What is a guaranteed advice from anyone and everyone on health? No matter what diet miracle he/she may recommend, it comes with- “drink plenty of water”.
And you do.
You take that bottle to offices; give it to your kids in school, even drink straight from the bottle itself.
Unaware about what happens to the water when you put it in the Plastic Bottle. Yes, the Bisleri, Fanta, 7-Up and all other popular drinks’ bottles that you have carefully cleaned and filled with water at home can harm you!
Research says that keeping water in plastic bottles causes the plastic to leach. Leaching means that some of the chemicals of the plastic enter the water. Use of plastic bottles for a long time and repeated washing increases the chances of leaching. Of these particles BPA or Bisphenol A leached is said to be carcinogenic in nature (meaning, capable of causing cancer) and harmful to the human body.
Recent research by the National Toxicology program, (Toxicology is a branch of biology and medicine that studies the adverse effects of chemicals) a division of National Institute of Health, US says that BPA present in some plastic bottles may disturb the hormonal balance in the body by mimicking estrogen or female hormone. It may cause breast cancer and uterine cancer in women and prostate cancer and decreased testosterone (the sex hormone) in men. It may also affect unborn babies. Other research points to increase in insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? This substance is banned in Europe and other countries but FDA of US still hasn’t banned the substance and there is no ban on bottles containing this substance in India too.
So, the only way to stop it from entering your body is to stop using them or reduce the use.
So how do you know which plastic bottle is safe? Check below the bottle, most bottles have a recycle symbol, the number contained inside it shows what is it made of.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
Where is it used: Most soft drinks, water, pickle, jelly and jam jars and bottles. Is it safe to use: Yes, it is not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.
High density polyethylene (HDPE)
Where is it used: Milk, water, and juice bottles and grocery, trash and retail bags.
Is it safe to use: Yes, it is not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.
Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC)
Where is it used: The plastic sheet used to wrap meats, cheeses, vegetables is PVC.
Is it safe to use: No, to soften into its flexible form, manufacturers add “plasticizers” during production. Traces of these chemicals can leach out of PVC when in contact with foods. According to the National Institutes of Health, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), commonly found in PVC, is a suspected human carcinogen.
-Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
Where is it used: Some bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles.
Is it safe to use: Yes, it is not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones, but not as widely recycled as #1 or #2.
Where is it used: Some ketchup bottles and yogurt and margarine tubs.
Is it safe to use: Yes, Hazardous during production, but not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. Not as widely recycled as #1 and #2.
Where is it used: Foam insulation and also for hard applications (e.g. cups, some toys)
Is it safe to use: No. Benzene, a material used in production is a known human carcinogen. Butadiene and styrene (the basic building block of this plastic) are suspected carcinogens. It is energy intensive and has poor recycling properties.
Other (usually polycarbonate)
Where is it used: Baby bottles, microwave, ovenware, eating utensils, plastic coating for metal cans
Is it safe to use: No. It is made with biphenyl-A, a chemical invented in the 1930s in search for synthetic estrogens. It is a hormone disruptor, simulates the action of estrogen when tested in human breast cancer studies. It can leach into food as product ages.
Ok, you have avoided number 6, 7 and number 3 but you could still be harmed by your plastic bottles, how??
- Beware: When you don’t clean your bottles regularly after use; bacteria start growing on it. Bacteria love moist places and the not- regularly- cleaned -bottles are a good ground for them and the other microbes to thrive in.
The solution- Clean your bottle with mild detergent and warm water thoroughly after every few uses. But the best option again is to use it for a short span of time and then replace as cleaning it repeatedly causes leaching.
- Beware: Don’t re-use the Plastic Bottles of Packaged water and soda water. These bottles are supposed to be for a single use and it is better that we heed the advice.
The solution- The options for those on the move are HDPE (No.2) bottles or Steel bottles which are very popular today with their sleek look and pretty light weight.
- Beware: Parents with small kids note that the milk bottles and the sippers sold today are mostly made from Polycarbonate plastic. There are reports that it may leach BPA. Exposure to BPA at a small age is detrimental to baby’s health. In US there are many cases against the manufacturers of Plastic Bottles for kids under 3 due to this.
The solution-The safest option is to specifically look out for bottles which are BPA free.
- Beware: Though studies don’t have convincing evidence on the use of PET bottles being harmful, there are chances of such data surfacing later so try avoiding drinking from plastic bottles all the time. At least have another non-plastic collecting vessel forwater at home.
Seems like a difficult task? It isn’t, what did we do when we had no plastic bottles?
Use Earthen Pots- They are the traditional vessels, they(All of them, right) keep water cool and are inexpensive .
Brass or copper Pots- These are also traditional vessels, there are studies saying storing water in copper vessels is good for the health. However, if brass/copper pots are not cleaned properly, they are also subject to chemical deposits injurious to health. So, ensure these are cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis.
The good old steel: We all had those huge steel pitchers moms used to fill in case there is no water supply later. Time to store water in steel utensils again!
Glass Pitchers: These are a good option and suit a trendy home.
Plastics have entered all realms in our lives. We cannot fully let go of plastic but certainly avoiding these which have proved to be harmful will protect our families from their negative effect.
Avoid plastics containing BPA or Bisphenol A which is a carcinogenic substance present in many different types of plastics.
-Make sure you do not use bottles that are having no. 3, no. 6 or no. 7 symbol at the bottom.
-Do not use plastic bottles when you are pregnant, it may have harmful effects on the baby.
-Use BPA free bottles for babies.
-Do not re-use packaged water or soda bottles.
-Clean the bottles to prevent bacterial infection.