Are HDPE plastic bottles safe?

Are All Plastics Bad?

We have encountered some misinformation that we think consumers should be aware of. A couple of our competitor websites are saying that liquid supplements bottled in plastics are absorbing the toxins from the plastic, and these toxins are then being ingested by unknowing consumers. This is simply false, inaccurate, irresponsible, and clearly uninformed.

And here's why in a nutshell:

Dangerous and harmful plastic containers are made of polycarbonate, or polyvinyl chloride, and contain an additive called Bisphenol A (BPA). But not all plastics contain BPA. There is another class of plastic, used specifically for consumables, which are made of entirely different components, all of which are non-toxic. This non-toxic type of plastic is called HDPE. You can be certain that no toxins will ever be leached from these types of bottles because no toxic materials are contained in their composition. HDPE bottles do NOT contain any BPA.

HDPE is the type of bottles used for all Vital Earth's liquid supplements, as well as 90% of all health food store products. This is not new. Reputable supplement manufacturers have been protecting consumers against harmful BPA for years now. To repeat, there is no BPA in Vital Earth Minerals' bottles.

We'll admit that BPA is so widely used in modern life that it is appalling. But you can be assured that our bottles are at least one place you will NOT find it.

If any other manufacturer disputes this information, please ask them to show you the specific scientific studies that show Bisphenol-A, polycarbonate, or polyvinyl chloride is in the composition of HDPE bottles. All plastics are not alike.

About Vital Earth's bottles: HDPE

The specific type of bottles Vital Earth uses are made of an organic composition, are certified by the FDA, and are approved under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. They do NOT contain BPA (Bisphenol-A), and are not made from polycarbonate, polystyrene, phthalates, or polyvinyl chloride.

Vital Earth Minerals' bottles are HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene); they are recommended by The Green Guide, and are certified safe and guaranteed NOT to transfer anything toxic into the product because they don't contain anything toxic. In fact the Green Guide even recommends HDPE for baby bottles - that's how safe they are.

In independent lab tests done by certified facilities, HDPE has passed rigorous testing using acid leaching agents, in extreme high heat conditions. HDPE was found to be so non-reactive that no chemicals, toxins, or foreign materials whatsoever, in any form, were detected in the contents of the bottle. This isn't surprising since the composition of the bottle does not contain any of these things.

HDPE bottles come from technology developed specifically to deal with the issue of transference of toxins from the bottle to the consumable product it contains. Rigorous documented testing of HDPE bottles under the most extreme circumstances has proved this again and again. HDPE bottles are made from polyethylene, or polypropylene, NOT polycarbonate.

So, how safe are they? Completely! It would be impossible to find any concrete, scientific, documented evidence that HDPE bottles pose any risk at all - because they are documented to be safe.

How does a manufacturer know the composition of the bottles they buy?

Before any respectable manufacturer ever purchases a single bottle they scrutinize the bottle manufacturer's "Material Safety Data Sheet". This is a legal certification of the physical/chemical properties, human health data, exposure controls, handling and storage, materials stability and reactivity, toxicological information, regulatory information and more. From this and other information we know exactly what our bottle is composed of, the certifications it carries, and the rigorous tests that were performed on it that guarantee its safety.

How does a manufacturer decide which type of plastic to use for their product?

The choice of which type of plastic is used for a consumable product is based on whether it will have a one-time use, multiple use, (like storage containers), whether it will be heated and how hot the plastic may get, the properties of the specific food coming in contact with the plastic (acidic tomatoes for example), how long the food will be in stored in the plastic, etc. Health and safety conscious manufacturers will most certainly evaluate their product and select the safest possible option.

BPA and acidity

Yes, BPA is highly dangerous and should be avoided, but there is another menacing aspect of BPA that is now being recognised. This is the reaction caused when high acidity foods come in contact with BPA. High acidity foods draw BPA out of polycarbonate, or polyvinyl chloride containers and directly into the food itself. (Remember there is NO BPA in HDPE containers).

Before we go any further we would like to remind, and assure, our customers that all Vital Earth mineral products are alkaline, not acidic. This is one of the unique features of Vital Earth's minerals. Many of our competitor's mineral products are highly acidic due to their harsh chemical processing methods used during extraction.

So, the acidity level of a product is also a factor in considering what type of packagine must be used for the optimum safety of consumers. This is why there is so much controversy about acidic foods, such as tomatoes, in cans with the white resin (BPA) liner. Acidic products are at an especially high risk of drawing more of the BPA into the food from the white resin lining of the can.

To recap:

  • All Vital Earth products are bottled in HDPE bottles (BPA free)
  • All Vital Earth minerals are alkaline - not acidic


A crash course on the different types of plastics:

Clearly, the concern over dangerous plastics centers mainly around the additive Bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It can be found in hard plastics like toys, disposable silverware, styrofoam products, (egg cartons), clear plastic food storage containers, clear plastic and reusable drink bottles, the white enamel lining of cans used for foods such as tomatoes, pumpkin, beets, certain types of thermal paper receipts, protective eye wear, epoxy resins used to make powder coating for steel furniture, metal roofing, gardening tools, and so much more. It's true that it is used extensively, and that it should absolutely be avoided.

BPA (Bisphenol A) has been linked to breast, prostate, and uterine cancer, decreased testosterone, Type II Diabetes, Attention Deficit Disorder, and more. Federal health agencies have found that 95% of people tested had levels of BPA in their system. (This is exactly why having a strong immune system is so important)

BPA is a class of chemicals known as endocrine-disruptors. It mimics the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and alters the normal function of genes. It is also linked to the early onset of puberty in girls, obesity and behavioral problems. It is thought to be the cause of serious reproductive disorders. There is a massive amount of information available on the internet about BPA. It is clearly proven to be very dangerous to human health and should never come in contact with anything a human might consume. But, it’s not a perfect world... unfortunately, products containing BPA are still widely sold.

How to identify harmful plastics used for foods:

The easiest way to identify the type of plastic is to look for the recycling symbol and/or the alphabetic designation stamped on the bottom of the container.

The recycling symbol is located on the bottom of containers. It is a medium triangle that has a number stamped inside the triangle. The number tells you what type of plastic it is. Some bottles, such as the one Vital Earth Minerals uses, also have an alphabetic designation. For example, Vital Earth’s bottles say “HDPE”.

Once you learn which plastics are which, with a glance at the recycling symbol, or the alphabetic designation on the bottom of the container, you can easily limit your exposure to BPA by simply not using them.

If there is nothing stamped on the bottom of the bottle, then we suggest you don't buy it - it's anybody's guess what it's made of. And, NEVER use plastics in an unsafe way, such as refilling a #1 recyclable bottle, which are designed to be used only once.  

Carefully choose the plastics you use by looking at the recycling symbol on the package.  

Worst Plastics: (Contains BPA (Bisphenol A) which can be leached into the consumable product)

  • #3 Recycling symbol: Polyvinyl chloride (vinyl or PVC) - (generally not recyclable)
  • #6 Recycling symbol: Polystyrene
  • #7 Recycling symbol: (Polycarbonate)

Mediocre Plastic: (contains BPA which is released over time)

  • #1 Recycling symbol– Designed for one-time use only.
  • Also labeled as PETE (Polyethyl Tetra Ethelene)

This is the type of bottle that water is usually sold in. Do not refill this bottle - the chemical bond breaks down over time, and then can transfer BPA into the liquid. Many people who are concerned about the environmental impact of using a bottle only once and then throwing it away will refill #1 bottles. We don’t recommend this because over time, as they are tumbled around in your car, become dented, etc. BPA is released. We suggest you avoid buying #1 bottles whenever possible, and switch to refillable HDPE, stainless steel or glass bottles, a much better alternative for both you and the environment.

Safe Plastic: (made from safe, polyethylene, or polypropylene)

  • #2 Recycling symbol: (HDPE- High Density Polyethylene)
  • #4 Recycling symbol: (LDPE-Low Density Polyethylene)
  • #5 Recycling symbol: (Polypropylene)

How to get the most harmful plastics out of your life:

  • Switch to a HDPE or LDPE, stainless steel or glass refillable water bottle for personal use
  • Use glass or ceramic storage and heating containers in your kitchen, instead of plastics.
  • Avoid all clear, hard shell plastic reusable containers, including the big 5 gal. bottles that sit on water dispensers, unless you check with the supplier to make sure they’re BPA free.
  • Never feed your baby from a plastic baby bottle, unless it's made from plastics that don't leach BPA, like polypropylene or polyethylene (HDPE). Or, switch to glass or stainless steel.

Don't take our word for it ... Learn the facts yourself and make the best choices

And by "facts" we mean scientific data from reputable current studies, respected researchers, government agencies and industry experts. If a web site is warning you about some terrible danger but doesn't give you specifics, and directs you to articles and studies that are several years old, or articles that only relate to their scare topic in a vague way - and they are suggesting that you buy their product instead...let this be a RED FLAG warning to you. If a manufacturer has a valid product benefit they shouldn't have to scare you to make their point.

We fully acknowledge that priceless information can be gleaned from the opinions and experiences of " real people" who reveal their life experiences to help others. But at the same time, for every compelling and useful real life experience, there are dozens of self promoting hucksters, or charlatans out there with a personal agenda. With that in mind, we suggest that you simply look at the facts and decide for yourself.


Everybody is exposed to toxins in one form or another...

Let's face it, we live in a world where we're surrounded by chemical toxins of some form or another. They are in our clothing, carpet, furniture, foods, and just about everywhere. Whatever toxins you do inevitably pick up from your environment, and the many harmful plastics we are surrounded by, remember that it's the people who have the strong immune systems who are least affected.

If you consciously limit your exposure to harmful substances, live a healthy lifestyle, drink pure water, eat unprocessed food, and supply your body with the nutrients it needs to maintain strong cells, it will prove helpful in fighting off the environmental challenges you encounter.

Nature provides us with many substances that naturally remove toxins from the body. Supplementing with formulas known to flush toxins can be important for maintaining normal healthy immune system function, and building strong healthy cells. Be aware of your diet and make an effort to mitigate the dangerous effects of the harmful plastics, chemicals and the many food additives we encounter daily.

More Plastics info :

The health dangers of reusing plastic bottles and bags: