While it’s always great for your health and energy levels to drink lots of fresh, clean H20, and yes, water bottles are very convenient, if not necessary, for carting water around when on the road, experts agree that it’s important to know the type of plastic your bottle is made of. Otherwise, your health could be compromised by a harmful chemical leaching from the bottle: Bisphenol-A, otherwise known as BPA.
There’s two categories of plastic water bottles that could be leaching BPA into your water: pre-packaged bottled water (the kind you find at truck stops) or those plastic, reusable bottles you bring from home.
BPA, a chemical used to harden plastic, is also a”synthetic xenoestrogen” that disturbs your body’s endocrine system and messes with important hormones. Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to decreased testosterone in men, breast cancer in women, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has also been linked to heart problems, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
So before you grab your trusted water bottle for the road, or purchase a new one, make sure it’s free of BPA. To check if the water bottle in question contains BPA, simply flip it over. You’ll see a number with the recycling symbol. This will clue you into the bottle’s type of plastic.
Water is usually sold in #1 plastic and is only recommended for one-time use, or else you may be consuming BPA down the road. Better to buy a reusable water bottle to save money and keep these single use bottles out of the landfill.
You can purchase the following bottles, and refill them without worry:
* #2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene)
* #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene)
* #5 PP (polypropylene)
If you see a #7 underneath your bottle, you may want to put it back on the shelf or stop using it, as it’s made with polycarbonate (PC) plastic, which has the potential to leach BPA. Unfortunately, those colorful, hard plastic Nalgene Lexan water bottles are made with polycarbonate, and while there’s conflicting evidence whether the material can leach enough BPA to be harmful, you may want to replace it to ensure the safety of your endocrine system.
If you choose to risk it, here are some tips to minimize any damage associated with #7 polycarbonate plastics:
– Wash new PC bottles before using
– Wash them by hand with mile detergent, do not wash in the dishwater
– Do not heat PC bottles in any way
– Keep bottles out of direct sunlight
– Use PC bottles for cold water only, and not for hot beverages
Instead of a PC bottle, try one made of stainless steel. It’s reusable, lightweight and won’t leach chemicals of any kind. Besides plastics #2 – #5 listed above, other kinds of safe water bottles becoming popular are glass (despite the obvious disadvantage of being heavy and breakable), enamel coated aluminum and those made from corn or petroleum-based materials.