Recognize the Differences in 7 Plastic Types and Their Dangers

Hyundai Motorstudio Senayan Park 2022.05.18
Recognize the Differences in 7 Plastic Types and Their Dangers
It's not new news that plastic has become a part of our lives, isn't it? Starting from eating & drinking utensils, household furniture, to building materials, and many more roles of plastic in daily activities.

Even though it looks like a product in general, there are many reasons why there are various plastic types that are quite harmful to health. This is because plastic has "leaching" properties or can be dissolved in water. Plastic particles that are invisible to the eye can enter the soil or water sources. This has a bad impact on health.

Therefore, it is important for us to learn what plastic types are and their dangers to health. You may often see, is there a combination of letters and numbers under the plastic bottle? Well, this number shows the type of plastic that makes the product.

But, do you know what plastic type to avoid? And.. What kind of plastic has the most potential to damage the environment? To answer that, let's look at the full review, okay?

7 plastic type that are commonly found today

At least, there are about 7 plastic types in modern times today. Among others: 

1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET/ PETE or Polyester)

PET is also known as wrinkle-free fiber. Unlike the plastic bags we usually find in supermarkets. PET is widely used for food and beverage packaging purposes. Because of its strong ability to prevent oxygen from entering and damaging the contents of the product.

PET is also able to keep the carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks safe. However, PET is most likely produced from a recycling program. This type of plastic contains antimony trioxide, a substance that is considered a carcinogen, which causes cancer in living tissue.

For example, mineral water that is left too long in a PET container. Then the greater the possibility of mixed antimony substances. Warm temperatures in cars, garages, and other closed storage can also increase the potential for the release of harmful antimony substances.

2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

When compared to PET, HDPE is denser, stronger, and thicker. HDPE is usually used for grocery bags, fruit juice bottles, milk bottles, shampoo bottles, and medicine bottles.

Not only can it be recycled, HDPE is relatively safer than PET. No wonder HDPE is considered a more ideal choice for food and beverage packaging.

However, there are some studies showing that HDPE can release chemical additives such as estrogen that can interfere with human hormones when exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun.

3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is commonly used for toys, detergent bottles, blood bags, medical tubes, blister packs, and more. PVC or vinyl used to be the most widely used plastic resin in the world, after Polyethylene.

However, PVC is declared a cause of serious health risk and environmental pollution problems. In terms of toxicity, PVC is also considered the most dangerous plastic. Its use can dissolve a variety of toxic chemicals. Such as cadmium, mercury, dioxin, lead, phthalates, and BPA (bisphenol A).

Some of these chemicals can trigger cancer, allergies, and hormonal system disorders. That is why PVC should be avoided.

4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Next, there is a type of plastic in the form of LDPE. Polyethylene is the most widely used type of plastic in the world. Consists of a plastic polymer chemical structure that is easy and inexpensive to process.

This type of LDPE plastic has the general properties of being thinner and more flexible. Usually, it is used for grocery bags, dry cleaning bags, bread bags, frozen food bags, newspapers, trash, plastic wrap, linings for paper milk cartons, and hot/cold drink cups.

In addition, LDPE is also commonly found for squeezable bottle containers such as honey, mustard, yogurt, and so on. LDPE is considered a safer type of plastic for food or beverages. Unfortunately, this type of plastic is difficult to recycle.

5. Polypropylene (PP)

Women may be familiar with this type of plastic. Yes, polypropylene is one type of plastic that is usually used for sanitary napkins. Including baby disposable diapers.

Even so, polypropylene is also widely used for hot food containers. Because it is heat resistant, tends to be stiff, and strong. Just like LDPE, polypropylene is considered a type of plastic that is safe for food and beverage use.

Of the various advantages, the lack of polypropylene is that it can trigger asthma, hormonal disorders, and is difficult to recycle.

6. Polystyrene (PS)

If you hear the term polystyrene (PS), you may feel foreign. But, if you mention the term styrofoam, of course you know more, right? Yes, polystyrene (PS) is better known as styrofoam. Commonly used for food containers, egg cartons, disposable cups or bowls, product packaging, as well as bicycle helmets.

When exposed to hot and oily food, PS plastic can release styrene. Namely, a substance that is considered toxic to the brain and nerves of the body. In addition, styrene substances can affect the lungs, liver, genes, and body immunity. After all, PS also has a low recycling rate, so it's not recommended by environmentalists.

7. Polycarbonate

Furthermore, other plastic type are polycarbonate or PC. Also known by other names such as macro clear, makrolon, and lexan. Polycarbonate or PC is rarely used today because it is associated with the dangers of BPA or Bisphenol A.

Previously, polycarbonate was widely used for sippy cups, baby bottles, gallons of water, canned food coatings, tomato sauce containers, and dental sealants. Due to its toxic effects, several countries have banned the use of PC for baby bottles and formula milk packaging.

It is feared the BPA contained in the PC will interfere with health. Such as chromosomal damage in the uterus, decreased male sperm production, early puberty, and various behavioral changes.

Thus our discussion of several plastic types and their negative impact. It is undeniable, the benefits of plastic are very large in life. However, keep your health and safety first, by avoiding the use of some of these plastic types. Good luck!