Most people don’t think twice about the composition of water bottles, which is understandable. After all, if something has been approved for use in the storage and packaging of food and drink, why should we distrust it?
BPA has been FDA approved since the 1960s, and is used widely in manufacturing, particularly in plastic water bottles. However, new evidence has emerged in recent years to suggest that we should be avoiding this stuff like the plague, FDA approved or not.
Fortunately, finding BPA free plastic water bottles is easy and inexpensive, not to mention more cost-effective than picking up a bottle of water from the store every time you go out. But if you need a little more convincing before you go rushing out to buy one, let’s first look at the properties of BPA, and why you should be boycotting products that contain it.
What Is BPA?
BPA, or bisphenol-A, is a chemical used widely in the manufacturing process of transparent, rigid, plastic products, like those commonly used in the production of plastic water bottles. Have you ever noticed that funny flavor water takes on when it’s sat in the bottle for a while?
This happens because plastic is a porous material, meaning that chemicals can leach out of the bottle and into your water. BPA is one such chemical, and it can not only negatively affect the taste of your water, but your health, as well. Once it enters the system, BPA is thought to have many negative impacts on the body that are easily avoidable, simply by switching your water receptacle.
What’s So Bad about It?
So, how exactly can BPA negatively impact your body and health?
- Hormonal effects: BPA is thought to disrupt your hormonal balance by mimicking the hormone estrogen. This can have nasty side effects on the reproductive system, interfering with egg and sperm cells, which can harm your fertility levels. It could also disrupt the development of fetuses in the womb, which could potentially lead to birth defects, or even spontaneous miscarriage.
In children, there have been links made between BPA consumption and early onset puberty. This happens particularly in young girls.
- Impact on the Brain: Numerous studies have found a potential link between BPA and negative impacts on the development of the central nervous system, especially in children. This could lead to alterations in the behavior of young children and infants, such as ADHD, and could even lead to a predisposition to conditions such as anxiety later in life.
- Cancer: Some animal studies have identified a possible link between BPA consumption and the development of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
- Obesity: It’s no secret that obesity is a rapidly growing problem in the developed world, and recent studies have found that our consumption of BPA could be a contributing factor. When tested, obese children were found to make up a whopping 22% of individuals with the highest levels of BPA in their urine. Obesity comes with its own set of risk factors, with those who are overweight or obese being far more likely to develop conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease down the line.
- Heart Problems: BPA could also have a negative impact on your heart health, leading to an increased likelihood of developing heart disease. Two separate studies have found that adults with the highest levels of BPA in their systems seem to have a higher incidence of heart troubles.
Although most of the studies on BPA so far have been primarily performed using animal models, and therefore cannot offer concrete evidence regarding its effects in humans, why take a chance when it comes to safeguarding your health? The risks of BPA consumption are found to be particularly pronounced in infants and young children, whose bodies are still developing and are therefore less able to remove harmful substances. With no current government restrictions on the use of BPA in the food industry, and given its prevalence in the manufacturing process of ready meal containers and plastic water bottles, it’s up to you to take steps to eliminate it from your diet.
To guarantee the health of your body, and particularly your reproductive capacity, it’s undoubtedly preferable to stick to bottles that are BPA free. Many BPA-free plastic water bottles are now available for purchase, or you could even opt for a glass bottle, which is not only safer, but also has the added benefit of giving water a cleaner, fresher flavor. This is because glass is less porous than plastic, which prevents any chemicals from leaching out of the material and into your drink.
Protecting yourself from BPA is as simple as making a few small changes to the types of food and drink containers you buy, so why not give it a go?
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