Debra Lynn Dadd

Q&A

Toxic Plastic Water Bottles

Dear Debra ~

I have bottled water delivered that is filtered in many ways to produce pure H2O -- I am concerned about this pure water absorbing higher levels of plastic and the type of plastic. The delivery company states:

"If you are wondering about plastics leaching into the water then please read on. Any kind of plastic is susceptible to leaching into the water. Polycarbonate is a much harder plastic than PET, therefore the leach rates are much lower. The only container that doesn't leach anything into the water is glass - which is not widely available because of the danger factors mentioned above.

The reality is that the leach rates from polycarbonate are far below government guidelines. There were a few kooky studies (that have never been able to be replicated by anyone other than the original author) that said that leaching was a major issue with certain types of bottles. Those studies have been discredited numerous times but internet links remain.

One of the building blocks of polycarbonate is a plastic called bisphenol-a. If you're highly inquisitive or have a scientific background, I would suggest that you visit the following website. It has a ton of real, scientifically verifiable information on the topic. www.bisphenol-a.org/"

The studies are contradictory and I am concerned about the interests behind the large scale studies that were performed.

I would like to know your position on BPA and these polycarbonate bottles for water [Note: polycarbonate bottles are used for single-serving sales of bottled water too. --D] Also, is there a level that may be acceptable?

P.D.
USA

You're question poses one of those common dilemmas that often come up when choosing nontoxic products: Who do we believe and how do we choose?

I went to the website with "a ton of real, scientifically verifiable information" on BPA. The purpose of that website seemed to be to prove that BPA is safe.

I also went to the website maintained by the authors of Our Stolen Future: How We Are Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence and Survival, who are continuously searching the scientific literature for information on endochrine disruptors. The Our Stolen Future page on bisphenol-a gives a whole page of links to scientific studies that show that BPA damages the endocrine system in a variety of ways.

My position is always "better safe than sorry," particularly when there are other options.

You ask if there is a level of leaching that may be acceptable. To who? A healthy male? A woman? A child? The elderly? And how would you know how much leaching has occurred in the water? It could easily vary from day to day depending on how long the water had been in the bottle, whether or not the sun was shining on the bottle in the delivery truck, and a variety of other factors.

I'm concerned enough about the possible danger of BPA that I am no longer purchasing bottled water in plastic bottles.

My best recommendation is to get a good water filter that is right for your water and filter your water at home. That way there is no questionable leaching at all. Even though this may be expensive, it is one of the best investments you can make in your health and will save thousands of dollars in medical expenses in the long run.

It's also important to remember that we constantly are making trade-offs in order to get the best benefits. If your choice was to drink this pure water in the polycarbonate bottle or drink tap water, I would say drink the pure water in the polycarbonate bottle. If you had the choice to purchase your own water filter, I would say that it would be better still. If the choice was drink tap water or no water at all, I would say drink the tap water.

For those of you who carry or purchase water in the small, single-serving polycarbonate bottles, you can purchase plastic-free refillable bottles.

It's a good idea, particularly in the summertime, to carry clean water with you, as your body needs water throughout the day for good health. The Mayo Clinic suggests you divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces of water every day. So if you weigh 128 pounds, that would be 64 ounces or 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day. It's better to carry your own clean water in a safe container than drink tap water or water in a plastic bottle.

 

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