Nalgene and many other water bottles contain bisphenol A, or BPA.
So what is so dangerous about BPA?
BPA can mimic the sex hormone estrogen. The body can’t tell the difference between BPA and estrogen produced naturally, and both can activate the same receptors. To make matters worse, high estrogen levels in the body can lead to cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study in 2007 that found BPA in 93% of the 2,517 people sampled. These results show that many Americans have been exposed to levels of BPA. Expectant mothers and children are especially at risk because BPA exposure can interfere with development.
Exposure to small amounts of BPA is unavoidable. It is everywhere in our environment from the air we breathe to the dust on our shelves.
The Food and Drug Administration and the plastics industry (how convenient) say that minimal exposure to the chemical is safe.
However, some experts, such as Dr. Leo Trasande, believe there’s no such thing as a safe level of exposure to BPA.
Bottles numbered 3, 6, and 7 are to be considered unsafe across the board. Everyday-use bottles with the number 1 symbol are considered safe for single uses only, which isn’t exactly the most environmentally sustainable option. I would always try to reuse my number 1 bottles to help the environment. Now what?
For young mothers, the Parent:Wise Austin magazine promotes the Born Free baby bottles that are glass or BPA-free. For less than $10 a bottle, a mother can have peace of mind.
Speaking of mothers, turns out mine was right about re-used bottles containing germs by the dozen (see my last blog). Dr. Trasande explains that bacteria can easily build up in the crevices and we end up ingesting them.
Talk about feeding the gut with some unfriendly bacteria! One day I took a long look at my scratched up little yellow friend, and threw it away!
If number 1 bottles hurt the earth, and number 7 bottles harm the body, what are we to do?
Good ol’ water in a glass cup comes to mind. This can be a little tricky if you are on the go. Glass bottles seem to be the best bet until companies start making BPA-free products.
So for the time being, traveling to work and to the gym with a glass bottle seems to be a safer and more environmentally friendly choice than plastic products.
Born Free (2008). Born Free Bisphenol A free Feeding System. Retrieved on April 11, 2008 http://www.newbornfree.com/pics/bornfree/index.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Retrieved on April 11, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/
Parent Wise Austin Magazine (2008). Born Free Baby Bottles. Retrieved on April 11, 2008 from
Schardt, D. (2008). Hard Questions about a Hard Plastic. Nutrition Action HealthLetter.
Today show (2008). Are Plastic Water Bottles Safe? Retrieved on April 11, 2008 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/24023514#24023514
Photo Credit: dotjay