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Health issues with plastics

  1. Jan 6, 2005 #1

    cepheid

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    Two questions:

    1. What is the big deal about nalgene water bottles? Why do so many people have them? Is it their durability...something about the material?

    And now, to get more on topic for this forum:

    2. Despite not knowing the driving force behind the fad...I bought one myself (yeah, I know, I'm stupid). I realised that I wasn't drinking enough fluids, and thought that staying properly hydrated would allow me to think better and combat the fatigue I encounter often during the semester. Having a one litre bottle would at least encourage me to drink one litre of water per day. But recently I ran across some web articles stating that recent research has shown that the bottles leak a chemical called bisphenol-A, which can cause chromosomal disorders, and is an "endocrine inhibitor", whatever that means. Does anyone know for sure whether these bottles are safe? Should I be drinking one litre of water per day from one?
     
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  3. Jan 6, 2005 #2

    Astronuc

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    See https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=57207 for a discussion on "endocrine disruptors", which are organic molecules that have similar structures to normal hormones and compete for sites that will then block the normal endocrine process.

    Polyethylene terephthalic acid plastics (polymers) are used in a lot of drinking water bottles, and apparently recent studies may indicate that PET is being found in the water and perhaps may be in poeple.

    Edit: I made a correction to the chemistry. To my limited knowlegde, polyterephthalate is not used for drinking water containers, and probably not for food containers.

    Since I posted this, I found - Polyethylene Terephthalate Migration and Toxicity
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2005
  4. Jan 7, 2005 #3

    DocToxyn

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    Here is the site, from the manufacturer, regarding their take on the issue of BPA in their product. http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/technical/bpaInfo.html Admittedly this is the manufacturers site and it could be biased since they only have to put up the info they want, but it appears to be from rather varied and well-known sources, so take it for what it is.

    The real issue is not if BPA or like chemicals are dangerous, laboratory studies have already demonstrated this, but those are highly controlled studies, typically giving higher than normal concentrations to which you or I might be exposed to. I'm not all that familiar with the plasticizers literature so I'll take some time to sift through it and get back on that.

    Having said that, if you are still concerned, here's what should work to potentially reduce your exposure/risk, again with a disclaimer that this is mostly my opinion based on common-sense science. If possible don't leave the liquid you are consuming in the container for extended periods of time. If the products are indeed leeching BPA, etc., the less time in the bottle, the less contamination. I would also avoid heating (microwaving) products in these containers as this may also increase leeching. One may go as far as considering the solubility properties of BPA in various liquids as dictated by their pH, fat/alcohol content, etc. Personally I use these bottles regularly and find them a convenient way to stay hydrated without shelling out money for bottled water.
     
  5. Jan 7, 2005 #4

    Moonbear

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    I'm not really sure about whether BPA leeching from those bottles is a problem or not, but I would tend to think it isn't a huge problem. The reason is that Nalgene brand bottles are quite frequently used in laboratories, and if they were leeching compounds, especially harmful compounds, into the solutions contained in them, you'd have a lot of angry researchers refusing to use their products.

    Personally, I've never had a problem with using a glass or ceramic mug to obtain some water from the tap for drinking when I get thirsty. Or, if a glass isn't available, cupped hands work too if you're really desperate for a quick drink. :biggrin:
     
  6. Jan 8, 2005 #5

    cepheid

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    ^Yes, I know what you mean. Why not just use the water fountain on campus? Answer...because the water is usually quite gross, and there is sign above some of the fountains that says "flush for 10 minutes before drinking" (I kid you not!). Our municipal water supply is perfectly safe for drinking, so what the hell is in our campus pipes that would prompt them to put up that sign, and who in his/her right mind would stand there for 10 minutes? I realise it might be student prank...but the signs have been there forever, so you'd think somebody would deal with it if it were. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Jan 8, 2005 #6

    matthyaouw

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    You could always buy one of those metal bottles they make for hikers. The cap is plastic unfortunately, but thats all the plastic there is.
     
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