Everywhere we go, plastic bottles follow. Soda, Drinking water, several foods products and even seasoning come in plastic bottles. In US, 1500 plastic bottles are consumed every second. The reason of such popularity is that Food industry manufacturers use plastic bottles as a cheap and convenient way to pack their products. On the other hand, we, as consumers, buy them for portability and convenience.
We are enjoying portability at the cost of our health. Plastic is a compound made of chemicals and these chemicals go inside our body with whatever we drink or eat. Plastic bottles are known to diffuse harmful chemicals into the liquid they contain, especially when we leave them in hot temperatures. Like in our cars during hot summer days, in direct sunlight, nearby cooking gas or in dishwasher.
Harmful Effects Of Plastic Bottles On Humans:
1. Bisphenol A (BPA) is the chemical which hardens the plastic and makes it clear. To be precise BPA is an endocrine disruptor (can interfere in hormones of humans) and it is proven hazardous to human health. The chemical has been linked to major health problems like Cancer, early puberty in girls, premature labor, reduced fertility in women, babies born with defects and neurological difficulties. BPA enters our body when though plastic bottles. BPA is the top risk in miscarries. A study proved that 96% of women have BPA in their bodies.
2. Plastic bottles also contain Phthalates to make bottles more flexible. They are endocrine disrupting as well and has been connected to various reproductive and development defects including testicular abnormality, tumors, reduced sperm count and issues with gender development. Plastic bottles are not regulated by FDA because of the little amount of phthalates present in them. The concentration however increases when water bottles are kept for long time or if stored in hot atmosphere. Then the chemicals go directly into whatever you are consuming.
Types of Plastic Bottles :
Every plastic product has a number inside a recyclable triangle. Look for the number and check if it is safe to use or recycle.
1. Safe Plastics: 2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), 4 LDPE (low density polyethylene) and 5 PP (polypropylene).
2. Moderately Safe Plastics: Number 1 PET or PETE bottles (polyethylene terephthalate) are unsure of leaching a known carcinogen DEHA into the water. It is recommended to use it only once and not refill it. The most famous water bottles in India feature #1 plastic and thus it should not be reused.
3. Unsafe Plastics: Even worse plastics are of number 3, 6 and 7. They contain BPA (Bisphenol A), which is accused of causing behavioral and neurological problems in children and fetuses. It can also cause prostate, brain or breast cancer.
Plastic Do’s and Dont’s
1. Make sure your plastics are not exposed to heat. Do not put hot liquids in them because if you do, chemicals will leach into your liquid and will inside your body. So beware.
2. Prefer to use glass boltless when possible, aluminum & steel bottles will be better.
3. Do not use bottles numbered 7 for children
4. Go for clear plastics, this way coloring agents will not leach into water.
5. Do not recycle bottles, which are not recommended to recycle.
Consider these suggestions and try to abandon plastic bottles ASAP!