I’ve been vaguely reading the hype regarding water bottles and a potential cancer link. Recently I decided to do some digging into the topic.
Here’s what I found:
BPA is the chemical causing the concern.
Bisphenol A is used to make hard clear water bottles (not the opaque ones), baby bottles, five-gallon water bottles and it is used to line the inside of some food cans.
Identifying BPA plastic containers:
If you pick up a plastic container it will have a triangle with a number in it. This identifies the type of plastic.
The Green Guide lists all plastics and their correlating recycling numbers (1-7), including those which may cause or are listed as potential carcinogens through the leaching out of chemicals.
By the way, those listed to avoid are:
#3 PVC Polyvinyl chloride. Used for clear cling wraps.
#6 PS Extruded polystyrene. Used to make Styrofoam.
#7 PC Polycarbonate which contains BPA.
Recent concerns regarding BPA:
- “National Toxicology Program, an office within the National Institutes of Health, acknowledged in a draft report that the chemical might cause cancer and other serious disorders. The chemical mimics estrogen in the human body, scientists say.” Source: The Washington Post.The report also indicates the chemical BPA may have effects on fetuses, infants and children at current exposure levels.
- Per the May 2008 issue of Consumer Reports: In 2005, 109 of 119 recent research studies showed harmful effects from low level exposure of BPA. The 11 studies which found no harm were conducted by chemical companies. The FDA response was to claim no indication of safety concerns and was based on two chemical company research results.
- Degradation of the plastic increases leaching of BPA. Degradation is caused by heat, and chemicals, and acidic materials (like apple juice). Avoid sun exposure, and utilizing the dishwashers.
In the meantime, it is recommended that consumers utilize a stainless steel water bottle, not unlike this one that supports breast cancer, that is available on Amazon.com for less than six dollars.
Or per recommendations from Consumer Reports, use plastic bottles that are considered safe: those without the #7 PC markings or those with the ” recycling codes 1 (PET) or 2 (HDPE), and polypropylene, 5 (PP). ”
Or stick to glass containers.
Headline News on this topic:
The Washington Post, April 19, 2008. Canada Bans BPA from Baby Bottles. “Canada yesterday became the first country to ban a widely found chemical from use in baby bottles, spurring a leading Democrat in the U.S. Senate to call for legislation that would prohibit use of bisphenol A, or BPA, in a number of everyday consumer products.”
FoxNews, April 18, 2008. Company Says It Will Pull Water Bottles Made With Bisphenol-A From Stores. “The company says it is responding to increasing consumer concern over bisphenol, an ingredient known as B-P-A, and whether the chemical poses a health risk. The manufacturer says it will substitute its Nalgene Outdoor bottles, a line that does not contain B-P-A.”
ABC News, YouTube , Chemical Threats in Plastics.
Bisphenol A Free Portal provides the latest information on Bisphenol A and baby products.