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What You Really Need To Check When Using Plastic Containers

What You Really Need To Check When Using Plastic Containers

Our daily lives are filled with plastic, from tupperware to water bottles. Some plastic containers are safe for human consumption while others are potentially hazardous to your health.

Take a look around your kitchen. Are you sure your plastic is safe and non-toxic? To avoid risking your health, make sure to be familiar with the different types of plastic on the market today.

A simple glance, usually at the bottom of the container, is all you need to identify the material. Plastic is marked with a number, 1 through 7, and/or a set of letters that label its chemical composition. Like this:

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330755-R3L8T8D-650-1033-11

    Take a look below to find out what each one means.

    Type 1: PETE or PET

    PET plastic is clear, 100% recyclable, and most commonly used for drinks, mouthwash, and microwavable meal trays. In general, this plastic is considered safe for food and drink storage, although consumers should take some precautions.

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    It should be stored at room temperature. High temperatures can increase the levels of the chemical antimony, which is a potentially carcinogenic material. The rule of thumb with this plastic is to only use it once, as reuse can lead to bacterial build-up.

    Type 2: HDPE or HDP

    HDPE plastic is slightly harder than PET and has a very high strength-to-density ratio. Type 2 plastic is not transparent and has dye added for marketing purposes, which means it can come in many different colors. It is used to manufacture detergent bottles, milk jugs, and freezer bags. So far, experts have not found toxic chemicals in its composition. HDPE is not likely to leach into liquids, making it safe for food and drink storage.

    Type 3: PVC or 3V

    PVC plastic is potentially harmful to human health. It is used to make plastic cling wrap as well as some toys for children and pets. Type 3 plastic contains phthalates that may be related to reproductive complications in humans and animals due to chemicals that can affect hormonal production. These chemicals can easily leach into lipid-containing substances and have also been linked to asthma in children.

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    Type 4: LDPE

    LDPE plastic is flexible and solvent-resistant. Often used in frozen food, bread, and garbage bags as well as squeezable condiment bottles, it is not known to leach chemicals into food. It can also be found in the lining of paper milk cartons. Its production is considered hazardous but its use is considered low hazard. Many people feel more comfortable avoiding it.

    Type 5: PP

    PP plastic is harder than other plastics and semi-transparent. Common uses for this plastic include yogurt bottles, medicine containers, and margarine and butter tubs. This plastic can be placed in the microwave and reach high temperatures without melting. This means PP plastic containers do not risk leaching into their contents and are therefore safe for storing foods and drinks for human consumption.

    Type 6: PS

    Polystyrene, or PS, plastic is used in foam insulation, egg cartons, styrofoam drinking cups, and take-out containers.

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    Avoid using styrofoam materials for food and drink. This plastic is not safe when heated and does leach carcinogenic chemicals into food. Specifically, styrene can contaminate the contents. Styrene has been linked to an increased risk of lymphoma and leukemia. It has also been linked to lung tumors in lab animals. Even hot water and coffee served in styrofoam cups has been found to have increased levels of styrene. This plastic should not be utilized for long-term storage.

    Type 7: PC or Non-Labeled

    PC, Type 7, or any non-labeled plastic should be avoided whenever possible. This category is used to describe packages made of chemicals and resins that are not found in the previous six types of plastic. It is a hard, nearly unbreakable plastic. Polycarbonates contain bisphenol A (BPA) which leaches into container contents. Despite its dangers, it is often used for sports bottles, baby bottles, and water cooler bottles.

    Read Labels!

    Before purchasing any plastics, try to read the numbers and/or letters stamped on the bottom of the container. Try to avoid numbers 3, 6, and 7. Be careful with all plastic containers and don’t let them overheat or store food for too long. Glass containers are preferable.

    Featured photo credit: www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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    Amber Pariona

    EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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