Thursday, December 10, 2009

Plastic Bottles...Not So Good To Reuse Afterall

Over and over again we hear about the importance of not putting things to waste which is why every so often you may see people refilling and reusing plastic bottles. With all this talk of recycling and not throwing anything away that can be reused, we may think that reusing bottles is a great idea. The reality is that it's not. In fact it can even cause many health problems to unsuspecting consumers assuming they're doing a good thing.

Studies have shown that drinks stored in such certain water bottles can contain a trace amount of Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, a synthetic chemical that interferes with the body’s natural hormonal messaging system. With the repeated re-use of such bottles due to wear and tear and excessive washing chemicals can increasingly leak out of the tiny cracks in the bottles that have developed over excessive use. According to Environment California Research and Policy Center BPA has been linked to breast and uterine cancer, an increased risk of miscarriage, and decreased testosterone levels. Not only that but due to BPA being found in most bottles and sippy cups, it can also get into and affect a child's system. In small dosages BPA has no harmful immediate effect on the body but the real concern is the long term effects due to eventual accumulation.

This is in no way trying to tell anyone to not try to find a way to recycle. The idea or finding a reuseable bottle is a resourceful and inexpensive thing to do. The important thing it to look at what the water bottle material is made of. If made out of polyethylene terephthalate, which is commonly referred to plastic #1 on bottles, it is only safe for one time use. Studies show that it may leak DEHP, a human carcinogen, harmful to anyone. Another bad bottle material is polyvinyl chloride/PVC, also referred to as plastic #3. This material can leak hormone disrupting chemicals into the liquid contents of bottles they are storing and will release synthetic carcinogens into the environment when incinerated. Polystyrene/PS, also referred to as plastic #6 has been shown to leak human carcinogen, styrene, into food and drinks as well. With this list of "bad" bottles one might thing what are the good bottles to drink from. Safer options are to look for plastics bottles made from materials such as high-density polyethylene, HDPE, known as plastic #2, low-density polyethylene ,LDPE, known as plastic #4 or polypropylene, PP, known as plastic #5. The best choice is an aluminum bottle, which can be found at most health food stores, and can even be recycled when done with.

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