Health Hazards of Plastic Bottles
For years, plastic bottles have been an integral part of our daily life. However, it is only recently that the scientific community has started deliberating over the side-effects of chemicals used in their manufacture; and in turn study the effects of how they may interfere with the liquids they carry. This has led to scientific evidence that suggests that ingredients such as bisphenol A (also known as BPA) in these plastic containers mimics the female sex hormone, estradiol.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high production volume chemical used in manufacturing polycarbonate plastic and several types of resins. It is widely used in synthesis of a variety of products; such as food and drink containers, CDs, DVDs, electrical and electronic equipment, automobiles, sports safety equipment, etc. BPA can be found everywhere - from printer ink and recycled paper to the lining of soda cans and dental sealants. It is infact so pervasive that it is present in thousands of products other than plastic bottles.
Why are Plastic Bottles a health threat?
BPA is often clinically classified as a xenoestrogen, as it is believed to be mimicking the naturally occurring estrogen hormone in females. BPA thus poses a potent health threat as it upsets the natural hormonal balance in humans. This can lead to sexual disorders like early puberty, breast tumor and fertility problems related to generation of non-viable eggs or low motility sperms.
Recent research suggests that even low levels of exposure to BPA can cause serious health problems such as obesity, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities, and also impairing the natural growth of humans and in certain cases, even having carcinogenic effects.
Effect on Child Health
The health risks posed by BPA do not however stop there! Certain other studies suggest that bisphenol A can lead to neurological problem in children. From having adverse effects on pregnancy to causing disorders and impaired growth in the developing foetus, BPA can have a lasting health impact on our future generations as well!
How to protect yourself from BPA?
While it may be quite difficult to show BPA the door, one can try to be more cautious by avoiding it in containers used for food and drink. Plastic water bottles are infact the biggest source of BPA. If one is really wondering about how to avoid exposure to these chemicals, invest in a simple filter and voilá – you get a healthy drinking water solution without being exposed to BPA. Also, one should avoid using plastic food containers marked on the bottom with the recycling (a triangle) label No. 7; they may contain bisphenol A. Also, plastics with recycling labels No. 1, 2 and 4 do not contain BPA.
Therefore, to be on the safer side, you may do well by banning the following:
· Plastic baby bottles and dishes
· Plastic containers in microwave ovens
· Old, scratched plastic dishes and containers
· Canned food and drinks
· Plastic wraps