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Bottles: plastic, aluminum...what is best?

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bottles: plastic, aluminum...what is best?

There has been such controversy about drinking bottled water since it became a trend years ago because of the cost and the issue with lack of bottle recycling, and now the issue is about what you drink your (hopefully home filtered tap water) out of.  There are a couple of issues that many people might not even be aware of: seepage of BPA (Bisphenol A) from plastic versus aluminum absorption from metal bottles. So what are we supposed to do??

Bisphenol A:
BPA has been talked about since the early 2000's but gained a LOT of press around 2009 when some studies came out showing how bad it was for babies and the fact that it was in so many baby bottles and other products.  There have been numerous studies in animals that have shown various mal effects, despite the National Institute of Health (NIH) stating they have "mild concerns" about BPA in humans and the National Toxicology Panel making a statement that they had the same level of concern with children and "negligible" concern related to the health effects of BPA on pregnant women. BUT there have been some animal studies showing issues with: increase of obesity, neurological disorders, dopaminergic systems (creating hyperactivity), adverse effects on thyroid function, promote growth of neuroblastoma cells, impaired testicular growth and prostate cancer.  Most of the animal studies are pretty weak and have not been correlated with human studies, as well the levels of BPA administered to the animals were pretty high.  A study in 2008 in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) which is a big journal, did a BPA study on 1,500 humans and found links with BPA and diabetes, heart disease, and poor liver function but stated that the results required further investigation.  They followed up their study in January 2010 and found that there was only a slight increase in risk of heart disease with BPA present in adult humans urine.  Am I saying its safe?  No.  Am I saying its as horrible for adults as most people think?  I'm not convinced; I try to stay away from BPA but I am not a total freak about it.

If you read the recycle codes on the bottom of bottles #7 and #3 plastics usually contain BPA, although some companies do make #7 plastic bottles in BPA free. So steer clear of those two numbers and don't use them to as refillable, that's when most of the seepage occurs.  Stick to recycle codes 2, 4, 5, and 6 on the bottom of bottles if you still want to use plastic.

The Aluminum Issue:
Are you actually absorbing aluminum from the aluminum lined stainless steel bottles?  Numerous studies from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) starting from the 1980's has shown significant seepage of aluminum (from cans and bottles) into the food substances and absorption in the GI tract causing numerous health issues.  Most of the aluminum that we absorb is from aluminum pots and pans, aluminum foil in contact with food, beverage cans, many antacids, and as a filler in a bunch of different foods.  As long ago as the mid 1980's, there was strong research out of Germany showing the relation of aluminum intake to Alzheimer's-like syndrome, as aluminum inhibits the uptake of choline and dopamine, which causes: progressive dementia, shaking, trembling, an inability to pronounce words, a lack of coordination, fatigue, and a decrease in brain cell energy.  The older you are, the higher you absorption rate of aluminum is, and while it isn't completely understood as to the rate of absorption across the blood-brain barrier (which usually protects your brain from bad stuff), we know it occurs and  causes major disturbances.  So, while I originally jumped on the bandwagon and grabbed a Sigg bottle, once I researched the whole deal I felt perplexed!!

What do I do?
Honestly, I drink out of GLASS as often as possible, that is cleaned in hot water without corrosive cleansers, and I do drink out of plastic when I am at work (no other choice, really) or when I work out (the last thing I want to do is lug around a glass bottle and smash it!) as long as they are #2,4, 5 recycle code bottles, I really don't worry too much. I do have glass bottles that I can put my Brita water in from home for when I go on errands and whatnot (I have a big purse- which i know isn't helpful for men) but you have to look at what is best for you.  I do think that we should not expose babies to it, and there are tons of options on the market for glass bottles with BPA free nipples, and/or plastic bottles that are #2,4,5, and 7 BPA free.  Check your canned goods too; while some have only small amounts of aluminum in them, many are lined with BPA (a double whammy!!)  Many companies are trying to find another option, based on the recent studies, mostly to assuage consumers fears.

So, be aware of what is better, and make the best choices for you and your family, and what works best for your wallet- making these changes can be pricey but possibly better for your health.

Yours in Good Health


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