You feel so eco and trendy with your plastic water bottle. Walking around with it, you scoff at the wasters carelessly throwing disposable containers in the garbage. They can’t even recycle. The fools. You are clearly environmentally superior. You save the world one refilled bottle at a time while they deplete it. You look down on them, and eco-wise, you can. You are working in the Earth’s favor; they are working against it. However, health-wise, it may be a different story. Take a closer look at your bottle. Is there a number seven in the center of the recycling symbol? If so, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not a sign of luck. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite.
The number seven, when stamped on products, is a sign that polycarbonate plastic was used to manufacture the item. This material is found in water bottles (disposable and refillable), baby bottles, food cans, and some dental amalgams and sealants. Found in it is a chemical known as BPA. BPA doesn’t last in our bodies any longer than 24 hours but, thanks to our love affair with all things plastic, we are chronically exposed to it. It, through animal testing, has been linked to genital tract changes, prostate enlargement, low levels of testosterone, pre-cancerous breast cells, prostate cancer, early puberty and hyperactivity. It is thought to disrupt development and, as such, to be particularly dangerous to children, pre- and post-birth. No conclusive and statistically significant human risks have been found, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.
We are exposed to frightening amounts of chemicals every day. As such, a large number of diseases are reaching epidemic proportions. Cancers, asthma, developmental delays and mental disorders are rising at alarming rates. Our children have more toxins in their bloodstreams after two years than we did after 25. It is easy to ignore one chemical, in one product. However, when you do that repeatedly, the possibly-harmless-but-we’re-not-sure toxins amass. Eventually, you have more than you could ever imagine wreaking havoc in your body. Therefore, it’s best to be cautious rather than risky. To do that with BPA, limit your plastics. Buy fresh or frozen foods. Use glass, aluminum or stainless steel when possible. There are certain plastic bottles (baby bottles, namely) that are made without BPA. You can find them at health-food stores.
For more information on BPA and other chemicals, check out the EPA’s chemical index.�