Yikes, since this post is turning into a glass vs. plastic carboy post, I'll keep it going...1/ No health issues if you use food grade,ie. LHBS fermenters. However, a scratch in your bucket can harbor bacteria since plastic is porous. If the plastic takes on a smell that cannot be cleaned away, replace it. I replace a bucket after ~ 8 or 9 batches usually, not always. I buy 8 gallon plastic wine fermenter buckets for ~ $17(love 'em), and better bottles for beers where I occasionally use a secondary (barleywine, fruit beer,etc).
1) is there any health issues with using plastic fermentors? Any discernible tastes of plastic in the beer?
2) Would plastic be a tougher material vs. glass to maintain temps in my Igloo fermentor? (water and ice in an Igloo cooler)
2/ Not at all.
Ya know, I've heard that bacteria thing or years and I think it's hooey. Not only have I never had a problem, but I have a hard time imagining bacteria could hide somewhere that PBW and StarSan couldn't get to.
I'm starting to think the same way....clean and sanitize well and there are no problems with plastic. And my back thanks me...Just sayin'