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Summer, 2007

Drink Your Water in Glass, Not Plastic
courtesy, Colleen Huber, N.D.

Water pouring from glass bottle.Plastic polycarbonate bottles such as Nalgene are still popular as drinking water bottles. However polycarbonate releases a chemical known as bisphenol A. Whereas plastic industry safety studies find no significant health effects from typical daily doses of bisphenol A, a full 90% of government studies found harmful health effects [1] especially to children and expecting moms, [2] but also for male sexuality and reproduction. [3]

The problem is that bisphenol A acts as a "xenoestrogen," which just means it's like the female hormone estrogen, except for two things: 1) it's foreign to the body, which is what "xeno" means, and 2) it is way more harmful than our natural estrogen for everyone, male and female. Breast cancers are much more of a risk in women who carry a high burden of xenoestrogens, and both sexes are subject to a huge range of other harmful health effects. The most far-reaching effects are birth defects and miscarriages. Another effect is a disruption of beta cell function in the pancreas, which creates a pre-diabetes type condition of high blood insulin and insulin resistance.

[Naturopathy Works has] previously warned [its] readers never to leave a plastic water bottle on a hot car seat, because the phthalates used in the manufacture of plastics leach into the water that you then drink. Phthalates are another xenoestrogen. However, with the polycarbonate bottles it has been found that even at room temperature, bisphenol A leaches into the water, and more so with increased temperature. Also with repeated use of plastics, you may notice the fine line scratches that you see on an old plastic container. These increase the surface area exposed to the liquid inside and release more of the xenoestrogens into the water.

The glass bottle solution

Sure, glass can break. But if you're careful with it, that's not a problem. And considering all the problematic substances in plastics, the breakability of glass does not seem like such a tragedy. I send my 5 year-old son, a very active little boy, to school with a glass water bottle, and he doesn't break it. Okay, once he broke one. But the replacement cost was cheap: Only $1.69! I get our glass bottles from the health food store. Ice tea is usually sold in glass bottles. The Tazo brand of teas has a 13.8 oz. bottle that is fairly thick glass and short enough to refill conveniently, with a wide enough spout to allow in some small ice cubes or slice of lemon. Once you get used to carrying it, it is just as easy as Nalgene, and its small size fits better in a purse or briefcase.

This article was originally published on Colleen Huber's website, Naturopathy Works. It appeared in the October 2006 edition . Reprinted with permission.

References:

  • Vom Saal F, Hughes C. An extensive new literature concerning low-dose effects of bisphenol A shows the need for a new risk assessment. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2003:111. pp. 926-933. See: http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/7713/7713.html
  • Hunt P, Koehler K et al. Bisphenol A cause meiotic aneuploidy in the female mouse. Current Biology. 13: pp. 546-553
  • Akingbemi B, Sottas C, et al. Inhibition of testicular steroidogenesis by the xenoestrogen bisphenol A is associated with reduced pituitary luteinizing hormone secretion and decreased steroidogenic enzyme gene expression in rat Leydig cells. Endocrinology 145. pp. 592-603.

Above photo from stock.xchange .

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