Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Reusing Plastics May be Harmful to Your Health

For those of you trying to do your part in saving the environment by reusing water bottles, there’s mixed news today from the NY Times. In the piece, we find wear on the most common type of reused bottles (such as those used for water, sports drinks or soda) can lead to the release of at least one “trace metal” called antimony. The piece doesn’t say whether or not antimony is poisonous.

But it does note that, since beverage companies are tight-lipped about what they make their bottles out of, it’s anyone’s guess what else is slowly leaching into the contents of reused bottles.

Other, firmer plastic bottles (such as those used for baby bottles) may be releasing bisphenol A, “an endocrine-disrupting chemical,” reports the Times. Again, the question is whether or not this stuff is poisonous, and expert opinions are mixed.

One expert tip: To be safe, “do not heat anything in any type of plastic in the microwave.”

Perhaps the biggest danger in reusing plastic bottles has nothing to do with trace metals, but bacteria. “Because the bottles -- with their small openings -- are harder to wash out than the wide-mouth hiking and sports bottles, they can house bacteria.”

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.