Are PET Bottles Safe?

NAPCOR Reassures on PET Safety with Answers to Common Concerns

Sonoma, CA, September 25, 2007 – PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles have garnered a great deal of media attention recently, some of it raising questions about PET safety. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the trade group for PET packaging, it’s time to clear up any fallacies and set the record straight: Consumers can continue to rely on the safety of PET bottles.

If you drink a single-serve water or carbonated beverage from a plastic bottle, chances are you’re drinking it from PET, identified with a small number “1” or “PETE” on the container side or bottom. The PET bottle is a well-accepted package all over the world and is completely safe to drink from as well as lightweight, unbreakable, and recyclable.

But, can you safely freeze a PET bottle? Yes. There is no danger in the freezing of PET bottles, and no truth to the rumors that dioxins leach from frozen PET bottles. There is no dioxin in PET plastic. Dioxins are formed by combustion in incinerators at temperatures above 1700 degrees F. — and by volcanoes. Furthermore, freezing does not affect PET bottles.

Leave a PET bottle in your hot car? Yes. The idea that PET bottles “leach” chemicals when heated in hot cars is not based on any science, and is unsubstantiated by any credible evidence. This allegation has been perpetuated by emails until it has become an urban legend, but it just isn’t so.

Reuse a PET bottle? Yes. Just wash it first, as you would any other food or beverage container after use.

Do PET bottles contain “bis-phenol A” which some claim can cause birth defects? No. Bis-phenol A is not used to make PET, nor is it used to make any of the component materials used to make PET.

What about the chemicals called “phthalates? They are not in PET. In spite of the similarity of part of PET’s chemical name, PET is not the kind of “phthalate” that is being talked about. The type of “phthalate” about which concern has been raised is used to make various plastics more flexible, and in that role is called a “plasticizer.” PET does not contain plasticizers or the type of “phthalate” that is used in plasticizers.

What about Antimony? Antimony oxide is often used in extremely tiny amounts as a “catalyst” in the production of PET plastic. Its very low toxicity combined with very low extraction rate from PET translates to very, very low risk. Its use in PET does not endanger workers, consumers, or the environment.

NAPCOR Contacts: Dennis Sabourin (707) 996-4207, X13 or Kate Eagles, x16