Recyclable Plastic Bottles Laced with Dangerous Heavy Metals and Endocrine Mimickers Linked to Heart and Kidney Damage
Drinking bottled water might seem like a healthier option than tap water, but a new study confirms previous findings that show this very much depends on the bottle itself and where you keep it.
The alarming new report shows just how prevalent chemical contaminants are in the plastic bottles commonly used for water and soft drinks. The plastic industry considers bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to be safe, and its recyclability has made it a popular choice among drinks makers and environmentally-friendly consumers alike.
However, study after study has shown that bottles made of this material can leach hormone-mimicking chemicals into the liquids they contain that can lead to a number of health complications, and the latest study just adds to the growing body of evidence that the material is less than desirable.
The study was carried out by government labs in India and has not yet gone public, according to LiveMint. Among the products tested were drinks, juices, oil and alcohol packaged in PET bottles.
The results indicate the presence of harmful chemicals, particularly lead, cadmium, and antimony, in amounts far higher than the prescribed standards according to the US-EPA.
One of the chemicals studied was DEHP, a carcinogenic endocrine disruptor that has already been banned in countries such as Denmark and France. Antimony, meanwhile, has been classified a carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. As if potentially causing cancer weren’t bad enough, it can lead to heart muscle damage and raised blood pressure. Another chemical found in the study was cadmium, which can cause respiratory tract infections and lead to kidney damage.
Higher temperatures make the problem worse
The DEHP and other metals leached from the plastic bottles into the products they contained, and higher temperatures are largely to blame for this migration. Even though many people keep their beverages at cooler temperatures, they are still exposed to high temperatures during transportation and storage, and it’s hard for end consumers to know just how long the bottles sat and at what temperatures they were kept.
An earlier study carried out by the Indian government’s health ministry found that antimony, lead, DEHP and chromium can leach from plastic bottles into liquid medicine. That spurred India’s Drugs Technical Advisory Board to recommend that the practice of bottling medicine geared toward pregnant women and children in PET bottles.
Lena Ma of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences led a study about the dangers of plastic water bottles that was published in Environmental Pollution in 2014. While leaving them in heated conditions over a long period of time made the problem worse, Ma thinks other types of containers should also be given a closer look.
“More attention should be given to other drinks packaged with polyethylene terephthalate plastic, such as milk, coffee and acidic juice,” she said. “We only tested the pure water. If it is acidic juice, the story may be different.”
Know what you are eating and drinking
These stories only serve to highlight the importance of knowing exactly what is in the food and drinks we consume. One person who has been investigating the content of foods and beverages is Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.
His food science laboratory, CWC Labs, was recently granted the highest standard of international lab accreditation possible, ISO 17025. He recently released the results of the first round of a nationwide water testing initiative in the newly launched Natural Science Journal. He also tested more than 800 foods and supplements in his lab to help write the book http://foodforensics.com/“>Food Forensics, which can be used to help people make better food choices and avoid harmful ingredients.