Friday, July 17, 2009

How Safe are Plastic Water Bottles?

Here's a hot topic. Plastic Water Bottles. Are they SAFE? Or do they pose a danger to our health?

The chemical in question is bisphenol A - known as BPA - found in polycarbonate containers.

Here is a article contributed by Britney Wilkins who write for www.onlinecolleges.net :

This has become an interesting debate in modern society, as people become more and more worried about any contaminants that may be polluting their everyday lives. This has therefore resulted in the “green” movement in which many people have opted for products that do not contain any added preservatives, flocking towards more “natural” products on all ends of the spectrum. While there is no real way to get around the plasticity of water bottles aside from simply using a stainless steel container, you can take certain precautionary measures to ensure that you are not imbibing the harmful pollutants.

Water bottles are generally safe unless you plan to use and reuse them time and again. After so many rewashes, the ingredients that make up plastic, such as polyethylene terephthalate and antimony begin to leak out due to the degrading interior. Many moms and parents are trying to teach the importance of conservation to their children and have tried to reuse these plastic containers before realizing that this could cause more harm than good. Most plastic containers are stamped with a number on the bottom to indicate how to recycle or dispose of the plastic, with most water and juice bottles labeled as No. 1, indicating their easy ability to degrade upon multiple washes. In comparison, the harder Nalgene bottles have the number 7 stamped on the bottom, although scientists maintain that this form of plastic can leak out bisphenol A, an endocrine-disrupting chemical. While this is still in debate since the amounts found were well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards, other scientists maintain that this type of chemical could cause behavioral and neurological problems in developing fetuses and young children.

This poses many worries about the proper way to drink water: can we no longer use typical plastic water bottles? These findings are not meant to scare us off from our regular water bottle usage, but simply to remind us not to continuously wash and reuse the same water bottles. Once we start to overanalyze every form of plastic and the type of containers we use on a daily basis, we realize that there are contaminants in nearly everything, which makes it almost not worth it to worry about. While many of these findings have brought on increased amounts of worry within parents, the bottom line is to remember to only reuse plastic bottles a handful of times before you throw them out. If you want a container that has staying power, resort to the stainless steel bottles, although plastic still remains the best alternative and is much easier to tote around. (She welcomes your feedback at BritneyWilkins81@yahoo.com)

OK - interesting take on the BPA worries.

Here's some information just in from "Plastic News" July 20th 2009 issue:

The 6 major manufacturers of baby bottles have agreed NOT to make bottles containing BPA. Health Canada said it would draft regulations banning the import and sale of baby bottles containing BPA. Health Canada issued three separate reports 7/9/09 affirming the safety of bottled water, powdered infant formula and baby foods in glass jars with metal lids - all of which contain BPA.

Health Canada added that BPA levels in bottled water is negligible for the general population and that an adult would have to drink 264 gallons of water every day to approach the safe intake limit for BPA recently established in Canada.

Closer to home, in California, on 7/15/09 the California Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee voted 7-0 not to include BPA on the state list of toxic chemcials regulated by Prop 65.

Well - it is safe to say that the wheels are turning in North America - BPA is on the way out and the levels are very very low in current production containers. There is no level of BPA acceptable for infants - that seems clear.

What about the bottles you ARE drinking from right now? They are safe.

What about re-using a water bottle over and over? They are safe - but the reality is that I would worry more about what is in the refilled WATER than leaching out of the plastic container. After a few re-uses there is bound to be some amount of bacterial contamination in the water that is far more bothersome than a fractional amount of BPA. That bacteria comes from the air, your mouth, the food you eat and the air getting in the bottle when it's sitting around waiting for a refill.

So... I am only refilling my bottles ONCE - and toss the old ones in the recycle bin for cash.

3 comments:

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