May 29, 2009
A newly released study has shown that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of urinary Bisphenol A (BPA), and thus suggests that drinking containers made with BPA release the chemical into the liquid that people drink in sufficient amounts to increase the level of BPA excreted in human urine. The study was done through the Harvard School of Public Health.
Translation:Plastic refillable water bottles are leaching toxic chemicals into your clean drinking water.
Here is the very sad and scary part: In addition to polycarbonate bottles, which are refillable and a popular container among students, campers and others and are also used as baby bottles, BPA is also found in dentistry composites and sealants and in the lining of aluminum food and beverage cans. (In bottles, polycarbonate can be identified by the recycling number 7.) Numerous studies have shown that it acts as an endocrine-disruptor in animals, including early onset of sexual maturation, altered development and tissue organization of the mammary gland and decreased sperm production in offspring. It may be most harmful in the stages of early development.
“We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA’s endocrine-disrupting potential,” said Karin B. Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study.
Sippy cups and baby bottles containing BPA’s have been banned in Canada already. Many states are considering banning it, too, so this study comes at a very auspicious time. It has been shown that drinking hot liquids or heating plastic bottles can cause even more leaching. A related article reveals the work of Scott Belcher, PhD and a team at University of Cinncinnati which details the impact of heat on the plastic leaching and the suspicions the scientific community has about the toxic effects on humans.
Hats off to first author Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student in the department of epidemiology at HSPH and Karin Michels.