9/26/11

Toxic Water Bottles

               In the last decade, there has been rapidly growing public concern surrounding the use of certain types of plastic water bottles due to the discovery that some plastics leach potentially harmful chemicals.  Most notably, bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates have been shown to leach from polycarbonate as well as other plastics and in turn contaminate beverages.  In animal studies, both compounds have produced reproductive health problems.  What’s more, BPA is a known endocrine disruptor and can therefore interfere with metabolic and developmental processes.  That said, all of the negative attention on plastic bottles and their associated toxicants seems to have generated unnecessary confusion in the public as it relates to discerning which plastics are toxic and which are safe.  Below, I have composed a list to reduce this confusion.  By simply looking at the recycling code on plastic products, this list will enable you to determine whether a plastic is safe.

  

........................................ Not known to contain BPA or phthalates, but contains antimony (a possible carcinogen*)     
     
   
........................................ Not known to contain BPA or phthalate 




........................................ May contain phthalates

        
........................................ Not known to contain BPA or phthalates

            
........................................ Not known to contain BPA or phthalates

 
........................................ Not known to contain BPA or phthalates
  

......................................... Contains BPA

            Note from the above list that Code 1 plastics contain a possible carcinogen (a carcinogen is a substance that causes cancer).  Code 1 plastics are generally used to manufacture single-use water bottles, peanut butter jars, mouthwash bottles, etc., and are characterized by their clear, smooth, flexible design.  With respect to Code 1 water bottles, because they can release antimony and other chemicals from their plastic, experts do not recommend using them for repeated use.  In fact, washing them can abrade the plastic and in turn lead to the release of more chemicals.  In general, if you’d like a bottle to reuse for drinking, which I recommend since it’s both healthier and cheaper, it’s best to abandon plastic all together.  I drink from a stainless steel bottle.  These bottles have become quite popular and are now sold almost everywhere!
            Code 7 plastics are shown in the picture above.  These polycarbonate plastics are characterized by their clear, hard, shatterproof design and are often used to make reusable water bottles.  While BPA-free bottles are now widely available, I personally remain skeptical of code 7 plastics as it is unclear as to what chemical has replaced BPA in the manufacturing process and to what extent this chemical might cause other health problems.

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                                                                                    -Shahir Masri






7 comments:

  1. Hi Shahir, this was a really fascinating article! I found it helpful that you made a list of the different types of plastics that contain possible carcinogen. It makes me wonder about the products I have at home. I also think it is a good idea to stop using plastic water bottles and start drinking from stainless steel bottles. Since water bottles have these chemicals in them, I hear it is also bad to leave water bottles in the car because the heat will melt the bottles which result in chemicals being released. Is this true?

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  2. Hello there, Shahir. Right when I saw the title, I knew that this article would be really beneficial to my everyday life and health. Seeing your compiled list of the types of plastics fascinated me about how many of them are questionable about the chemicals they contain. Recommending stainless steel bottles is a brilliant idea too. I think I'll try that besides drinking from those plastic water bottles. A thing I would like to know too is if air condition affects your health and the environment in any way at all. So, if you please do have the answer, may you write about this? Thanks in advance if you consider this. I'll keep checking back for updates on your blog.

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  3. This was a very interesting article to read these are some of the things I've heard about before but I fond this to be very informative. I like the fact that you put up a list of plastics to try and avoid using. I've also heard that if you heat up plastics they release chemicals as well, is that true? If so would it be all plastics? &wouldn't it make all plastics potentially harmful to our bodies and ecosystem? Since they've done a case study on how the chemicals effect animals, have they done one to see how harmful the chemicals are to humans? I think that would have a bigger impact with people knowing what happens to us and our bodies, and would bring more attention to the subject.

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  4. Why hello there Shahir. This article is absolutely amazing. I also feel very strongly about pesticides and all these chemicals found in plastic bottles. I don't think we should be drinking from plastic anyways! It's not natural. We need to do more natural things, such as drink river water and kill our own meat. All of these different drugs and chemicals they're putting in our food and drink is probably a government conspiracy to keep the man down. Luckily, you and I both know the truth. Also, I'd like to know the effect of chemicals within our food on our bodies, as well as how we can stop this government madness from occurring.

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  5. Hello, there shahir. I absolutely found this article informative and influential. I still can't believe that there is so much chemicals put into these bottles without the people knowing what they have. I believe that we should be able to know more information about products we buy. And luckily, know that I know about this madness I am able to inform my family and friends. I would like to know more about the side effects of what these chemicals can do to our bodies and how we can publicize this information further.

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