… A brief addendum to “What’s in Your Bottle?”
In light of some recent confusion surrounding a blog post detailing the heavy metal antimony, which is used in the production of Polyethylene terephthalate, often abbreviated as PET, I felt some clarification was needed on which types of plastics are deemed, “food safe.”
First and foremost, Food safety refers to the conditions and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and food-borne illnesses.
Generally, plastic types considered safe for food and drink are:
- – #2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene)
- – #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene)
- – #5 PP (polypropylene)
- – #1 PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
Risky plastics not safe for food and drink due to their potential to leach or have hazardous ingredients are:
- – #3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
- – #6 PS (polystyrene)
- – #7 other (usually polycarbonate, often labeled PC)
While PET is widely used and considered safe for soft drinks, water, bottling ketchup, salad dressings, peanut butter, pickles and a variety of other perishable foods, the potential for antimony, the heavy metal used as a catalyst in the production or PET and the potential for the metal to migrate from the surface of PET type plastic bottles into the fluid contained inside, is rarely, if ever mentioned.
It is not the PET type #1 plastic bottles themselves that pose a threat, but rather the antimony used in the production of these said bottles that if under the right heat conditions, can leach into the food substance contained inside.
Studies have shown that the larger the surface area, the greater the diffusion of antimony (0.5L bottles show higher concentrations than 2L bottles). And since e-juice bottles are small and sometimes carried in a person’s pocket or left in a hot car, there is a greater chance for this diffusion of antimony to occur. While the exact duration of exposure varies, studies show that migration from the surface of PET bottles into the fluid begins at temperatures from 99.86 Fahrenheit and greater.
For more information on what plastics are approved for food contact applications, visit the link here.
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