New Dangers Lurking in Bottled Water — Estrogen-like Chemicals?

If you know me, you know I’m anti-bottled water for reasons environmental and otherwise (did you know we toss enough disposable water bottles in the US to circle the equator every 2.9 days?). But now, I’m finding there’s more to be concerned about.

Leaching of Estrogen-like Compounds
A new study from the Department of Aquatic Ecotoxicology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt tested the water in bottled water with the No. 1 recycling code stamped on the bottom. Guess what? They found estrogenlike compounds, most likely leaching out of the plastic, that could have the same harmful effects as bisphenol A.

The Goethe University researchers sampled 20 brands of bottled water – nine bottled in glass, nine bottled in plastic and two bottled in composite packaging (paperboard boxes coated with an inner plastic film) and tested them for the presence of estrogenic chemicals .

They detected estrogen contamination in 60% of the samples (12 of the 20 brands) analyzed. Water in glass bottles were less estrogenic than waters in plastic bottles. Specifically, 33% of all mineral waters bottled in glass compared with 78% of waters in plastic bottles and both waters bottled in composite packaging showed significant hormonal activity. These “endocrine disrupters” were even found in spring water bottled in glass containers. According to Patricia Hunt, a geneticist and reproductive biologist at Washington State University, “Birth control pills, hormone therapy medications, and a host of contaminants can all get into our water supply.” (Source: US News & World Report).

Reproduction More Robust in Water-Filled Plastic Bottles
The researchers then carried out a reproduction test with the New Zealand mud snail. By breeding the New Zealand mud snail in both plastic and glass water bottles, the researchers found more than double the number of embryos in plastic bottles compared with glass bottles. That is a bit unsettling, if you ask me.

40% of Bottled Water is Tap Water

Do we need more reasons to go back to good old-fashioned tap water? Especially if you consider as much as 40% of bottled water is tap water anyway… getting it from a plastic water bottle that leaches chemicals doesn’t really sound like a better, healthier option.

If you’re worried about what’s in your tap water, get your water tested to determine what contaminants may be present. With test results in hand, choose a water filtration system that will eliminate or largely reduce the contaminants identified in the test (you may be pleasantly surprised to find no contaminants at all!).

Bottoms up!

2 Responses

  1. It’s too bad that sanitary, reusable thermoses are so expensive. Even harder to swaller is the pricey filtering water pitchers. If these were cheap or free, many more people would go back to the tap.

    • Thanks for the comment, Phil, and sorry for the delayed response! Something was wrong with my comment function. Yes, these are “expensive” but pay for themselves quite quickly. Cheers!

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