1) Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used in a wide range of consumer products, including Reynolds Wrap and cling wrap for most grocery stores, as well as bottles, packaged food trays and cooking oil bottles. PVC is also used for plumbing materials, as well as medical tubing and bags.
Reason to Avoid: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) contains phthalates, which are known to disrupt hormones — especially testosterone. Congress has banned the use of these chemicals in toys because of research that indicates developmental and reproductive damage. Vinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen. Additionally, the manufacture and incineration of phthalates releases dioxin, a known carcinogen and hormone disruptor.
2) Polystyrene (PS) is one of the most widely used plastics. There are two forms of polystyrene — inflated and non-inflated. The most recognizable inflated polystyrene is Styrofoam®, a Dow Chemical Company trademarked product. Non-inflated polystyrene is used to make cups, bowls, plates, trays, cutlery, take-out containers, meat trays and egg cartons, as well as packaging for shipping.
Reason to Avoid: This type of plastic can leach styrene into food, especially when heated. Styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
3) Polycarbonates (PC). Polycarbonates are used in many brands of plastic baby bottles, “sippy” cups for kids, reusable water bottles and dental sealants. Also used in the inner lining of food cans.
Reason to Avoid: Polycarbonate plastic is the only plastic that is made with bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been found to mimic the hormone estrogen and disrupt the body’s endocrine system. Public health advocates say it poses a particular risk to fetuses, infants and children. The National Toxicology Program issued a report last year that includes concerns about BPA’s effects on the brain, prostate gland, mammary gland, and behavior in fetuses, infants and children.