Let's play a game.
Grab your water cup/bottle. Make sure it's empty. Alright, turn it upside down and what do you see. A recycle symbol with a number inside of it? The letters B-P-A covered by an "X"? What does it all mean?
The numbers in the recycle symbol are indicators of the type of plastic used to create the bottle. Below are the plastics types 1-7, which are typically accepted via single stream. The lower numbers are thinner types of plastic making it more prone to leaching chemicals.
Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)
Common uses: 2-liter soda bottles, single-use water bottle containers, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars. This is the most widely recycled plastic ,but highly leachable.
Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Common uses: detergent bottles, milk jugs.
Plastic #3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Common uses: plastic pipes, outdoor furniture, shrink wrap, water bottles, salad dressing and liquid detergent containers.
Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Common uses: dry cleaning bags, produce bags, trash can liners, food storage containers. LDPE are safe, non-leaching plastics.
Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)
Common uses: bottle caps, food containers, drinking straws.
Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS)
Common uses: packaging pellets or "Styrofoam peanuts," cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, to-go "clam shell" containers.
Plastic #7: Other
Common uses: LEXAN, certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware.
Most commonly you've seen cute paisley-printed tumbler cups with "BPA-free" advertising on the labels, and before I tell you what BPA is, I would like you to know that BPA-free bottles are NOT any better than bottles that include the toxic chemical.
BPA, or bisphenol-A, is a component of polycarbonate, the hard, clear plastic sometimes used to make water bottles, baby bottles, food storage containers and other items like contact lenses, CDs and electronics devices.
Most flexible plastics bottles contain phthalates. Phthalates (pronounced THIGH-lates) contain petrochemicals, they are known as endocrine disruptors meaning they mimic the powerful female hormone, estrogen.
Both BPA and phthalates have been shown in animal studies to emasculate male offspring and to cause early puberty and reproductive malfunctions in females.That means less sperm counts and sex drive for men and early puberty and increases ovarian/breast cancers for woman.
These are only the health issues of using plastic bottles. Check out my post "You've Been Tricked Into Buying Bottled Water" to learn more about the environmental issues related to plastic bottles