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BPA, polycarbonate, and water - Life is strange... — LiveJournal

Jul. 20th, 2008

01:53 pm - BPA, polycarbonate, and water

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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

Current Location: home
Current Mood: worriedworried
Current Music: bathroom exhaust fan


[User Picture]
Date:July 20th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
Can you feel an odd sensation in your throat after drinking fluids that have been in the bottles a long time and/or were hot when they were put in? That might indicate enough dissolved plastic to change the evaporation characteristics.

In terms of digestion, the acetate ion is used to deliver tocopherol, or vitamin E. So some kinds of plastics are known to be safe. Those that interact poorly with digestive acid and enzymes should not be difficult to quantify.

The soluble portion will probably not re-polymerize in vivo unless there is a very high concentration.

So, I would say the fatty acids likely to be in some of the bottles and the fossil fuel fumes people are likely to be breathing form a much greater hazard than the plastic.

Then again, under conditions of scarce resources for a population you can say that any risk serves to support the advancement of phenotypes by eliminating the less robust organisms. I strongly reject such eugenics, as we as humans have been taking direct control of the salient portions of our own nutrition, organ health, mental health, genome, and immune system, and there is no reason to believe this will not continue.
(Reply) (Thread)
Date:July 20th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
I only answered one question, sorry.

2. Glass in a foam-filled bag? More exercise.

3. Have you had your tap water tested? The only reason you should be buying bottled water instead of bottles is if the tap water is bad. I have not heard of any trouble with SF water, but if you are living somewhere that at some point in the past an unscrupulous or unwitting plumber used lead solder and got it on the inside of the pipe, then you should test it. Tap water tests are inexpensive. Follow the instructions carefully. :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
Date:July 21st, 2008 12:02 am (UTC)


The reason I ask about bottled water is because it is easier to access bottled water at my workplace than it is to access tap water. I drink tap water at home, and I'm not worried about it.

Cheers! generalist

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
Date:July 21st, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
2) http://www.sigg.ch/
3) The problem w/ water-delivery bottled water is that the delivery system is never cleaned. Much greater risk from bacterial, fungal, and even viral contamination.
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