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Plastics That Can Damage Your Fertility

The use of plastics is a growing problem, not only for the environment but also male and female fertility. Plastics are categorized according to their content and recyclability. The recycling symbol number is the code that shows what type of plastic was used to make the product.

Plastics with recycling symbols 2, 4, and 5 are generally considered ok to use. Avoid plastics with recycling numbers 3, 6 and 7. Plastics with recycling symbol 7 are ok to use as long as they also say "PLA" or have a leaf symbol on them. Recycling symbol 1 is ok to use, but shouldn't be used more than once (don’t refill plastic water bottles).

Keep all plastic containers out of the heat and the sun as it can cause the chemicals within them to be released into your food. Plastic codes include:

  1. Polyethylene terephtalate (PETE or PET): includes clear plastic water and soft drink bottles. Generally considered ok to use, but don't reuse them
  2. High-density polyethylene (HDPE): includes opaque milk jugs, detergent bottles, juice bottles, butter tubs and toiletry bottles. Generally considered ok to use
  3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): includes food wrap (clean film), cooking oil bottles, and plumbing pipes. Do not cook food in these plastics and try to minimize using them around any type of food (use wax paper, kitchen foil or glass containers instead of plastic wrap). Avoid where possible!
  4. Low density polyethylene (LDPE): includes grocery bags, some food wraps, squeezable bottles and bread bags. Generally considered ok to use
  5. Polypropylene: includes most yogurt cups, water bottles with a cloudy finish, medicine bottles, sauce and syrup bottles. Generally considered ok to use
  6. Polystyrene/Styrofoam: includes disposable foam plates, cups and packing materials. Do not cook food or put hot food onto these plastics. Avoid where possible!
  7. All other plastics not included in the other categories and mixes of plastics 1 through 6 are labeled with a 7, including BPA containing products and some baby bottles. PLA (polymer polylactide) is a plastic made from plants that is also labeled with a 7. PLA plastics don't contain BPA; no safety concerns have been raised about using PLA plastic with food. It’s difficult to tell the difference between a PLA no. 7 plastic and a BPA containing no. 7 plastic. Some PLA plastics may also say "PLA" near the recycling symbol. Others may have a leaf symbol near the recycling symbol. Do not cook food in plastics that aren't PLA and avoid using these plastics around any type of food. Office water coolers tend to use reusable plastic bottles made from polycarbonate, no. 7, which contain BPAs. Avoid where possible!
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