Mark (generalist) wrote,

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BPA, polycarbonate, and water


The suggestion was made to me we should be ridding ourselves of Nalgene bottles, thus this post. andybeals said: "plastic + food = bad, m'kay?"

It's really about BPA [from WikiPedia], and Nalgene themselves are apparently now on the anti-BPA bandwagon, read about it here[Corporate site]. If nothing else, it's a way to sell their bottles to everyone all over again, what an opportunity!

Apparently dogs can sniff out polycarbonates, read about it here [from Wired]. Ok, so dogs can sniff out at least certain types of polycarbonate. They can also sniff out peaches, does this mean I shouldn't eat peaches?

This may or may not include the kind of polycarbonate used in Nalgene bottles, but almost certainly does. Which may mean that Nalgene bottles do some offgassing and/or leaching. Most likely offgassing happen when the bottles are new, with exponential decay in the amount of offgassing over time, that's my understanding of the way most materials offgassing works. And we already know that bisphenol-A (BPA) is released (leached) in very small amounts into contained liquids by polycarbonates (fractional nanograms/hr). You can read here [from Trusted MD] for more info on BPA leaching.

BPA is apparently leached at very small rates, whether the bottles are new or old: "Prior to boiling water exposure, the rate of release from individual bottles ranged from 0.2 to 0.8 nanograms per hour". Of course:

  1. We don't know what levels of exposure are harmful, and
  2. The greatest exposure, by far, apparently comes from canned food. Read this for more information [from EnviroBlog]

BPA is leached into contained water at a much higher rate if the contained liquid is boiled, from MedIndia and from SunriseWD.

I was hiking all last weekend in Sequoia National Park, and I've been backpacking before and will be again. The great things about Nalgene bottles are that they are light, they are almost indestructible, they don't flavor contained water, and they don't leak.

My questions to you are:

  1. What's the likely health risk of using polycarbonate bottles?
  2. What's the alternative, specifically for the use I put these bottles to: hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor sports? Are the new Nalgene bottles as good?
  3. Should I stop drinking water from the bottled water delivery company? I don't know how they clean their bottles... and perhaps systemic exposure to polycarbonate, as we get with bottled water, is not OK even if occasional exposure during outdoor sports might be.

Cheers! generalist

Tags: environment

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