Safe Plastics

We buy bottled water because we believe it is good for us. However, it is most likely doing more harm than good. All plastic water bottles in Ireland are made from a type of plastic called Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE). 

What to look for

This is indicated by the number 1 inside the little triangle on the bottom of the bottle. PET and PETE contain bisophenpl A and is implicated in a wide range of health disorders. Drinking from plastic increases your risk of breast and prostate cancer and many other diseases.

To choose  a plastic bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a number 2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a number 4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a number 5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine according to current theory. The type of plastic bottle in which water is sold is always number 1, and is not safe. UNfortunately also, the water cooler bottles supplied to offices and health clubs and the colourful hard plastic bottles kids take to school are both made from made with polycarbonate plastics identified by the number 7 recycling symbol and leach BPA and are not safe.

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Brand Carahealth

The best advice for your health and the planet

As the plastics they are probably telling us are safe now will probably be found to be not safe in the near future, the safest bet is to buy a BPA free stainless steel bottle which are now widely available and fill it from a Carahealth Eco Water Filter that filters tap water. Do yourself a favour, ditch the plastic. It is better for the environment and you and your family's health.

Bisphenol A BPA and the Endocrine Disruptor Controversy

Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies. Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels and prstate cancer in men and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes and thyroid disorders.

There is growing concern that exposure to bisphenol A may induce adverse effects in humans. Bisphenol A was investigated in the 1930s during the search for oestrogen mimics. From this study the synthetic compound diethylstilbestrol was shown to be a better competitor with oestrogen. Bisphenol A, like many other compounds, is known to be an oestrogen receptor agonist. Such agonists can activate oestrogen receptors, leading to similar physiological effects as the body's own oestrogens.

The first evidence of the oestrogenicity of bisphenol A came from experiments in the 1930s in which it was fed to ovariectomized rats. Some hormone disrupting effects in studies on animals and human cancer cells have been shown to occur at levels as low as 2–5 ppb (parts per billion). It has been claimed that these effects lead to health problems such as, in men, lowered sperm count and infertile sperm.

Recent studies have confirmed that bisphenol A exposure during development has carcinogenic effects and produce precursors of breast cancer. Bisphenol A has been shown to have developmental toxicity, carcinogenic effects, and possible neurotoxicity. Recent studies suggest it may also be linked to obesity by triggering fat-cell activity. Schizophrenia research indicates endocrine disruptors like BPA may be involved in schizophrenia pathogenesis.

A consensus statement by 38 BPA experts concluded that average levels in people are above those that cause harm to animals in laboratory experiments, and a NIH-sponsored panel in the U.S. determined that there was 'some concern' about BPA's effect on foetal and infant brain and behaviour. Peer reviewed publications have appeared pointing out flaws within the chemical industry funded studies that report bisphenol A safety

In 2006, Canadian regulators selected bisphenol A as one of 200 substances deserving of thorough safety assessments after preliminary studies found it to be 'inherently toxic'.

Dr. Maida Galvez, a pediatrician studying BPA, recommends parents stay away from bottles containing the chemical and says, "We know the animal studies raise concerns, but there aren't human studies showing effects yet ... so, when we don't have the evidence, what we recommend is that parents try to err on the side of caution."

Bisphenol A has been known to leach from the plastic lining of canned foods and, to a lesser degree, polycarbonate plastics that are cleaned with harsh detergents or used to contain acidic or high-temperature liquids. The chemical is found in almost everyone that lives in developed countries at low concentrations.

Infants fed with liquid infant formula have among the highest exposures of anyone eating canned foods. Infants fed canned formula with polycarbonate bottles can consume quantities of bisphenol A up to 13 µg/kg/day, while the most sensitive animal studies show effects at much lower concentrations.

Debate continues on what is the safe limit of this compound. Within the United States, an exposure of up to 50 µg/kg/day (50 ppb/day) is considered safe by the United States Environmental Protection Agency - well above the levels found to have caused negative health effects in studies (see table below).

BPA free baby bottles and drinking containers are now widely available.

Dose (µg/kg/day)
Effects (measured in studies of laboratory animals) 
Study Year
0.025 Permanent changes to genital tract 2005
0.025 Changes in breast tissue that predispose cells to hormones and carcinogens  2005
2. 3 % increase in prostate mass 1997
2.4 Signs of early puberty 2002
2.4 Decline in testicular testosterone 2004
2.5 Breast cells predisposed to cancer    2006
10 Prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer 2006
10 Insulin resistance  2006
10 Decreased maternal behaviour   2002
20 Damage to eggs and chromosomes 2003
25 Health Canada provisional human exposure limit  1999
30 Hyperactivity   2004
30 Reversal of normal sex difference in brain structure     2001
50 U.S. human exposure limit     1998

Identification in plastics

Highlighted in bold type in the table below are believed to not leach chemicals in any significant amount
. Type 7 is the highest risk for BPA (Bisphenol A) leaching.

There are seven groups of plastic polymers, each with specific properties that are used worldwide for many packaging applications (see table below). Each group of plastic polymer can be identified by its Plastic Identification code (PIC) - usually a number or a letter abbreviation. For instance, Low-Density Polyethylene can be identified by the number "4" and/or the letters "LDPE".

The PIC appears inside a three-chasing arrow recycling symbol. The symbol is used to indicate whether the plastic can be recycled into new products. The PIC was introduced by the Society of Plastics Industry, Inc. which provides a uniform system for the identification of different polymer types and helps recycling companies to separate different plastics for reprocessing.

Manufacturers of plastic food packaging and containers can voluntarily mark their products with the PIC. Consumers can identify the plastic types based on the codes usually found at the base or at the side of the plastic food packaging and containers. The PIC is usually not present on packaging films, as it is not practical to collect and recycle most of this type of waste.

Plastic Identification Code Type of plastic polymer Properties Common Packaging Applications
1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE) Clarity, strength, toughness, barrier to gas and moisture. Soft drink, water and salad dressing bottles; peanut butter and jam jars. Considered unsafe.

2 High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Stiffness, strength, toughness, resistance to moisture, permeability to gas.

Milk, juice and water bottles; yoghurt and margarine tubs; rubbish and retail bags. Considered safe.
3 Polyvinyl Chloride (V) Versatility, clarity, ease of blending, strength, toughness.

Juice bottles; cling films. Considered unsafe.
4 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Ease of processing, strength, toughness, flexibility, ease of sealing, barrier to moisture.

Frozen food bags; squeezable bottles, e.g. honey, mustard; cling films; flexible container lids. Considered safe.
5 Polypropylene (PP)
Strength, toughness, resistance to heat, chemicals, grease and oil, versatile, barrier to moisture. Reusable microwaveable ware; kitchenware; yoghurt containers; margarine tubs; microwaveable disposable take-away containers; disposable cups and plates. Considered safe.

6 Polystyrene (PS) Versatility, clarity, easily formed Egg cartons; disposable cups, plates, trays and cutlery; disposable take-away containers; yoghurt and margarine containers. Considered unsafe.

7 Other Dependent on polymers or combination or polymers Beverage bottles; baby milk bottles. Considered unsafe.

Remember, the ones in BOLD are considered safe. What is on the bottom of your plastic water bottle?

Plastic water bottles are an environmental disaster

Fluoride is in bottled water!

Most people dont realise that bottled water is only filtered tap water in most cases and as fluoride is not removed under normal filtration processes, most bottled water contains fluoride. Bottled water also poses an environmental nightmare to say the least. The most environmentally friendly way to filter your water is using an Eco Water Filter that uses no electricity ever and leaves the healthful minerals in.

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Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.

For further details on this topic or to arrange an online appointment contact Carina This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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