It hasn’t been a great week for bottled water. On June 22, California-based Niagara Bottling recalled an undisclosed amount of bottled water out of an “abundance of caution” due to E. coli contamination at one of its suppliers. On top of scares like this, there are other newsworthy stories about chemicals found in bottled water – by one report, nearly 25,000 chemicals were found in a single bottle. If that’s not enough to give you pause the next time you’re tempted to reach for a bottle, the exorbitant cost alone (240 to over 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water) is certainly a turn-off.
But it’s not just the quality of water, or the cost, that is concerning: studies have shown damning evidence about the bottles themselves. As it turns out, “BPA-Free” water bottles may be just as unhealthy as bottles containing BPA.
BPA stands for bisphenol-A, which is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. It’s found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
Due to BPA’s abysmal (and well-earned) reputation, a similar, seemingly less-harmful chemical called bisphenol-S (BPS) began to be substituted in plastic products. It was heralded as a safe alternative to BPA.
However, scientists at the University of Calgary have found that BPS – the so-called “safe” substitute – may be just as bad for your health. The study, published in the January issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that BPS exposure affected prenatal neurodevelopment in zebrafish (which share 80% of their genes with human) as much as BPA.
According to website Mother Jones, “Between 2010 and 2013, scientists from CertiChem, a private lab in Austin, tested 50 reusable BPA-free plastic containers. In most cases, they used a line of human breast cancer cells that multiplies in the presence of estrogen, as well as substances like BPA that mimic the female hormone. The researchers found that some products leached hormone-altering chemicals even before being exposed to conditions, such as heat from a dishwasher or microwave, that are known to unlock potentially toxic chemicals inside plastic. And most containers did so under some circumstances. After exposure to the type of ultraviolet rays that are found in sunlight (UVA) and used to sterilize baby bottles (UVC), more than three-quarters of the containers tested released synthetic estrogens.”
A safer option could be using glass water bottles; many of the ones offered on the market feature removable, rubberized sleeves that protect against shattering. Glass is, of course, reusable and washable, and does not transmit or leach chemicals when heated.
Fill these bottles with filtered water, like water from the Aerus Origins unit. This exclusive water purification system utilizes 5-stage filtration to ensure clean, pure, and fresh tasting water. Origins cleans the water through subtraction of harmful contaminants –not by adding more chemicals.