Posted on 27 April 2011.
Bisphenol-A, commonly referred to as BPA, is a chemical that is used in the manufacturing of some types of plastics and epoxy resins. Concerns have arisen in recent years regarding the safety of BPA, although the chemical’s ability to mimic estrogen was noted as early as 1936. Additionally, a study in 1997 demonstrated that even low doses of BPA could have adverse effects. Although scientists continue to study plastics with BPA, this potentially toxic chemical is still found in many products. But the use of BPA is beginning to be regulated by government agencies in many countries. Bisphenol-A is most commonly found in specific types of plastic products, and may cause negative health consequences, particularly in susceptible groups of people.
Why is BPA in plastic?
BPA is commonly found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins because it is used during the chemical synthesis of these products. Plastics with BPA are used to make water bottles, sports and medical equipment, and CD/DVDs, among other items because it is clear and shatter resistant.
Where is BPA most commonly found?
Plastics with BPA, specifically polycarbonate, are the most common sources of exposure. These are hard, clear plastic products and frequently carry the number 7 recycling code. However, not all products labeled with recycle code 7 are polycarbonate or contain BPA. Flexible PVC products but not PVC pipes sometimes contain BPA and are typically recycle code 3. The polymer coating inside most aluminum cans also contains BPA, and the chemical can also be found in carbonless copy paper and thermal paper, which is frequently used for printing receipts(iv). Concerns about BPA consumption are most frequently linked to food storage containers. According to the National Institutes of Health, food stored in plastics with BPA can allow for BPA contamination especially if the food is hot or the container is heated(v).
What are the negative health consequences of BPA?
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has stated that there is insufficient evidence to conclusively determine if BPA causes adverse effects on development or reproduction in humans, although there is evidence in animal studies that even low doses of BPA can be detrimental(vi). The NTP has also stated that there is some concern regarding adverse effects on development in fetuses, infants and children. Other health effects of BPA, including obesity, thyroid dysfunction, cancer and sexual difficulties, have been suggested, although research is inconclusive, but ongoing.
Who should be most concerned about BPA?
The strongest evidence of BPA causing harm is in fetuses, infants and children. The Department of Health and Human Services provides recommendations to help limit the exposure of these groups to plastics with BPA (vii).
Posted in More About Water
Posted on 05 April 2011.
Because it is regulated by the FDA and is legally considered a food, bottled water does have an expiration date, and the bottled water that you may have been storing in case of an emergency may no longer be as pure as it once was. It does keep far longer than any other food or drink, but many people still wonder how to store water and how long water can be stored before it “goes bad,” let alone if we can store water indefinitely. The answers to these questions are actually somewhat complex and dependent on a few factors. After we answer the following questions you will hopefully know how to store water and if there really is such a thing as “water expiration.”
Can water “go bad?”
Technically, water won’t spoil or grow moldy, and you won’t get sick if you drink old water (unless you’re drinking contaminated water), so you don’t have to worry too much about how to store water. It can, however, pick up smells or flavors from its surrounding environment. The plastic in which bottled water is stored is slightly porous, and the bottles of water themselves are not hermetically sealed anyway. This means that storing water in a musty basement for longer than about one year will result in water that with a slightly musty taste and smell. It’s a little unpleasant, but it isn’t harmful. The plastic can also break down leech chemicals into the water after one to two years, but this will do nothing more than change the taste of the water slightly. In short, your water will still be safe to drink no matter how old it is or how strange it tastes.
Why are there expiration dates on water bottles?
In 1987 a law was passed in the state of New Jersey that said that all packaged food items must carry an expiration date of two years or less from its manufacturing date.
It would be too inefficient to manufacture bottles with an expiration date just for New Jersey, so most bottled water companies just decided that all their water had a two-year shelf life. This expiration date doesn’t really mean a whole lot, as water will keep indefinitely as long as it was bottled correctly.
How to store water: the ideal conditions
Storing water at temperatures between 35 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit will extend its “shelf life.” Most of the time water can be stored safely in plastic bottles, although glass bottles are probably safer. They are free of any chemicals and are less permeable than plastic.
Can a bottle of water be kept for long after it has been opened?
An open bottle of water should last about two days. Of course, it won’t become undrinkable in that time, but it will be further exposed to the surrounding environment. It probably won’t taste as good as “fresh” water, but it will be safe.
Posted in More About Water
Posted on 01 March 2011.
Public concerns related to chemicals in the water supply have become popular over the past few years; this has ultimately led to an increase in the consumption of bottled water. While choosing between the consumption of bottled water or tap water is in the end up to the consumer, there are still many factors that help people choose between the two. The most prominent of these factors are safety concerns, cost factors, environmental costs, and whether or not a person has access to tap or bottled water.
Within the United States, both bottled and tap water is considered to be extremely safe to consume. While bottled water is often thought of as being cleaner and safer than drinking tap water, there is no research that supports such evidence. The quality of water in both bottles and municipals differs, making it very hard to come up with a generalization as to which one wins over the other. The FDA sets the safety standards for bottled water, while the EPA sets the safety standards that regulate municipal water. The EPA standards that govern municipal water sources are far more strict than the regulations surrounding bottled water. For this reason many people are turning to tap water. When a person asks “What’s in my water?” it is imperative that the person understands what type of treatment the water undergoes, as well as the source of the water.
Prices of Bottled and Tap Water Per Gallon
In most areas across the United States the price of bottled water is 300 times more costly than the price of tap water. In fact the SFPUC enables consumers to purchase water at only around $.003/gallon; with bottled water costing anywhere between $1 and $4 a gallon. Not only is bottled water more expensive in relation to its purchasing price but also with the time and energy it takes to purchase it and deliver it to its destination.
Costs to the Environment
Since water is often times imported from foreign countries and shipped long distances this increases the consumption of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions, which ultimately leads to air pollution. Taking all of these factors into consideration, it is easy to understand that why bottled water is bad for the environment based on its delivery and consumption.
Within the United States it is easy to access bottled water or tap water. Almost any type of convenient or grocery store sells bottled water, while most homes and building structures are built with the ability to provide tap water. The public within the United States brings many beneficial aspects to the impact water has on the environment by maintaining values that demand to know “How safe is my water?”
Keeping the safety concerns, price costs, environmental costs, and accessibility issues in mind it becomes apparent that tap water should ultimately be the main type of water consumed; however, since the United States is a free country it still provides the public with their own choice.
Posted in Green Living
Posted on 23 December 2010.
Why Bottled Water Is Bad
When you consume bottled water you are consuming somewhere between 1100 and 2000 times as much energy as when you drink tap water, according to a study by the Pacific Institute. Bottled water is becoming more popular, and this could lead to serious environmental complications as a result. In addition to that, it is either no more healthy than tap water, or more dangerous.
The Facts About Why Bottled Water Is Bad
A total of 60 million plastic bottles find their way to American landfills. This is not every year, month, or week. It is every single day. The economic considerations are nothing to laugh of either, with a total of $15 billion being spent each year on bottled water. Four hundred and fifty gallons of tap water can be bought for the same price as a single bottle of water. At the same time, 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide are produced each year in the process of bottling water. This contributes to global warming which has serious consequences for the environment, the ecosystem, the economy, and the future of the human race. Even more staggering, it takes an average of three full liters of water just to produce 1 liter of bottled water. Across the globe, a total of 1.5 million tons of plastic waste are produced in the form of water bottles. A paltry five percent of them are recycled. Thirty-eight billion bottles are discarded each year. Even when the energy that is used to transport bottles of water is ignored, 17 million barrels of oil are used in the production of water bottles each year.
Why Bottled Water Is Bad: It Isn’t Actually Healthier
You might think that all of this is worth it because the drinking water is already bad, and bottled water is better for your health. This is not true. When you drink water from the bottle, you may actually be putting yourself at risk. Theoretically speaking, bottled water is regulated by the FDA. However, since 70% of it never crosses a state border, it is exempt from inspection. In contrast, tap water is provided by a heavily regulated industry. The EPA regularly inspects the water systems. Tap water is regularly inspected for toxic chemicals and bacteria. The bottled water industry has also been caught in the act, in several cases, of simply selling tap water anyway. Some plastics are known to start leaching chemicals when they are heated, meaning that you could be drinking remnants of a product produced from oil. Whether or not these chemicals are likely to lead to health problems can’t yet be demonstrated, but why take the risk?
You Know Why Bottled Water Is Bad, So What You Can Do?
Now that you know why bottled water is bad, get bottled water out of your life. Any time that you would reach for a bottle of water, you can find a faucet or drinking fountain somewhere nearby. Use a refillable bottle of water instead, and/or use a water filter. This is equivalent to 200 bottles of water that won’t go into a landfill.
Posted in Why?
Posted on 13 December 2010.
The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day) employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.
And, for all you fact checkers out there, http://storyofstuff.org/pdfs/StoryOfB…
Posted in Video