Always do your best to avoid plastics that contain toxic chemicals, like Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates.
Plastic #4 is low-density polyethylene or LDPE, and it's your safest bet, while plastic #3 is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It's widely used because it's cheap, durable, and easy to assemble. PVC is less safe because it's made with vinyl chloride, which is cancer-causing. It also poses serious environmental and health threats at all stages of its lifecycle — from manufacturing to use to disposal.
The good news is that safer and cost-effective alternatives are already available for virtually every PVC product out there, including baby products.
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You can find PVC-free teethers, pacifiers, bibs, bath toys, and even Halloween costumes. The Centre for Health, Environment and Justice suggests this jingle to help you remember: "bad news comes in threes, don't buy PVC."
If your plastics are BPA- and phthalate-free, it's likely as safe as it gets.