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How Safe Are the Plastic Water Bottles? Beware of BPA-Containing Polycarbonate Plastic Bottles?

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BPA has been extensively and thoroughly studied in the past 20 years by scientists and researchers. However, the government has not been acting on their findings. Until April and May of 2008 when the Canadian government announced its plans to ban BPA-polycarbonate baby bottles, the health authorities and department in the United States paid little attention to this issue. So how dangerous is BPA to humans and animals? We surveyed a few key medical research studies published in academic, peer-reviewed journals and present a summary of their findings here.

Risks of BPA in Medical and Environmental Research
Just how dangerous is BPA to animals and humans? The following risks of BPA-containing plastics have been published in medical and environmental literature in the past two decades:

  • As of December 2004, there were 115 published in vivo studies of low-dose BPA exposure, with 94 studies showing significant effects, such as the disruption of cell functions. (von Saal and Hughes, Environmental Health Perspectives, August 2005)

  • In Japan and in the United States, researchers have found that BPA accounted for most estrogenic activity that leaches from municipal landfills into the surrounding ecosystems (Kawagoshi et al., Japan Environmental Monitoring, 2003; Coors et al., Environmental Science and Technology, 2003)

  • Japanese researchers have found that BPA can disrupt thyroid hormone action. (Moriyama et al., Japan Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism, 2002) Other researchers have confirmed this finding. (Zoeller et al., Endocrinology, 2005)

  • Scientists have found that very low part-per-trillion doses of BPA can cause expansion of human prostate cancer cells through binding to a mutant form of the androgen receptor expressed in a subpopulation of prostate cancer cells (Wetherill et al., Molecular Cancer Therap., 2002)

  • BPA has been found by medical researchers to block testosterone synthesis (Akingbemi et al., Endocrinology, 2004)

  • Scientists found that BPA can alter basic cell function at extremely low doses of below 1 part-per-trillion (ppt): In breast tumor MCF-7 cells of rats, BPA stimulated calcium influx at low doses of 23 ppt. (Walsh et al., Molecular Cell Endocrinology, 2005) But at the lowest dose tested, 0.23 ppt, researchers found that BPA also stimulated calcium influx and prolactin secretion in rat pituitary tumor cells. (Wozniak et al., Environmental Health Perspectives, 2005)

  • The environmental BPA exposure may block the effects of estrogen on certain type of brain cells, indicating that chronic exposure to BPA might interfere with estrogen effects on brain's development and function, inhibiting normal sex differences in cognitive function and other nonreproductive behavior. (MacLusky et al., Environmental Health Perspectives, 2005)

These risks are just a sampling of the hundreds of scientific research articles published in the past two decades in the United States, Europe, and Japan. For your health, we suggest that if you are using polycarbonate plastic water bottles currently, consider switching to glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel bottles and containers. It's better to be safe than sorry!

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