How should I choose plastic food and drink containers?

Alan Greene, MD
When choosing plastic food and drink containers, choose recycling numbers 1,2,4 and 5 (less chemicals) or even better, use stainless steel, glass or ceramic containers. Watch me discuss the safest types of food containers. 
Refer to this checklist when shopping for lunch boxes and food and drink containers:
  • Seek out lunch boxes labeled "lead safe" or "lead free," "polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-free" or "vinyl-free," and plastic bottles labeled "bisphenol A (BPA)-free." Plastics should be substituted as much as possible with glass or stainless steel or used in a safe manner where substitutes are unavailable.
  • Look to recycling numbers for help! PVC or vinyl is identifiable by the recycling #3 on the bottom of plastic containers. Recycling #6 used in Styrofoam cups and plates indicates the presence of polystyrene, and #7 usually indicates the presence of BPA (some new bio-based plastics, which are safe, may be labeled #7, as well).
  • Finally, when purchasing any product either made of plastic or stored in plastic, remember to check the recycling number with the following rhyme: With your food and drink, chose 4, 5, 1, and 2; all the rest aren't good for you! If these numbers can't be found, then you may want to take a precautionary approach and avoid using these products.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.