Plastic Water Bottles: Should You Worry?
You may have noticed that fewer people carrying plastic water bottles these days. This is trend is because of a chemical in some plastics called Bisphenol A, or BPA.
What is BPA?
BPA is the chemical that makes the plastic reusable water bottles hard or unbreakable. It is also found in a lot of food and drink packaging (like food cans), CDs, and medical devices. It's used to help make plastic stronger.
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How Does This Affect Your Body?
BPA gets inside your body through things that you eat and drink. Most of the BPA in your body got there by leaking from your food containers or water bottles into your food and drinks.
When these plastics heat up, they leak even more. Microwaving food in hard plastic containers, for example, causes even more leaking.
While BPA does not cause cancer and is not known to cause other major health problems in adults, the effects of ingesting a lot of it now can affect you in the future.
Plastics with BPA in them are labeled with the "7" recycling label on the bottom – number 7 means "other," so anything that does not fit into another category will be labeled 7. This label alone does not mean that it is dangerous, just that it isn't any of the other categories.
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How Can You Avoid It?
Here are some tips to help you avoid ingesting anything that may have BPA in it:
- Don't microwave food in plastic containers. High temperatures cause more chemicals to leak into your food than storing it in the cool fridge.
- Avoid plastics with the recycling number 7 for your food.
- Reduce the amount of canned foods you eat.
- Choose non-plastics for hot food items, like glass or porcelain.
- Use water bottles made of materials such as metal – The Sigg company has been making metal water bottles with a soft, chemical-safe plastic lining for many years.
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Written By: Christina Hartje-Dunn,
college student writer
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: October 2013
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Students for the Environment, US EPA.
Bisphenol-A Official Web site.
Bisphenol A (BPA), National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIH).
For More Information:
Visit our Food & The Environment section to help you make good environmental choices regarding your food.
You can also refer to our Food Guide for more help with food choices.