Microwaving #1 PETE plastic containers causes antimony leaching

Posted on November 1st, 2010 Dan

Most informed consumers know by now that microwaving plastic containers is a no-no, due to leaching of bisphenol-A, pthalates, dioxin, and other harmful chemicals. Well now you can add the toxic heavy metal antimony to that list of reasons not nuke plastic containers, as if you needed any more.

Antimony and other metals are used as catalysts in the production of #1 PETE (Polyethylene Terepthalate), and a recent study conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology, published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Aug 2010 (abstract on PubMed) showed significant leaching from heating plastic that exceeded US EPA’s maximum contaminant level.

The study also detected manufacturing process residue containing high levels of antimony, suggesting that all #1 plastic containers should be washed during manufacturing before filling, or by the consumer before use.

The CDC spells it out for us like we’re 5 years old:

Rats that drank very low levels of antimony for most of their lives died sooner than rats not drinking antimony. Rats eating high levels of antimony for a long time had liver damage and fewer red blood cells.

Rabbits that had very small amounts of antimony placed on their skin for less than 1 day had skin irritation. Small amounts of antimony placed in rabbit eyes resulted in eye irritation. Large amounts of antimony placed on rabbit’s skin resulted in death.


 

89 Responses to “Microwaving #1 PETE plastic containers causes antimony leaching”

  1. Read the abstract harder. I’m embarrassed for you, but at least you got some page impressions.

  2. It’s pretty straightforward so don’t try to flame bait me. YOU READ IT:

    SCOPE: Heavy metal contaminants in environment, especially in drinking water, are always of great concern due to their health impact. Due to the use of heavy metals as catalysts during plastic syntheses, particularly antimony, human exposure to metal release from plastic bottles has been a serious concern in recent years. The aim and scope of this study were to assess metal contaminations leaching out from a series of recycling plastic bottles upon treatments.

    METHODOLOGY: In this study, leaching concentrations of 16 metal elements were determined in 21 different types of plastic bottles from five commercial brands, which were made of recycling materials ranging from no. 1 to no. 7. Several sets of experiments were conducted to study the factors that could potentially affect the metal elements leaching from plastic bottles, which include cooling with frozen water, heating with boiling water, microwave, incubating with low-pH water, outdoor sunlight irradiation, and in-car storage.

    RESULTS: Heating and microwave can lead to a noticeable increase of antimony leaching relative to the controls in bottle samples A to G, and some even reached to a higher level than the maximum contamination level (MCL) of the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) regulations.

    In addition, washing procedure did contribute to the antimony leaching concentration for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The difference of antimony leaching concentration between washing procedure involved and no washing procedure involved (AC) was larger than zero for samples A to G. This interesting result showed that higher antimony concentration was detected in experiments with no washing procedures compared with those experiments with washing procedures.

    I’m embarrassed for you coming on here and failing to make any specific criticism. Instead you’re just generally attacking me. But now people can read exerpts from the abstract in the comments, so you didn’t actually waste my time.

  3. I have to add one more thing about this commentor “Rich.” I was wondering how Rich was so on-the-spot with fallacious arguments shortly after I published this, but after reading his profile on Reddit I realized he’s from the oil industry and either very brainwashed or directly working as a paid PR person.

    Unfortunately the web is infested with paid public relations and propaganda agents and fake blogs that are really corporate fronts. Social bookmark sites like Reddit and Digg are easily gamed with large blocks of IP addresses, which large corporations and governments possess.

    Just be aware that these characters will use any means at their disposal to manipulate public opinion, so take nothing at face value. Read all the source material cited, and look for corroborating evidence.

    I know we’re knee-deep in bullsh*t but let’s just keep on wading…

  4. I was just trying to say that you were sensationalizing a straightforward study. Thanks for the personal attacks on reddit though, nice touch.

  5. There’s nothing sensational about my post. I’m merly reporting what the study said, and making the OBVIOUS recommendation that people stop heating foods in plastic.

    You come in here and accuse me of not reading the abstract, which is a manipulative tactic to sway the opinions of readers who don’t click thru and read the abstract themselves.

    This is exactly the type of behiavor I expect to see from someone with ulterior motives, such as financial motives, or in your case, being psychologically invested in this bologna system combined with mental illness. (I won’t get into detail but this is from his own comments on Reddit)

    I just call it like I see it. I’m not perfect and I have no interest in attacking anyone. I don’t judge you based on your self-reported mental illness either. Since you came in here throwing around unsubstantiated accusations, I wanted to find out where you’re coming from.

  6. Blog readers don’t take my word for it, read the abstract. Stay safe.

    Abstract
    BACKGROUND, AIMS, AND

    SCOPE: Heavy metal contaminants in environment, especially in drinking water, are always of great concern due to their health impact. Due to the use of heavy metals as catalysts during plastic syntheses, particularly antimony, human exposure to metal release from plastic bottles has been a serious concern in recent years. The aim and scope of this study were to assess metal contaminations leaching out from a series of recycling plastic bottles upon treatments.

    METHODOLOGY: In this study, leaching concentrations of 16 metal elements were determined in 21 different types of plastic bottles from five commercial brands, which were made of recycling materials ranging from no. 1 to no. 7. Several sets of experiments were conducted to study the factors that could potentially affect the metal elements leaching from plastic bottles, which include cooling with frozen water, heating with boiling water, microwave, incubating with low-pH water, outdoor sunlight irradiation, and in-car storage.

    RESULTS: Heating and microwave can lead to a noticeable increase of antimony leaching relative to the controls in bottle samples A to G, and some even reached to a higher level than the maximum contamination level (MCL) of the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) regulations. Incubation with low-pH water, outdoor sunlight irradiation, and in-car storage had no significant effect on antimony leaching relative to controls in bottle samples A to G, and the levels of antimony leaching detected were below 6 ppb which is the MCL of USEPA regulations. Cooling had almost no effect on antimony leaching based on our results. For the other interested 15 metal elements (Al, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, As, Se, Mo, Ag, Cd, Ba, Tl, Pb), no significant leaching was detected or the level was far below the MCL of USEPA regulations in all bottle samples in this study. In addition, washing procedure did contribute to the antimony leaching concentration for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The difference of antimony leaching concentration between washing procedure involved and no washing procedure involved (AC) was larger than zero for samples A to G. This interesting result showed that higher antimony concentration was detected in experiments with no washing procedures compared with those experiments with washing procedures. Our study results indicate that partial antimony leaching from PET bottles comes from contaminations on the surface of plastic during manufacturing process, while major antimony leaching comes from conditional changes.

    CONCLUSION: The results revealed that heating and microwaving enhance antimony leaching significantly in PET plastic bottles. Plastic bottle manufacturers should consider the contaminations during manufacturing process and washing bottles before first use was strongly recommended to remove those contaminants.

    PMID: 20309737 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

  7. My bipolar diagnosis is a real thing, yup. Psychological investment? I don’t have a blog about this stuff, let alone amazon referrals to books, survival gear, etc related to … fear of “the other”

  8. Ah I see so antimony is the “other?”

    This site is not about fear at all. It’s about empowerment and freedom from corporate scum poisoning us for profit.

    My advertisements, or my “investments” don’t cause me to make false statements.

  9. Um, did it ever occur to anyone that PET bottles used for bottled water are NOT INTENDED for heating in the microwave? Who the heck would think of putting bottled water in the microwave anyway?

    Manufacturers need to care about intended use, not crazy misuse.

  10. Sally- Plastic bottles aren’t the only containers made of #1 PETE.

  11. I have experienced this first hand. I was born with jaundice and although my liver works, it is not fantastic. This leads to me not being able to process antimony as well as other people so over time it built up, without me knowing. My life was filled with asthma, allergies (severe), high cholesterol and triglycerides, digestive problems, blood vessel weakness, varicose veins, adult acne, auto-immune alopecia and more. As an experiment I cut any food or drink from my diet that had touched a #1 plastic. OUTSTANDING results. EVERYTHING went normal, EVERYTHING! I think many people are experiencing what I did.