Be careful what you eat and drink from after having run the container through the dishwasher

In an article called “Harzards of Hydration”, Sierra Magazine in its November/December 2003 issue discussed surprise results during a 1998 animal study by geneticist Dr. Patricia Hunt at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Apparently aggressive cleaners, such as those used in dish washers, are capable of releasing bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical mimicking estrogen, from polycarbonate plastic bottles and containers. Typically these are labeled #7 on the bottom; Nalgene is one of the best-known producers.

The article points out “that endocrine disrupters like BPA can impair the reproductive organs … reduce sperm counts … and bring about changes in tissue that resemble early-stage breast cancer, among other effects.”

Hunt explains that “the [plastics] industry says this is just rodent studies, but we know that the human egg is more fragile than the mouse egg. if we wait for really hard evidence in humans, it will be too late.”

Safe alternatives, according to Hunt, are polypropylene (#5 PP), high density polyethylene (#2 HDPE) and low density polyethylene (#4 LDPE). Reusing “single use” plastic bottles and containers made of polyethylene terephtalate (#1 PET or PETE) is discouraged.

On the other hand, switching to glass or lightweight stainless steel containers would avoid plastics altogether.

To find out more about endocrine disrupters, take a look at “Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival? — A Scientific Detective Story” by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski and John Peter Meyers:

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