Plastic Bottled Spring Water or Fluorinated/ChlorinatedTap Water in Glass? Pick your poison?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 21, 2013 at 8:19 PM

When you eat out do you prefer bottled water in plastic (glass is rare and expensive) or tap water with fluoride/chlorine etc.?

I believe iodine can detoxify fluoride and chlorine according to Dr. David Brownstein, MD so I believe tap water to be a better option since I consume a decent amount of sea veggies.

http://chriskresser.com/how-plastic-food-containers-could-be-making-you-fat-infertile-and-sick Plastic has endocrine disruptors that could disrupt hormones>

How plastic food containers could be making you fat, infertile and sick

We???ve known for decades that BPA has estrogenic activity. In vivo animal studies and in vitro cell-culture research has linked low-level estrogenic activity associated with BPA exposure to all kinds of fun stuff, like diabetes, ADHD, heart disease, infertility and cancer.

There is now significant evidence suggesting that even low levels of BPA-exposure can cause harm, and this is particularly true in vulnerable populations like pregnant women, infants and the chronically ill. (1)

Because of this research, and the growing public awareness that BPA should be avoided, a new crop of ???BPA-free??? plastic food containers and baby bottles has been introduced. However, a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in July has shown that even BPA-free plastics have chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA), and can cause serious health problems as a result. (2)

What is ???estrogenic activity??? (EA)?

Chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA) are those that mimic or antagonize the actions of naturally occurring estrogens. These chemicals are capable of binding with one or more of the nuclear estrogen receptors in the body.

The best way to think of chemicals with EA is as a counterfeit key fitting into a loose lock. When these chemicals activate the estrogen receptor, they produce an increase in circulating estrogen, which in turn can cause problems such as early puberty in females, reduced sperm counts, altered function of the reproductive organs, obesity, increased rates of certain cancers and problems with infant and childhood development. (3)

As I mentioned above, vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, developing fetuses, infants and children are especially sensitive to even very low doses of chemicals with EA. (4)

BPA-free is not EA-free

In the Environmental Health Perspectives study, Yaniger et al. set out to determine the estrogenic activity of commonly used plastic consumer products.

They bought more than 500 plastic products at places like Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Trader Joe???s, Target, and other major retailers. They selected from all categories of plastic, including tupperware containers, bags and wraps.

Then they cut the containers into pieces, put them into liquids that contain similar chemicals found in food and drinks, and subjected them to stresses that mimic normal use, like UV light (sunlight), microwaving, or moist heat (like boiling or dishwashing).

Their results showed that over 90 percent of the products leached estrogenic chemicals before they were even stressed, and after being stressed essentially all of the products showed estrogenic activity.

According to Stuart Yaniger, one of the lead authors of the study:

Baby bottles, plastic bags, plastic wrap, clamshell food containers, stand-up pouches: Just about anything you can think of that???s made of plastic that food or beverages are wrapped up in, we found this activity. It was shocking to us.

What plastics do and don???t have EA? It???s impossible to tell.

Perhaps the most troubling outcome of this study is that it???s currently impossible to determine which consumer plastic products are likely to have chemicals with EA, and which are not. The exact chemical composition of most plastic products is proprietary and thus not known, and a single plastic item containing many parts (e.g. a baby bottle) may consist of >100 chemicals, all of which can leach from the product.

In light of the researchers??? finding that nearly all of the 500 plastic products they tested leached when stressed, and 90 percent of them leached even without stress, I think it???s pretty safe to assume that most plastic products you can buy in the store have chemicals with EA.

It???s important to reiterate that this is true even with BPA-free plastics. In fact, the Environmental Health Perspectives study found that some BPA-free products had even more EA than BPA-containing products!

Should you be concerned about chemicals with EA?

However, there are 3 strong arguments for being ???better safe than sorry??? when it comes to plastics and EA (5):

in vitro data overwhelmingly show that exposures to chemicals with EA (even in very low doses) change the structure and function of human cell types; many studies present clear cellular, molecular and systemic mechanisms by which chemicals having EA produce changes in cells, organs and behaviors; and, recent epidemiological studies strongly suggest that chemicals with EA produce measurable changes in the health of various human populations. Perhaps the study authors summed it up best in their conclusion:

Many scientists believe that it is not appropriate to bet our health and that of future generations on an assumption that known cellular effects of chemicals having EA released from most plastics will have no severe adverse health effects.

I couldn???t agree more.

What you can do to reduce your exposure to chemicals with EA

Here???s a list of things you can do to reduce your exposure ??? and especially your baby???s and children???s exposure ??? to chemicals with EA.

Use glass containers and canning jars at home for food storage. Be aware that the lids of Mason and Kerr brand canning jars contain BPA and chemicals with EA. There are BPA-free lids, but they still may contain chemicals with EA, and I???ve been told they???re made with formaldehyde. Weck makes 100% glass jars that are a good alternative. Crate and Barrel sells them here. Use stainless steel containers in the freezer instead of freezer bags. Use a stainless steel water bottle (like the Klean Kanteen) instead of plastic bottles.

Don???t drink bottled water from plastic bottles, especially when they???ve been exposed to sunlight. Parents: use glass baby bottles instead of plastic. Evenflo is a commonly available brand you can buy at Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, etc. and online at Amazon and other retailers. Special note for Sous Vide users: After reading this study, I???m feeling very uncomfortable about the idea of eating anything that comes out of a plastic bag that has been sitting in a hot water bath for several hours. This is a crushing blow, as I love cooking with the Sous Vide. But in light of the evidence that even BPA-free plastics bags leach chemicals with EA even without added stress like a hot water bath, I think erring on the side of caution is probably wise.

UPDATE 10-28-11: make sure to read the comments section for some good recommendations.

UPDATE 11-7-11: check out this article on Nom Nom Paleo, one of my favorite Paleo food blogs. She did some homework and found some information claiming that re-usable silicon bags don???t have EA chemicals. However, Stuart Yaniger, one of the authors of the paper I referenced in this article, commented on her post (and below) that most silicon products do, in fact, leach EA chemicals. I???m also wary of the claim that FoodSaver bags don???t have any EA without 3rd party, independent testing. As Yaniger???s article demonstrated, we should assume all plastics have EA until proven otherwise.



on February 28, 2013
at 03:16 PM

I recently learned that hard plastic containers labeled BPA-Free are no better than the ones with BPA, because the manufacturers simply replaced the BPA with BPS, which is a similar chemical with similar physiological effects as BPA.

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7 Answers



on February 28, 2013
at 03:34 PM

We have a reverse osmosis filter in the kitchen sink, and carbon filters for the showers. Fluoride isn't the only problem - chlorination is pretty nasty stuff and the vapor off hot water is where it causes the most damage. There's an old study somewhere showing a possible link between water chlorination and atheromas, and some others linking it to cancer.

We use stainless steel and glass where ever possible. If you must use plastic, don't microwave food in it. Move it to a plate first.

I wouldn't worry too much about the plastic in an occasional water bottle, but if you drink bottled water every day, please reconsider your life style.



on February 28, 2013
at 12:54 PM

Unless I lived in an area where the municipal water tested poorly - tap water every time. Tap water with a relatively inexpensive filter (Pur for instance) ideally - the filter would cost much less than buying water bottles.

If in an area with big problem water - major house filtering or possibly well-tested brand of water delivered in big bottles - glass if there are still any suppliers. And then I'd do some serious research on the water supply used by the bottler. Plastics 2, 4 or 5 (recycle codes) are safest if necessary. Don't know if any bottlers use those.

But under any ordinary circumstances, tap all the way. Tap in my steel water bottle when I'm out.


on February 28, 2013
at 09:34 AM

I think these plastic phobic people are a bit much. Don't get me wrong there might be something to it but arn't there a lot of bigger things to worry about before we start worrying about the tiny risks associated with plastic bottles? I would focus more on sticking to your plan to accomplish your fitness goals and less on the little picture items. So my answer? Tap water or plastic bottle, whatever's in front of me at the time, no preference. Mark www.trek2fitness.com


on February 26, 2013
at 12:59 AM

Tap water. Where I live our tap water is not fluoridated so one glass somewhere else concerns me much less than plastics.


on January 22, 2013
at 03:39 AM

I usually just go with tap water in restaurants, although I prefer carbonated water. Sometimes I will order Evian or San Pellagrino which comes in glass bottles. I think water from plastic bottles has an off taste.



on January 22, 2013
at 01:54 AM

Many big name commercial waters are from municipal tap water anyways. Dasani is Pittsburg tap water if I remember correctly and bottled by Coca-Cola... if you're fortunate enough to have access to an artesian well it's beautiful, I take glass bottles of it home from my friends cottage.



on January 21, 2013
at 09:25 PM

I'd go with tap water because I don't like using plastic (for environmental reasons primarily) and I often suspect bottled water is just tap water in a bottle.

Though if I ever needed to use plastic, polyethylene seems the least harmful.

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