What’s hiding in your bottle?
WE ALL drink from plastic water bottles, and some of us carry them around 24-7 and constantly sip away.
But is that drink bottle you so dearly cling to on an almost daily basis safe for you? Should you be ditching the plastic fantastic and sticking glass bottles in your bidon holder?
Let’s dive into the research, see what’s lurking and make a solid recommendation for all you health-conscious endurance athletes out there.
Bisphenol-A, more commonly known as BPA, can be found lurking in certain plastic products, lining canned food products and other polycarbonate plastic products found throughout our daily lives.
More pertinent to you, the endurance athlete, is the fact that the water bottles we use on a daily basis have been made with this in the past and may or may not contain the nasty little chemical now.
A large body of evidence outlines the fact that BPA is a common endocrine (controls hormones) disrupter and has been linked to an array of health implications (mainly in animal models) – although let’s be honest here, what hasn’t been linked to cancer or other diseases these days?
However, as always with science, it is ever evolving and despite the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saying current toxicity levels are okay, there is the other side of the coin that suggests we really still don’t know just how bad this stuff is.
There’s always that little tagline at the end of a scientific study that says “more research needed to make a strong conclusion”. When does it end?
What we do know however, and let’s keep it simple (’cause that’s how I roll), is this:
The use of plastic bottles containing BPA on a regular “normal routine” basis has been shown to increase levels of BPA in the body – not really a good sign.
We know that plastics exposed to heat, whether from hot water inside the bottle or from external sources (like the sun on a bottle in your car perhaps) greatly increases BPA leaching out into your water.
Exposing plastic bottles to detergents can also increase the amount of BPA released from the plastic.
There is a plethora of choice when it comes to bottles these days … so be safe and opt for BPA-free where you can.
Does this mean avoiding plastic bottles like the plague? Not necessarily, if you go by the FDA recommendations that current toxicity levels are “safe” – are we even meant to have these in our bodies? Probably not, right!
But if you have the choice, it’s probably safer to avoid it (BPA). Choose bottles made with the 1, 2, 4 or 5 recycling codes; avoid 3, 6 and most plastics with the 7 label.
Remember too, the science is young, ever-evolving and BPA is one ingredient in a long list of chemicals used to make plastic products.
The sceptic in me says, if you can, choose another option; the scientist in me is still on the fence. I think for the most part though, people are pretty aware of this stuff these days and, as such, companies making our bottles are going down the BPA-free path. It doesn’t hurt to check though.
Final words of advice… choose bottles with the recycling codes 1, 2, 4 or 5, keep them cool and out of the sun where possible, don’t use the dishwasher and rinse with cold water. Avoid heating your plastic bottles for any reason, filling with hot liquids, leaving your bottles in the car and using detergents to clean them out.
Look for bottles with 1, 2, 4 or 5 recycling codes.