We have often heard the health hazards caused by water bottled in plastic bottles. While there is a lot of hearsay about the health hazards of plastic, no one knows exactly how drinking water packaged in plastic bottles can harm. Here are some insights to help you: • Manufacturers make use of Bisphenol A
We have often heard the health hazards caused by water bottled in plastic bottles. While there is a lot of hearsay about the health hazards of plastic, no one knows exactly how drinking water packaged in plastic bottles can harm. Here are some insights to help you:
• Manufacturers make use of Bisphenol A (BPA) to make plastics clear and hard. This endocrine disruptor chemical causes multiple health hazards like early puberty in girls, neurological health problems, some specific types of cancer, defects in new-born babies and premature labor in pregnant women.
• Bottled drinks are also known to contain phthalates commonly used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride more flexible. Phthalates are yet another endocrine disruptor associated with common health issues like testicular abnormality and tumors, reduced sperm count, reproductive health issues and gender development issues among others.
• Plastic is carcinogenic. This is another reason why use plastic for storing water should strictly be avoided. When water gets heated in a plastic bottle, some elements of the bottle could get mixed with the drinking water and this can be extremely harmful.
• The health of individuals living in a locality close to the plastic bottle factory is also prone to greater health issues.
• Since plastics cannot be recycled, the lasting adverse effects on the environment also needs to be noted.
While this is a general overview that tells you different ways in which plastic may harm your health, each type of plastic may harm your body differently.
Different Hazards Caused by Different Types of Plastics
Based on the raw materials used to produce a particular type of plastic, its properties vary. That is why there are many different types of plastics used in different daily commodities. Let us understand the hazards caused by each and the best steps one may take to avoid those.
PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is supposed to be a safe plastic and is commonly used in packaging of water bottles, sports drinks bottles, cold drink bottles and condiments like Ketchup. It does not contain BPA. This plastic may leach antimony under heat. Studies reveal that bottled water contains 100 times more antimony than groundwater and the longer the water stays in plastic bottles that are exposed to heat, greater will be the percentage of antimony in the water. Antimony is a toxic metalloid that can harm health in many ways as listed below:
• It may cause stomach ulcers
• It may cause digestive health problems like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
Simple steps to take:
• Avoid bottled drinking water
• Store drinks and beverages in glass or steel bottles or containers
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) contains phthalate called DEHP. This is known to convert male traits to get more feminized and thus is banned in many countries around the world. Sometimes, PVC uses an alternate constituent DiNP and that too is known to have hormone-disrupting properties.
PVC Plastic is commonly used in:
• Clear food packaging
• Plumbing pipes
• Vinyl flooring
• Table Cloths
• Children’s play mats
• Plastic toys for children
Simple steps to take:
• Consciously replace plastic toys with wooden toys for kids
• Choose cane or natural coir mats as against PVC mats for use at home
• Unpack food as soon as possible if they have been parcelled in plastic containers or covers
Polypropylene is a type of plastic and is often used for deli food containers, yogurt containers, and winter clothing insulation. This plastic has high heat tolerance and does not leach many chemicals like other plastics in the league.
HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) is commonly used in cereal box liners, shampoo bottles, juice bottles, grocery bags, detergent bottles, and milk bottles. While counted among the safe plastics, research reveals that the plastic leaches estrogenic chemicals dangerous to juveniles and fetuses.
LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) does not contain BPA but, like other plastics, it may also leach estrogenic chemicals and harm juveniles and fetuses.
PS (Poly Styrene) is commonly known as Styrofoam and is used for making supermarket meat trays, plates, cups, take-out containers and for packing peanuts. PS can leach styrene which is a suspected carcinogen.
Any other type of plastic may also contain BPA and may leach chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors.
The Common Health Hazards Caused by Endocrine Disruptors:
• Interference with the reproductive function of the body
• Affects sexual function
• Interferes with proper mood and growth
• Interferes with puberty and other human development processes
• Increase the risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, and adult reproductive cancer
Steps We Can Take to Prevent Hazards of Plastic
Here are some simple steps each one of us can vow to take to avoid hazards caused by plastic:
• Choose water bottles of stainless steel or copper rather than plastic bottles.
• Take steps to recycle plastic waste.
• Spread awareness regarding the hazards of plastic bottle use.
• Never heat food in the microwave in plastic containers as it increases the risk of leaching
• Avoid plastic wrap for foods and instead choose aluminum foil
Before the increased use of plastics makes life difficult, causing health hazards and interfering with our life, we need to consciously take steps to spread awareness regarding the same. Let us start today by sharing the word.