What’s in Your Bottle?

POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE— ever heard of it?  Chances are, you have not.

And this is not to say that you are not well-versed in the egregiously complicated language of chemistry because I’m sure you are. However, if you are like me (Lawd Jesus, I hope you are not like me), busy as all hell, sprinting through life, then you probably do not have time to flip your bottle upside down in order to see what type of plastic is being used. That, and you probably never gave it much thought… until now.

I’m just being honest people.

Patented in 1941, around the time my beloved father popped out of my grandmother’s womb, polyethylene terephthalate, commonly abbreviated as PET, has been used in synthetic fibers as a material for plastic bottles and food containers. This means, for over 75 years, for three-quarters of a century, PET has been widely used to bottle your soft drinks, your water… and yes, the very precious E Juice you vape at home, work and in your car.

So, now you are probably wondering what’s the big deal surrounding PET?

Well, according to The New York Times’ Alina Tugend,

The type of plastic bottle that typically holds water, soda and juice is made from polyethylene terephthalate, a petroleum-based material also known as PET that is labeled No. 1. “The trouble with reusing those plastic bottles is that each time they are washed and refilled they become a little more scratched and crinkly, which can lead them to degrade. That can cause a trace metal called antimony to leach out,” said Frederick S. vom Saal, a professor of biology at the University of Missouri who has studied plastics for years.

Which brings us to our next complicated word, ANTIMONY

What is antimony? Well, in short, antimony is a heavy metal used as a catalyst in the production of PET. It is not uncommon, actually it is very common to find detectable traces of antimony on the surface of film after production. Antimony is also toxic. Studies show that short-term exposure to antimony by inhalation results in effects on the skin and eyes. Respiratory effects, such as inflammation of the lungs, chronic bronchitis, and chronic emphysema are the primary effects noted from chronic exposure to antimony via inhalation. While antimony concentrates are regulated by two acts, the CFR Title 40 Part 141 Drink Water as well as CFR Title 21 Part 165 Food and Drugs at maximum contaminant levels of 0.006mg/L or 6 ppb— antimony has been shown to migrate from the surface of PET bottles into the fluid at elevated temperatures. Studies show leaching from 99.86F to over 176F.

Why are PET type bottles used and what does this mean for your PET type plastic E juice bottles?

Simply put, PET type plastic bottles are popular because they look and feel good aesthetically. Virtually translucent, PET bottles have a glassy look, are rigid, semi-squeezable and are a bit stronger compared to other grades of plastic. But with E juice bottles being small and often carried in a person’s pocket, left in a hot car, in the garage or held up at the local post office for days on end where temperatures often exceed 99.86 degrees Fahrenheit, the chance of antimony to leach into your vape juice is greatly increased.

You need not worry. We, the good folks at Mt Baker Vapor do not bottle our E Juice with PET type bottles, but rather employ low-density polyethylene type 4 bottles, commonly abbreviated as LDPE.

For more information on the different classification of bottles, see here.


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Andrew Figgs

Photography Major from Western Washington University . I joined MBV back in December 2014 and am happy to be working in an industry focused on helping others.

  • evan says:

    interesting information 🙂

  • tim says:

    you did not say at what concentration levels or what duration of exposure cause all of these scary medical conditions in people or mice.
    the new york times has been known to produce articles in the past through “journalists” with agendas in the anti-vape category.
    did you fact check or look elsewhere for supporting information while you cited only one source?

  • Mark Blankenship says:

    My Mt. Baker Vapor bottle is HDPE 2….

  • John Neblock says:

    Prior to the late seventies the vast majority of beverages were sold in glass, cardboard, HDPE, (milk for instance) or other materials like cans. The first big adopters of PET were the soda companies who were tired of dealing with the bottle deposit cycle. Bottled water had not become a “thing” yet with the exception of the Evian and Perrier and the like and those were still marketed in glass. The PET bottle has gotten much thinner over the years as well and I don’t reuse them. I prefer the LDPE bottles that Mt Baker uses.

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