Sunday, August 14, 2011

Safe plastic drinking water bottles -- Is my water bottle safe?

Safe plastic drinking water bottles seem to be what everybody is looking for. 

We all know how important plastic material has become. We use it everyday in our compact discs and DVDs, mobile phones, computers, and in so many things we use everyday. The moment you wake up, plastic is one of the first things you see. It’s in your home, your place of work, the gym, your favorite park, your school, and practically everywhere!  

Imagine your day without plastic. Kinda tough, right?

But these days more and more people are questioning if plastic, when used to store the water we drink, is safe.

To know this, we need to know what our plastic bottles are made of.  Each bottle is marked with a number inside a recycling symbol. This number is key to knowing what’s inside your bottle so start flipping them over, know what harm they can cause you and which ones are safe plastic drinking water bottles.

#1 PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
  • Used for most water and soda bottles
  • Leaches phthalates that are known carcinogens.  They are known to cause endocrine disruption, reduced sperm counts, testicular atrophy, and structural abnormalities in the reproductive systems of male test animals. They are also linked to liver cancer.
#2 HDPE (High density polyethylene)
  • Used for cloudy milk and water jugs and opaque food bottles
  • Leaches bisphenol A (BPA) linked to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity. 
  • Studies of water samples from #2 bottles showed elevated levels of barium and zinc. High levels of barium can affect the nervous system and cause cardiac arrythmia, while excessive zinc can prevent iron and copper absorption.
#3 PVC or V (Polyvinyl chloride)
  • Used in some cling wrap, soft beverage bottles, plastic containers, plumbing pipes, children’s toys, vinyl windows, shower curtains, shades and blinds, and many more items
  • Polyvinyl chloride can cause cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, chronic bronchitis, ulcers, skin diseases, deafness, vision failure, indigestion, and liver dysfunction. It is also linked to asthma symptoms in young children and environment and autism spectrum disorders. 
  • It also leached phthalates (see #1)
#4 LDPE (Low density polyethylene)
  • Used in plastic grocery bags, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags, and flexible lids
  • LDPE is not considered a carcinogen or endocrine disruptor. However, it leaches small amounts of BPA (see #2)
#5 PP (Polypropylene)
  • Used in yogurt cups, some baby bottles, screw-on caps, toys, drinking straws
  • Considered one of the safest plastics for human health as it is not known to leach any chemicals
#6 PS (Polystyrene)
  • Used in egg cartons, foam meat trays, clear take out containers, plastic cutlery, toys, cups, CD containers
  • Leaches the solvent styrene that is known to adversely affect the central nervous system. It also leaches benzene that can cause digestive problems, harm bone marrow, and the immune system, and cause a decrease in red blood cells that can lead to anemia. It has also been linked to low birth weights in animals.
#7 Other (usually Polycarbonate)
  • Used in 5-gallon water bottles, some baby bottles, and lining of metal food cans
  • Leaches bisphenol A (BPA) linked to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity. 

Safe plastic drinking water bottles can be difficult to find but many plastic alternatives are becoming more and more available now. Bio-plastic water bottles or bottles made from plants are also trickling into the market. But some are saying that companies producing these alternatives are only “greenwash” because producing these bottles requires more material to produce and are not really recyclable. 

Meanwhile, stainless steel metal or glass containers are safer alternatives. Better yet, a greener action is to avoid drinking bottled water altogether.

To know more about how you can reduce toxins in your home, check out this book about making your house clean and safe.

Ask yourself, is your water bottle safe?  Know what they are made of and see if you are using safe plastic drinking water bottles.

Information on plastic bottles, thanks to AZGreen Magazine.
Photo thanks to http://www. stevendepolo/

No comments: