straws, food wrap films, bottle caps, etc.
5. Polypropylene (PP)
is hard plastic. It is resistant to heat and chemicals so it can be used to pack hot food and can be cleaned with heat. It is commonly used to make hot bags, feeding bottles, and toys.
6. Polystyrene (PS)
is also known as foam. When heated, it will be contaminated with styrene which is melting out. This chemical is very harmful as it affects the nervous system and brain.
7. Other plastics such as Polycarbonate (PC)
is clear, colorless plastic. It is heat resistant, so it is often used to make water pitchers, 5-liter water bottles and sports water bottles, etc.
Types 3, 6 and 7 are the ones that should be avoided. When heated, these types of plastic will be contaminated with harmful substances such as Bisphenol-A or BPA which will affect growth hormone, nervous system, and reproductive system. It also affects the development of babies and children.
Therefore, when shopping for plastic products, you shouldn’t forget to check Food Safe symbol and look for food packages that use proper plastic according to the type of use. It should also be BPA free so you can rest assured that it is free of residues and harmless to mothers and babies.
• Department of Science Service
• National Food Institute, Ministry of Industry
• Food Network Solution
• Center of Excellence on Hazardous Substance Management, CU Research Building
• Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce
• Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB)
• Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University