Reuse, Renew, Recycle is a pattern and theory we have pounded into our heads and just as many people get into this practice to save the earth we discover it could be harmful to our health. Many people reuse or refill their water bottles again and again, but are they dangerous plastic bottles. In fact we thought it was ok to do this a few times as long as the bottles are properly cleaned. New studies have come out showing that those infamous bottles used by hikers and hippies alike may be a danger to one’s health.
The Nalgene Bottle
Those famous Nalgene bottles that come in all sorts of cool colors and styles, which have become extremely popular are made from a hard plastic. Plastic #7 to be exact. This is the type of plastic bottle that has been found to leak chemical into its contents. A synthetic chemical called Bisphenol A or BPA was found to be in the water of those Nalgene bottle in trace amounts. Now in small, trace amounts this chemical is not so dangerous, but over time the exposure could be much greater as well as turning those cool Nalgene bottles into danger plastic bottles.
If you feel bad because you have been using this type of bottle don’t. That is not even the half of it. In fact, the majority of baby bottles are made from this same material. That is right plastic #7 is actual what we feed our children with. This chemical BPA, which can cause breast and uterine cancer, increases the risk of miscarriages, and decreases levels of testosterone is the same plastic babies get their formula from.
The Effects of BPA
What the chemical Bisphenol A or BPA actually does is interferes with the body’s natural hormonal messaging system. Not only does it alter the hormone levels such as testosterone, but also is linked to cancer of the breast and uterus the increase risk of miscarriages and it can have devastating effects on our children’s developing systems.
The chemical BPA, which can be leached from plastics #7, is minimal per serving but the concern of experts is the cumulative amount of exposure of this chemical over a long period of time. If you are wondering if anything is safe to reuse the answer is yes, but let’s first get to what other types of plastic bottles are considered a danger plastic bottles by experts. Plastics #1, #3 and #6 all have the potential to leak other chemical that are possible human carcinogens and make these danger plastic bottles for reuse.
For safe use of plastic to store food and liquids in you should use plastic #2 which is created from a safer HDPE, plastic #4 which is created from low density polyethylene also known as LDPE or plastic #5 which is made from polypropylene also known as PP. These bottle have been found to be the safest options for water bottles and food storage. It may be rather difficult to find water bottles constructed from plastics #4 or #5. Another option for reusable water containers is aluminum or stainless steel. There are many of these bottles available at health food stores and even in grocery stores. The makers of the SIGG bottles have created a safe reusable bottle that can then later be recycled as well.