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Are 35mm Film Containers Safe for Using in Crafts?

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This is a popular question here and also at Kodak. Here is what the officials at Kodak have to say about using 33mm film containers for anything other than holding film:

"Over the years, Kodak has received numerous inquiries about the safety of using 35 mm plastic film containers for purposes other than storing film.

Because their sole purpose is to store film, the containers are not subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for materials that contact food or drugs nor Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirements for toys marketed to young children. Therefore, we do not recommend the use of film containers to store food, spices, vitamins, etc.. However, we have manufactured hundreds of millions of containers for many years without, to our knowledge, a single health-related complaint. To protect the film from contamination, Kodak quality standards require that the insides of the containers must be exceptionally clean. No 'toxic' materials leach out or offgas from the containers themselves.

The black film containers are constructed of virgin high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, a tough semi-rigid material commonly used for kitchen utensils, tools, toys, and numerous other applications. The gray container lid is made of low density polyethylene (LDPE), also a commonly used plastic. Note: Young children should not be allowed to play with the cap since it may represent a choking hazard.

Newspaper and magazine articles have mentioned 'toxic residues' in the containers which might come from the film. There are none. The chemicals in a roll of film are embedded in the gelatin emulsion layers (about as thick as a human hair) and do not rub off the plastic film base. The gelatin used in film is more highly refined than that used in common gelatin-based desserts.

The film base is triacetate plastic. Periodically, Kodak receives calls from customers concerned because their child or pet chewed on, or fully ingested, a quantity of film. The potential concern is not one of toxic poisoning, but rather of mechanical injury, such as laceration of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines from the sharp edges of the film. Chemicals in the film are in such low concentrations that the risk of an adverse health effect from the chemicals is much too low to accurately predict.

In summary: There are no 'toxic residues' in Kodak film containers. Because our film containers are not manufactured to comply with FDA or CPSC requirements, Kodak does not recommend the use of film containers for anything other than their intended manufactured purpose. However, if a customer chooses to use a Kodak film container for other than film storage, the container first should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. To eliminate the potential for choking or mechanical injury, film containers, film lids, and film cartridges should be kept away from small children and pets."

For more information you can visit Kodak's Web site.

Try some of the recycling crafts, including crafts made with film containers, posted on my Trash to treasures page.

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