Toxic bottles: what are we really drinking?
Through different diet trends, one thing has always remained constant: Drinking water is an important part of any diet and exercise plan. Increased water consumption has been linked to improved circulation, clearer skin and improved digestion, all of which contribute to feeling healthy and happy. Water bottle lovers everywhere—the whole Fiji-toting, Nalgene-sipping, Dasani-drinking bunch—have reason for concern.
The plastics used in the production of these water bottles, polycarbonate, releases a chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA). The release of BPA is further increased after several usages and exposure to hot water. BPA acts as a xenoestrogen, which means it mimics the hormone estrogen, but due to its foreign properties is even more harmful when ingested in excessive amounts. High amounts of xenoestrogens disrupt normal endocrine function and in large quantities can contribute to harmful health effects, including birth defects, miscarriages and pre-diabetes conditions.
The endocrine system is comprised of several organs responsible for regulating metabolism, growth, development, tissue function and mood through the secretion of hormones. In 2006, it was discovered that BPA has the ability to interact with estrogen receptors. In studies conducted with animals, these toxins caused miscarriages, insulin regulating issues, a variety of cancers, mental retardation and gender confusion. At the time, scientists feared that BPA, in large quantities, could be responsible for the same ailments in humans.
Since then, several studies have been done to investigate the situation, including the most recent study conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On August 15, 2008, the FDA released a draft assessment of bispehnol A in food-contact plastic products such as baby bottles, water bottles and other containers. This study reaffirmed the safety of the products. Still, several companies, including Nalgene, have chosen the pro-active route and have gone ahead to create BPA-free bottles.
So what do I think? After conducting the research for this article, I have been inclined to alter my habits. While I have not suspended my use of regular water bottles, I have significantly reduced their use when possible, and I recently purchased a BPA-free Nalgene.
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