plastic bottles 3

What about Plastic?

Dr. Don Colbert, MD, author of Toxic Relief

Some bottled waters contain more toxins than tap water and are not as closely regulated as tap water. About 1/4 of all bottled waters are from tap water. The other problem with bottled water is that it comes in plastic. Studies continue to show that plastic is not as safe as people believe.

• The very worst plastic is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), it is a known carcinogen that emits pollutants from the moment it is created until long after it is discarded. Studies show that PVCC leaches vinyl chloride and other pollutants, thus disrupting the hormonal balance, causing fertility problems and damaging cells, organs, and tissues.

Hands in water

• Another common ingredient in some plastics, bisphenol A, is used in reusable water bottles. It can change the course of fetal development and cause abnormal chromosome loss or gain, which leads to miscarriage or disorders like Down syndrome. It has also been linked to obesity.

• Nalgene water bottles and 5 gallon bottles also contain bisphenol A (number 7 bottles) Studies show the chemical leaches into the water at room temperature.

• Most water bottles are made from a plastic called PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) This kind of plastic is considered safer than PVC, but it has been shown to leach plasticizer chemicals called phthalates into the water when used repeatedly or when water is bottled for too long. Phthalates disrupt the production of fatty acids and interfere with the production of sex hormones. They may be safe if used within a few months of the date the water was bottled – check for an expiration date. Avoid bad plastics Use glass containers or bio-based plastic (made of all natural products like starch, cellulose, and raw rubber) The safety of plastics will continue, for now the safest plastic to use are PET or PETE as long as they have not been heated and are not old or reused.

• PET or PETE: used to bottle soda, most bottled water, cooking oils, juice, salad dressing, peanut butter, and other foods.

water glass2

• HDPE: milk jugs, one gallon water bottles, some bottled foods

• PVC: cling wraps, Reynolds Wrap, Stretch-tite, Freeze-tite (used by many grocery stores for meats), four ounce Wesson Cooking Oil, Appalachian Mountain spring water, some plastic squeeze bottles

• LDPE: food storage bags (like Glad and Ziploc)

• PP: deli soup containers, most Rubbermaid containers, cloudy plastic baby bottles, ketchup bottles, other cloudy plastic bottles

• PS: Styrofoam, some disposable plastic cups and bowls, and most opaque plastic cutlery

• “Other” resins, usually polycarbonate, which contains bisphenol A: most plastic baby bottles, five gallon water bottles, clear plastic “sippy” cups, some types of clear plastic cutlery, inner lining of food cans

• PLA – bioplastic called polylactic acid Use and Storage of Bottled Water Reusing your water bottle is terrible for your body; studies show dangerous levels of bacteria accumulate on and in the bottle as you reuse it. The water may become so contaminated that, if it were tap water, cities wouldn’t use it! Keep your bottled water away from cleaning compounds, paints, gasoline, or other household or industrial chemicals. Do not store it in the garage or in direct sun light.

Leaf touching water

Dangers of Plastic Water Bottles

P.W. Mc Randle

Whether you buy bottled water or conscientiously tote some from home, you'll want to avoid swallowing chemicals along with it. Particularly for small children, whose bodies are developing, it's best to steer clear of plastics that can release chemicals that could harm them in the long term. Below, the plastics not to choose (check the recycling number on the bottom of your bottle) and those that are safer:

Plastics to Avoid

  1. 3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) commonly contains di-2-ehtylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), an endocrine disruptor and probable human carcinogen, as a softener.
  2. 6 Polystyrene (PS) may leach styrene, a possible endocrine disruptor and human carcinogen, into water and food.
  3. 7 Polycarbonate contains the hormone disruptor bisphenol-A, which can leach out as bottles age, are heated or exposed to acidic solutions. Unfortunately, #7 is used in most baby bottles and five-gallon water jugs and in many reusable sports bottles.

Better Baby Bottles: Choose tempered glass or opaque plastic made of polypropylene (#5) or polyethylene (#1), which do not contain bisphenol-A.

sun & water

Best Reusable Bottles: kleankanteen, Sigg

Tips for Use:

  • Sniff and Taste: If there's a hint of plastic in your water, don't drink it.
  • Keep bottled water away from heat, which promotes leaching of chemicals.
  • Use bottled water quickly, as chemicals may migrate from plastic during storage. Ask retailers how long water has been on their shelves, and don't buy if it's been months.
  • Do not reuse bottles intended for single use. Reused water bottles also make good breeding grounds for bacteria.
  • Choose rigid, reusable containers or, for hot/acidic liquids, thermoses with stainless steel or ceramic interiors.

Poisoning by Re-using Plastic Bottles

Some of you may be in the habit of using and re-using your disposable water bottles, keeping them in your car or at work. Not a good idea. In a nutshell, the plastic (called polyethylene terephthalate or PET) used in these bottles contains a potentially carcinogenic element (something called diethylhydroxylamine or DEHA). The bottles are safe for one-time use only; if you must keep them longer, and keep them away from heat as well. Repeated washing and rinsing can cause the plastic to break down and the carcinogens (cancer-causing chemical agents) can leach into the water that YOU are drinking. Better to invest in water bottles that are really meant for multiple uses. This is not something we should be scrimping on.

Floating Garbage Island Twice the Size of Texas Aimlessly Spins in Pacific Ocean The largest dump in the world isn't outside New York or London or Shanghai but in a desolate stretch of the Pacific Ocean nearly a thousand miles from the nearest island. Held together by a slowly rotating system of currents northeast of Hawaii, the Eastern Garbage Patch is more than just a few floating plastic bottles washed out to sea; the Patch is a giant mass of trash-laden water nearly double the size of Texas.

water dump2

The Eastern Garbage Patch is just the most obvious manifestation of the amount of pollution filling the seas. Even though seventy percent of plastic items will eventually sink, the UNEP estimates there are 46,000 pieces of marine debris for every square mile of all the world’s oceans. Nearly four fifths of this garbage has been carried from litter on land, washed into storm drains, or floated down rivers. The problem, of course, is plastic and its nearly complete resistance to the elements. Able to last indefinitely in seawater, plastics will continue to plague the Eastern Pacific long after new solutions have been adopted on land.

Plague of Plastic Chokes the Seas

On Midway Atoll, 40% of albatross chicks die, their bellies full of trash. Swirling masses of drifting debris pollute remote beaches and snare wildlife... The LA Times’ five-part series on pollution in the ocean go to:

We pitch into landfills 38 billion water bottles a year -- in excess of $1 billion worth of plastic.

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