Possible Health Hazards with Plastic Water Bottles
Posted Dec 01 2009 10:00pm
Have you ever left your plastic bottle of water in a hot car and go back to drink it a few warm hours later? It sometimes tastes chemical-like doesn’t it? For years, the scientific community has wondered about the effects of the chemicals used to create these plastic bottles and how they can disturb the integrity of the product they house, whether it is juice, milk or water. Now they are certain. There is an ingredient in these plastic containers called bisphenol A or BPA that mimics the female hormone called estrogen.
This BPA ingredient can be found in countless products from printer ink and recycled paper to the lining of soda cans and even dental sealants. BPA is quite prevalent in a number of applications around the world, so there is no getting away from it. And unfortunately, when used for plastic water bottles, one of the largest risks of BPA exposure occurs. Mainly this is due to BPA’s vulnerability with heat. The heat reacts with the BPA, allowing the release of these chemical compounds in the food and drink. BPA can also be released through the groundwater when plastic bottles are dumped into landfills rather than being recycled.
How BPA Affects Your Health
Because BPA mimics natural estrogen, it is often classed as a foreign estrogen or xenoestrogens. It upsets the natural hormonal balance of both females and males of all ages and sizes, posing a number of health hazards. Women run a higher risk of developing tumors in the breasts and uterus while men may develop tumors in the prostate. These foreign estrogens target reproductive organs mainly and they can also cause fertility problems by creating non-viable eggs or sperm with low motility.
Pregnancy can be affected as well, sometimes causing developmental problems in fetuses. These babies may not exhibit problems until well into adolescence or puberty and these problems would not necessarily be directed attributed to the mom (or kid) drinking from harmful plastic bottles. It could be very well possible to hang some cases of hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities on BPA. After all, BPA is quite pervasive and can be found in thousands of products beyond the plastic bottles.
How to Avoid BPA
While it may be hard to avoid BPA in all products, you can become more diligent in banning it in containers used for food and drink. There are plenty of alternatives to purchasing plastic water bottles to quench your thirst each day. Invest in glass or stainless steel portable bottles and fill them with water from your own water supply. If you are worried about chemicals in your water supply, purchase a simple filter and voilá – a healthy drinking water solution without exposure to BPA. Plus, by using glass or stainless steel, you are also reducing your carbon footprint.
To ensure the health of your baby, purchase baby bottles and sippy cups that is deemed BPA-free right on the packaging. Also, if you buy infant formula, try to get the powdered kind you mix yourself rather than ready-made formulas found in bottles or cans. Remember, even cans have BPA because they are lined inside with a protective covering that contains this ingredient. This principle applies to soda pop and juices sold in cans as well.
When at all possible, use containers and purchase foods in packaging that could be made through non-chemical means. Plastic water bottles are the biggest culprit simply because water is the easiest thirst quencher and are packaged for convenience. Inconvenience yourself a bit and purchase your own containers and reduce your health risks.