Just When You Thought It Safe to Go Back in the (Drinking) Water

Bisphenol-A-molecule image

Image of Bisphenol-A molecule: Edgar181, via Wikimedia Commons

SNEWS is a publication for the US outdoor sports and fitness industry. They've been providing in-depth coverage of the Bisphenol-A (BPA) story over the past eight years. Yesterday they brought the topic of this endocrine-disrupting chemical back to the fore, with the following news.

On 2 March 201, the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) published a research paper entitled, 'Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved.'

The study's results:

"Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably-detectable EA, [estrogenic activity] including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than BPA-containing products."
Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) is the monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news published by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. They apparently receives over1,200 research manuscripts each year but accept on 22% for publication. So one would expect the science behind this study to be sound.

Story Behind The Story
Interestingly though, SNEWS, (who've have the knack for digging out the story behind the story since 1984), point out that:

- The study was conducted by CertiChem, a laboratory in which George Bittner, one of the study's authors, owns stock.
- The study claims one company, PlastiPure, which also underwrote the research, has created a means of manufacturing plastic that eliminates EA in the production process. PlastiPure stock is owned by Bittner and two other authors of the study.

SNEWS also note that EA or estrogenic activity is common in many chemicals -- natural and man-made. They observe that estrogen-mimicking substances found in plants are known as phytoestrogens, a chunk of which many of us already enjoy, like: "soy, flax, pomegranate, fennel, hops (yes, gang, beer!), red clover, licorice, and many more."

The team at SNEWS seem to be suggesting that until this study is replicated by scientists without a vested commercial interest, water bottle suppliers and retailers in outdoor and fitness industry should not leap immediately to alarmist conclusions.

They do however proffer some general BPA advice for the trade:

"... advise your customers to be prudent and hand-wash their bottles -- even if they are listed as top-rack dishwasher safe. Don't leave bottles lying in the hot sun, such as in the back of an SUV or on the front seat of a car. And tell your customers to be cautious about what liquids they put into plastic bottles and leave stored in them for any significant amount of time - chemicals react with chemicals to create or leach other chemicals."

BPA Thermal Receipts
Of more direct concern to SNEWS appears to be the issue we covered last year, on at least on one or two occasions, of BPA residue on thermal receipt paper, as often found in credit card dockets, automatic teller machine receipts, parking tickets and the like.

Our own Lloyd Alter, who's been TreeHugger's sniffer dog on all things BPA, in this prior post covers some of the history of public reporting on the issue, with some salient recommendations for avoiding BPA in food.

SNEWS on Estrogenic Activity in Plastic Water Bottles
(NB: may require free subscription to view)
More on BPA and canned food
BPA Danger may be greater from Tin Cans than Water Bottles ...
Is There Bisphenol A In Your Home Canning?
Companies You Can Trust to Use BPA-Free Cans :
Consumers Reports Confirms Bisphenol A Leaches From Tin Cans ...

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