Is Your Plastic Water Bottle Poisoning You?
You may not know for 20 years if your plastic water bottle is poisoning you.
Right now the FDA says only that it will keep monitoring data to see if the agency needs to take regulatory action. It could be 20 or 30 years before they truly know the effects on the human body from the toxins leached from plastic water bottles.
For now no serious action is being taken regarding the very serious health hazards presented by plastic water bottles, plastic food storage containers, and more.
Here’s why your plastic water bottle may be unsafe: Most bottled water comes in polyethylene terephthalate bottles, indicated by a number 1, PET, or PETE on the bottle’s bottom. While some scientists believe that these bottles are generally safe at room temperature, when they are stored at warm temperatures, the story changes.
When the bottles are warmed, they begin to quickly leach chemicals into the water. It doesn’t matter if the bottles are still sealed, of it it’s the bottle you’re carrying with you and drinking from throughout the day. Scientists agree that the bottle left in the hot car all day is dangerous – but how warm is too warm? And how warm were those bottles during shipment? How warm were they when they sat in a warehouse prior to shipment? You have no way to know.
According to Ken Smith, PhD and past chair of the American Chemical Society’s division of environmental chemistry, “Leaving bottled water out in the car changes the chemical equilibrium so that the materials from the plastic go into the water faster.”
Note that he didn’t say heat causes chemicals to go into the water, but that it causes them to go into the water faster.That would indicate that even if your bottled water has been refrigerated from the day it was bottled, chemicals are leaching into it.
In 2006 scientists in Germany found that antimony, a toxic material used in making PET, begins leaching into the water immediately. So the longer it sits in storage, the more toxic it becomes. High concentrations of antimony can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In the study, levels were found to be “safe” by EPA standards, but they admit that there have been no long term studies to determine if “safe” levels are really safe.
Then, the next year, a National Institutes of Health committee found that bisphenol A (BPA) may cause neurological and behavioral problems in fetuses, babies, and young children. A separate study found that adult exposure to BPA likely affects the brain, the female reproductive system, and the immune system. BPA is a chemical found in polycarbonate, which is used to make water cooler jugs, sport-water bottles, and other hard plastics.
Some plastics used for water bottles, along with some cosmetics and fragrances, shower curtains, and even baby toys, contain Phthalates.
Phthalates are under increasing scrutiny because they are endocrine disrupters. That means they block or mimic hormones and affect the body’s normal functions. The effects of exposure to these chemicals may add up – and studies are showing that when fetuses are exposed to high levels during critical developmental periods, the results can be devastating.
What about juices, milk, and soft drinks?
So far, I have not seen any studies or heard an outcry. But it stands to reason that if chemicals leach into your water from plastic containers, those plastics would also leach into any other beverage they hold.
Many experts are now recommending throwing away your plastic water bottles – and also ceasing to use plastics in your home for food storage. They recommend buying juices in metal or glass containers, or at the very least, transferring them to glass containers as soon as you get them home.
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