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Are Plastic Water Bottles Safe?

Are Plastic Water Bottles Safe Blog Post Image - Blossom Bottles

At Blossom Bottles, we put the health of our customers first. We take great care to sell only bottles that meet our quality standards for safety - no heavy metals, no BPA, no plastics that are known to leach chemicals. We sell bottles that are made from glass, stainless steel, silicone, and certain hard plastics.

This article is dedicated to explaining what plastics we utilize at Blossom Bottles, and why.

You might be asking yourself lately a lot of questions about plastics, with increasing coverage in the news about BPA and concerns about the safety of plastics. Although there is still much that is unknown about plastic toxicity, we think it's important to understand the current research on different types of plastics, in order to steer clear of certain plastics that are known without question to be harmful to human health.

So let's get on our science hats and have a look. You can find source links at the bottom of the article for more information. 

PLASTICS WE DON'T USE

These plastics listed below are plastics that you will never find here in our store. Let's briefly see why.

1. Number 1 Plastic- Poly Terephthalate (PETE or PET)

PETE Plastic is usually the type of plastic used for single-use plastic water bottles. Not only are single-use disposable plastic bottles an environmental issue for our oceans, but they can be a health issue as well. This thin, very flexible plastic has been shown to leave elevated levels of antimony in water stored in PETE bottles (especially in the heat or for extended periods of time), due to the use of antimony trioxide as a catalyst in the production of PETE plastic. (1,2) 

In fact, PETE is used for single-use water bottles with the safety recommendation to only use the bottle one time. (3) Hence, we definitely do not recommend refilling single-use bottles! 

2. Number 3 Plastic- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl chloride is made from large strands of vinyl chloride molecules - a known carcinogen. PVC is often considered the most hazardous and toxic plastic. It has been documented that PVC in its soft forms used for toys, bottles, and packaging (especially cling-wrap for packaging meats) can leach phthalates, "plasticizers" which are used for adding flexibility to plastics. Phthalates (in particular DEHP and BBzP in this case) are known endocrine disruptors, which means that they imitate the female hormone estrogen, and are linked to sex changes in frogs, asthma, allergies, and ADHD in children.(4) Therefore, we recommend avoiding PVC like the plague! 

3. Number 6 Plastic- Polystyrene (PS)

Polystyrene definitely makes the "super toxic plastics" list. Better known as "Styrofoam," we are all familiar with this plastic as shipping peanuts. Polystyrene, as the name implies, is a long chain of styrene (poly meaning many), which is a "reasonably anticipated human carcinogen." It is considered a toxic substance to the brain and nervous system, as well as the immune system. The leaching of styrene from polystyrene containers into food or liquids is even more probable when the food or liquids in question are hot or oily. (4)  Despite this, Styrofoam containers are often used in restaurants as take-out containers, and are also often used as take-away coffee cups. Drinking hot coffee out of Styrofoam or using it to store hot foods is something we'd highly recommend against!

4. Polycarbonate (PC) 

When you hear about plastics leaching BPA, the culprit is polycarbonate plastic. This is because polycarbonate is made from long chains of BPA (bisphenol-A), which has been shown to easily leach from bottles made from this type of plastic, as well as aluminum cans and bottles with BPA lining. BPA is, like phthalates, an endocrine disruptor, again causing a long list of strange and severe health problems including reproductive disorders and cancer. (4)

Polycarbonate is being phased out of many products as consumers have spoken out against its use. However, there are still many reusable plastic bottles out there that contain BPA. We make sure not to sell anything that contains BPA or polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate is labeled as Number 7 Plastic, although other types of plastics are also categorized under the umbrella of Number 7, which can be any "other" type of plastic not listed in the 1-6 plastic identification system. 

To sum it up:

  • No PETE- Risk of leaching antimony, intended for single use only
  • No PVC- Leaches endocrine disruptors; highly toxic
  • No Styrofoam- Likely carcinogen, leaches with hot drinks
  • No PC (Polycarbonate)- Contains BPA, a known endocrine disruptor

Although number 2 plastic Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and number 4 plastic High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) have not been shown to pose a significant risk of leaching into foods and beverages, we do not source any bottles made of these materials.

PLASTICS WE USE 

 In our store, you will find plastic bottles made from two different types of plastics that we consider safe to reuse for an everyday water bottle, after a lengthy review of the literature available.

We provide plastic bottles in our store because some people prefer plastic for outdoor activity, biking, sports, gym, etc., due to its flexibility and resistance against breaking. We have a range of innovative plastic bottles that include citrus and fruit infusers and protein shake bottles, that are quality-made and CE certified to not contain heavy metals or foreign substances (safe for food and beverage use). However, as mentioned above, the research on plastics is still incomplete. If you don't feel comfortable storing beverages in plastic whatsoever, we have a wide selection of glass, stainless steel, and silicone bottles as well. 

We do always recommend washing plastics by hand unless specified as dishwasher safe, keeping all plastic bottles out of direct sunlight and away from fire, and not leaving bottles in extremely hot conditions such as the inside of a car on a summer day.

These are the plastics you'll find in our collections.

1. Number 5 Plastic- Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is a stiff and heat resistant plastic, and is often used in the food and beverage industry. It is made up of long chains of methyl groups or CH3, one carbon and three hydrogens, therefore it is not made of monomers of any known carcinogenic substances or endocrine disruptors (unlike styrene, vinyl chloride, or BPA which are the monomers used to create polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, and polycarbonate, respectively). (4)

In a lab experiment conducted on 5 types of plastic, polyethylene (PE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polypropylene (PP) in the form of plastic pellets were placed in artificial seawater for 24 hours. Polypropylene was the only plastic tested that did not leach into the water. (5)

2. Tritan Plastic

Tritan is a relatively new plastic more formally known as Eastman Tritan co-polyester. Tritan has been demonstrated at the present time to not leach harmful chemical substances, and is shown to be stable and heat resistant. 

The monomers used in the synthesis of Tritan were studied in the laboratory to see if they had any potential binding activity to the androgen receptor and estrogen receptors, or in other words, to see if it could cause endocrine disrupting effects as we have seen with BPA and PVC plastic. The authors of the study demonstrated that these monomers did not bind to these hormonal receptors, and concluded that Tritan's key components do not pose an androgenic or estrogenic risk to humans. (6) In another study testing for BPA, no detectable BPA contamination was observed in water stored in bottles made from Tritan plastic. (7) 

We hope that you have found this article informative, and if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to leave them below!  

 

Sources:
1. "Antimony leaching from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used for bottled drinking water." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17707454
2. "Contamination of bottled waters with antimony leaching from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) increases upon storage." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17396641
3. "What numbers of plastic are safe for water bottles? The Numbers Behind Water Bottles" https://theberkey.com/blogs/water-filter/what-numbers-of-plastic-for-water-bottles-are-safe-for-you-the-numbers-behind-plastic-bottles
4. "COMMON PLASTICS #1 TO #7" https://www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/common_plastics_no_1_to_no_7#.W1de2tIzbIU
5. "TOXICITY OF PLASTICS" https://www.blastic.eu/knowledge-bank/impacts/toxicity-plastics/
6. "Lack of androgenicity and estrogenicity of the three monomers used in Eastman’s Tritan™ copolyesters" https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512000865
7. "Assessment of bisphenol A released from reusable plastic, aluminium and stainless steel water bottles" https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004565351100717X

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