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Canada intends to become the first country to ban the import and sale of some types of plastic baby bottles because they contain a chemical that the government says could harm infants and toddlers. Health Minister Tony Clement said on Friday he would bring in rules to outlaw plastic polycarbonate baby bottles, perhaps within the next year. These bottles are made with bisphenol A, which is also used in food and water containers.
Wired News 04.22.08
Over the last twenty years, scientists have built a mountain of evidence that Bisphenol A, the key ingredient in polycarbonate plastic, should scare the daylights out of us. It should have been banned a long time ago, as a precautionary measure, but regulators were asleep at the switch -- allowing the chemical industry to run roughshod over them.
Washington Post 04.22.08
Many scientists and environmental advocates believe man-made components in plastics -- particularly a group of compounds called phthalates and another hormonally active chemical known as bisphenol A, or BPA -- can leach harmful chemicals that get absorbed into our bodies. The financial stakes are huge: Plastics is the country's third-largest manufacturing industry, employing 1.1 million workers and producing nearly $379 billion worth of goods each year.
Link: The Plastics Revolution
Canada is moving to get rid of products with a chemical common in plastic baby bottles, the United States is expressing concern over its safety and some retailers are planning to stop selling these items. But whether the chemical bisphenol A poses genuine health risks in people remains a matter of debate, with industry groups defending its safety and environmental activists saying studies involving animals show otherwise.
USA Today 04.21.08
Canada's proposed ban on a hormone-like chemical in baby bottles has spurred U.S. retailers and legislators to try to phase out use of the ingredient, called bisphenol A, or BPA. Canada's announcement Friday came just days after the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found "some concern" that low levels of BPA cause changes in behavior and the brain, prostate gland, mammary gland and the age at which girls enter puberty.
Washington Post 04.18.08
Last year, an expert panel using outside scientists minimized the health risks of BPA, but its findings were widely assailed after a congressional investigation found that a firm hired to perform scientific analysis was also working for the chemical industry.
Market Watch 02.07.08
A recent study has found that some popular plastic baby bottles are leaching a hormone-disrupting chemical that, when heated, possibly pose a danger to infants. The study, which focused on six major brands of baby bottles sold in the United States and Canada, found that bisphenol A, used to make polycarbonate plastic, was given off by heated bottles in amounts that were within the range shown to cause harm in animal studies.
Many common household products contain compounds that could be affecting our health. The shocking thing is that we really don't know the health effects of many of these chemicals on the market today. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, chemicals already in use were grandfathered in without scrutiny. These include the three classes of compounds targeted in a November report released by a coalition of environmental groups, "Is It in Us?"—a plastic strengthener called bisphenol A (BPA), brominated flame retardants known as PBDEs and plastic softeners called phthalates.
Bisphenol A is a basic constituent of the polycarbonate plastics found in many baby bottles, sippy cups and juice bottles. Although the chemical industry and FDA say they are safe, there is evidence to the contrary. Research studies show that low-dose exposures, particularly during gestation, may later lead to breast and prostate cancer, abnormalities in the reproductive tract and behavioral problems, among other things.
Phthalates have also raised concern: these compounds are used to soften the plastics in products such as rubber duckies, vinyl shower curtains, certain medical devices, and are also found in hundreds of personal care products (e.g. fragrances, body lotions, nail polishes and shampoos). Potential problems from exposure include abnormalities to the reproductive tract and a decline in sperm quality.
The flame retardants, PBDEs, are found in fabrics, upholstery, foam mattresses, circuit boards and the casings of computers and televisions and animal studies show they can have negative impacts on learning and memory, sperm counts and thyroid functioning.
Our Take: ReusableBags.com has been providing education, leadership and safe alternatives for the past five years. With more awareness of these issues, we hope to see some real change! A reminder that all the bottles we carry are BPA-free.
Globe and Mail 12.07.07
Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada's largest specialty outdoor-goods retailer, says it has pulled most food and beverage containers made of polycarbonate plastic from its shelves, citing concern over possible health risks. The Vancouver-based firm been one of the largest sellers of such products as polycarbonate Nalgene water bottles. The plastic in question is made mostly from bisphenol A, which mimics estrogen and is derived from petrochemicals.
Our Take: We've been promoting and offering safe reusable bottles for years. Mounting evidence of health risks and reactions like this reinforces the importance of avoiding cheap bottles and/or ones made from controversial materials like polycarbonate. Replace your polycarbonate bottle with a safe option today!
Chicago Tribune 01.16.08
Chicago is set to impose a 5-cent tax on bottled water on Jan. 1, becoming the first major U.S. city to demand such a surcharge. The move -- which officials predict will secure an extra $10.5 million annually -- will help the city plug a budget hole by building on the growing disdain for environmentally suspect bottles.
National Geographic: The Green Guide (July/August 2007 issue)
From childhood, we're told to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Unfortunately more and more Americans drink those eight glasses out of plastic bottles—a convenience that stuffs landfills, clogs waterways and guzzles valuable fossil fuels.
Not only does bottled water contribute to excessive waste, but it costs us a thousand times more than water from our faucet at home, and it is, in fact, no safer or cleaner.
Water aside, the plastic used in both single-use and reusable bottles can pose more of a contamination threat than the water. A safe plastic if used only once, #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) is the most common resin used in disposable bottles. However, as #1 bottles are reused, which they commonly are, they can leach chemicals such as DEHA, a known carcinogen, and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), a potential hormone disrupter.
While single-use water bottles should never be used more than once, some reusable water bottles simply shouldn't be used. The debate continues over the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical known to leach out of the #7 polycarbonate plastic used to make a variety of products.
Our Take: As the battle over bottled water rages on, the best reusable choices come in stainless steel, aluminum and non-leaching plastics. Our store offers several of the brands endorsed in this story.
Plastic water bottles are being targeted as the latest environmental villain. "It's not really about water; it's about oil and all that trash."
'Tap Water' Movement Touts Saving Money And Resources By Carrying Refillable Containers
Carrying a water bottle these days is like carrying a cell phone, house keys and a wallet: You don't leave home without it. But few of us stop to think about the long-range impact of all those bottles we empty over the course of a year...
According to Jennifer Mueller, a spokeswoman for Food and Water Watch, an estimated 47 million gallons of oil are used to produce the bottles that Americans drink each year.
Click here to watch the video.
New York Times 05.27.07
It’s easy to find, in the mightily expanding iconography of American waste, the monumental (a ziggurat of flattened cars), the sinister (ocher sludge foaming on a riverbank) and the sublime (a plastic bag fluttering in a Japanese maple). The empty bottle and crushed aluminum can are none of these. They are almost too commonplace to notice, too dreary to evoke anything at all. Foundered on a roadside or slumped in a bag of spent Chinese takeout, the can without its Mountain Dew and the bottle without its Bud are unremarkable things. They’re just trash: something we once wanted and now can’t be bothered with.
This article details the issue, with statistics on the number of bottles consumed and disposed of within the US, as well as the history of bottle bills as a solution.
Our Take: While the article focuses on use and toss plastic bottles, it addresses the over-consuming nature of our society that has accelerated dramatically in the last 20-30 yrs. The problems with plastic bottles mirrors the plastic bag issue.
Slow Food USA
...Most of the price of a bottle of water goes for its bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing and profit. Transporting bottled water by boat, truck and train involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. More than 5 trillion gallons of bottled water is shipped internationally each year... As further proof that the bottle is worth more than the water in it, starting in 2007, the state of California will give 5 cents for recycling a small water bottle and 10 cents for a large one.
Just supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, according to the Container Recycling Institute...
More than 1 billion plastic water bottles end up in the California's trash each year, taking up valuable landfill space, leaking toxic additives, such as phthalates, into the groundwater and taking 1,000 years to biodegrade. That means bottled water may be harming our future water supply...
Flimsy disposable bottles are so two years ago. Stay in vogue with a stylish new reusable bottle. Find the perfect one for you at http://www.reusablebags.com/store/reusable-bottles-c-19.html
Bottled water is here to stay, a booming industry that grosses more than $7 billion dollars a year in the US alone. Water is necesary, and maintaining hydration is essential to good health (note the increased demand the body calls for when pregnant, breastfeeding and exercising ). But the bottle you drink from may be dangerous to your health.
Polycarbonate water bottles (labeled #7) contain bisphenol A (BPA), which leaches from the plastic even at room temperature and has been linked to chromosome damage and hormone disruption. These are the types of plastic Nalgene water bottles found in sports stores. Commonly, the bottled water you purchase is in #1 PET or PETE bottles (polyethylene terephthalate) , which may leach DEHA, a known carcinogen, if used more than once. Additionally, when refilled, either type of plastic bottles are likely to contain potentially harmful bacteria that grow on saliva, food particles, and fecal material from unwashed hands. Many people have reported getting diarrhea from their reused water bottles. Washing bottles with hot water and detergent or a rinse with bleach will sanitize them, but also leaches harmful chemicals out of the plastic...
...Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient infrastructure whereas bottled water must be transported long distances--and nearly one-fourth of it across national borders--by boat, train, airplane, and truck. This ''involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels,'' Arnold said.
By way of example, in 2004 alone, a Helsinki company shipped 1.4 million bottles of Finnish tap water 4,300 kilometers (2,700 miles) to Saudi Arabia. And although 94 percent of the bottled water sold in the United States is produced domestically, some Americans import water shipped some 9,000 kilometers from Fiji and other faraway places to satisfy demand for what Arnold termed ''chic and exotic bottled water.''
More fossil fuels are used in packaging the water. Most water bottles are made with polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic derived from crude oil. ''Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year,'' Arnold said.
Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year.
Los Angeles Times
Evidence is mounting that a chemical in plastic that is one of the world's most widely used industrial compounds may be risky in the small amounts that seep from bottles and food packaging, according to a report to be published this week in a scientific journal.
The authors of the report, who reviewed more than 100 studies, urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to re-evaluate the risks of bisphenol A and consider restricting its use...
The Christian Science Monitor
There's a plastic explosion going on in the United States. In 1990, Americans bought 1.1 billion pounds of plastic in the form of bottles, according to the Container Recycling Institute. In 2002, they bought more than three times that - 4 billion pounds.
America's population has increased only slightly since 1990. And the amount of plastic used in the average beverage container has actually decreased. Why are today's consumers using so much more plastic?
"That increase is not coming from shampoo bottles," says Jenny Gitlitz, a spokeswoman for the Container Recycling Institute. "It's coming primarily from water bottles."
Link: Trendy source of waste.
Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club
Choose your plastic water bottles carefully -- Clear, lightweight, and sturdy polycarbonate plastic bottles are standard equipment for millions of hikers and babies. (They are usually labeled #7 on the bottom; Nalgene is the best-known producer.) Since polycarbonate bottles don’t impart a taste to fluids, many users assume they are safer than bottles made out of other kinds of plastic. But now an accidental discovery has cast doubt on their safety.
"We just stumbled into this," says Hunt, "but we have been stunned by what we have seen."
Most at risk, says Colborn, are people with developing endocrine systems: pregnant women and newborns, followed by young children, and women who might get pregnant.