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How Safe is my Water Bottle?
Look at the single-serve plastic water bottles that so many of us tote to the gym or keep in the trunks of our cars? Those are made with a different type of plastic called PET or polyethylene terephthalate, which is also not free of its harmful effect.
In an article in Environmental Health Perspectives, a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news published by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, found that the contents of the PET bottle, and the temperature at which it is stored, “Both appear to influence the rate and magnitude of leaching. Endocrine disruptors other than phthalates, specifically antimony, may also contribute to the endocrine-disrupting effect of water from PET containers.”
Scientists at Goethe University in Frankfurt found in a laboratory experiment in 2009 that estrogenic compounds leach from the plastic into the water. The lead researcher of the study, Martin Wagener, and a colleague used genetically engineered yeast, which changes color in the presence of estrogen-like compounds to analyze 20 samples of mineral water. Nine samples came out of glass bottles, nine were bottled in PET plastic and two were in cardboard, juice-like boxes.
The experiment revealed estrogenic activity in seven of the nine plastic bottles and in both cardboard samples, compared with just three of the nine glass ones: "What we found was really surprising to us. If you drink water from plastic bottles, you have a high probability of drinking estrogenic compounds," Wagner reported.
The American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group, has argued that BPA is safe and has been used widely since the 1950s. The council represents BPA producers including Dow Chemical Co., Bayer AG and Hexion Specialty Chemicals. The aggressive advertising campaign by the bottled water industry has persuaded Americans that bottled water is safer, more pure and healthier than their tap water. Bottled sales continue to rise astronomically even as scientific evidence proving the devastating effects of the industry is stronger than ever.
In January of 2010 the Food and Drug Administration changed its position on the chemical's safety, voicing "some concern" about its effects on children and infants The Environmental Protection Agency said on March 29, 2010 that it will investigate the impact of the chemical Bisphenol-A on the U.S. water supply and other parts of the environment. "We share FDA's concern about the potential health impacts from BPA," said Steve Owens, an assistant administrator with EPA.