Fact check No. 6: PET bottles and health

Especially on the Internet, it can frequently be read that PET could contain plasticisers or the hormone-like chemical bisphenol A. Both reservations are unfounded and are based on incorrect or misunderstood information.


The facts about plasticisers and bisphenol A:


Plasticisers ensure that brittle plastics become pliable and elastic. As a result, they can, for example, be used for the production of cables or sports shoes. On the other hand, no plasticisers are used for PET. On the contrary: Due to its material properties, PET is ideally suited to produce beverage containers. The addition of plasticisers would even impair this.

But why is there repeatedly talk of plasticisers in PET? Because there is a group of plasticisers that are called “phthalates” in the technical language – and they are often confused with a component of PET: terephthalic acid. Due to their hormone-like effect for many applications, phthalates are rightly at the focus of criticism. However, even if their names sound very similar: Phthalates and terephthalic acid are two completely different substances with different properties.


Bisphenol A, or BPA for short, is a basic substance used to manufacture polycarbonate and epoxy resins. As it can have a hormone-like effect, it has been at the focus of criticism for several years. The EU reacted to the controversial discussion by introducing a prohibition on using polycarbonate for baby bottles in 2011. On the other hand, BPA is not used for the production of PET.


That almost was it again – but we still have one fact check in stock. In the next article we’ll look into the question of why so much plastic waste ends up in the sea – and what each individual can do about it.