Drinking from polycarbonate bottles increases levels of urinary bisphenol A (BPA), according to a recent study. BPA had been connected to cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and even infertility, in past research.
Polycarbonate is a durable, hard plastic, that is popularly used in the manufacturing of thermal drinking bottles, as well as baby bottles. Many polycarbonate bottles contain BPA, despite past studies linking BPA to numerous dangerous conditions, because it was assumed that the BPA did not seep into the liquid contents of the bottles. This assumption was apparently wrong.
Past human studies have connected direct BPA “exposure” to increased risk for CVD and diabetes. More definitive animal studies have connected BPA to reproductive problems, due to it’s nature as an “endocrine disruptor” (substances that mimic hormones in the endocrine system, leading to physiological problems). More specifically, BPA has been connected to early sexual maturation, altered mammary glands, and decreased sperm count, in various animals. It’s not known, but suspected, that these finding apply to humans, in some form, as well.
The current study observed that after only one week of drinking cold beverages from cold polycarbonate bottles, study participants had more than two-thirds the amount of BPA in their urine than non polycarbonate bottle drinkers. It’s a fear that heated polycarbonate bottles, or beverages within these bottles, would release even more BPA, causing more damage. Says senior author Dr. Karin B. Michels of Harvard Medical School, “we found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA’s endocrine-disrupting potential.”
The use of BPA in the manufacturing of polycarbonate bottles, especially baby bottles, has been a hot topic recently, with Canada banning the use of BPA in baby bottles, last year. This current research certainly suggests that more countries, and manufacturers, should implement similar regulations. Concludes co-author, Dr. Jenny Carwile, “this study is coming at an important time because many states are deciding whether to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. While previous studies have demonstrated that BPA is linked to adverse health effects, this study fills in a missing piece of the puzzle—whether or not polycarbonate plastic bottles are an important contributor to the amount of BPA in the body.”
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Carwile, Jenny. Michels, Karin. Datz, Todd. Harvard School of Public Health news release. May 2009.