Is Bottled Water Disrupting Your Hormones?
According to the Mother Nature News website, waste from plastic water bottles is responsible for as much as one-and-a-half tons of plastic waste per year. In addition to the environmental concerns associated with that statistic, there’s been some concern in recent years that plastic water bottles may leach chemicals into the liquid. There’s still much debate over that subject. Recently though, a study published in the PLOS ONE journal adds momentum to the beliefs of people who’d rather drink from reusable bottles that don’t contain potentially toxic chemicals rather than take chances with store-bought water packaged in disposable containers.
EDCs Offered Prior Reasons for Concern
Researchers have discovered that commercially-available bottled water may contain Endocrine Disrupting Compounds, or EDCs. These man-made compounds may interfere with hormonal systems, and particularly the reproductive system. Fairly recently, one EDC, Bisphenol A, or BPA, was identified in the plastic used to make baby bottles. The unveiling of that news caused much public attention towards the issue, and it’s now common to see everything from food storage containers to water bottles proudly containing language to promote that an item does not contain BPA.
In 2010, The Endocrine Society’s Hormones and Cancer published a study involving mice, indicating that exposure to BPA and diethylstilbestrol, another EDC, may be harmful even before a fetus is born. Dr. Hugh Taylor, the lead author of that study said that together, diethylstilbestrol and BPA may affect the mammary gland throughout life, possibly increasing the risk of breast cancer. These two previous incidents align with the findings of the more recent PLOS ONE study, and may make you think twice before sipping from a disposable bottle.
What Was Examined During the Recent Investigation?
Researchers had two aims. First, they wanted to confirm EDCs were leaking into bottled drinking water. If that assumption held true, the scientists planned to look deeper and determine precisely which EDCs were in the water. To gather information, the experts pored over previously published data, and also analyzed eighteen bottled water samples.
Antiestrogenic and Antiandrogenic Compounds
Within the eighteen samples viewed during the study, scientists uncovered thirteen antiestrogenic compounds that block the activity of estrogen. Additionally, sixteen samples showed evidence of antiandrogenic compounds. Those suppress biological effects that should occur naturally. The research team also found di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate, or DEHF, in the water. That compound is also antiandrogenic, but the scientists say further research is necessary before suggesting the compound be banned in food containers. There has not yet been a link established that shows DEHF is harmful to humans.
A Complex Conundrum
If this information has been powerful enough to make you want to avoid drinking water for the rest of your life and also urge others to do the same, remember that while the majority of people in places such as the United States have the great benefit of public access to drinking water that’s thoroughly tested and deemed safe to drink, the same is often not true in third-world countries where bottled water could save lives. It’s still too early to say bottled drinking water poses a large-scale public health threat, so for now, the most appropriate course of action is to stay abreast of scientific findings as much as possible in order to make your own intelligent and informed decisions about whether you should stop purchasing and consuming bottled water.
Brett Harris is a very eco-friendly consumer that is concerned with all the chemicals in our everyday products and the effects they have on our health. To get involved in health matters concerning the general population consider one of the Top 10 best online Masters in Public Health degree programs here http://www.topmastersinpublichealth.com/best/online/.