Heating Polycarbonate Plastic Bottles Releases Harmful Chemical

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Home => Product Alerts => Heating Polycarbonate Plastic Bottles Releases Harmful Chemical

Heating Polycarbonate Plastic Bottles Releases Harmful Chemical

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Do you have any or have you had any Polycarbonate Plastic Bottles?

Have you ever filled them with boiling water, tea or coffee, or have you ever heated them up in a microwave, like warming up the formula in baby bottles?

The scientists at the University of Cincinnati found that when new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles were filled with boiling water, they can release a potentially harmful chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), 55 times faster than normal.

"I'm not recommending for myself or others to throw their hot tea in these bottles or throw them in a microwave to make hot cocoa before they go skiing." - pointed out Scott Belcher, the study senior and an associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Cincinnati.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in the plastics that make up reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, baby bottles, food containers, water pipes and other food and drink products. It acts as an environmental estrogen and can disrupt the function of the endocrine system (the system of glands that produce endocrine secretions that help to control bodily metabolic activity).

Some retailers, including Canada's Mountain Equipment Co-op chain, have even stopped selling water bottles made from polycarbonate plastic until a review of BPA's safety in humans is completed by Health Canada.

The fear has been that exposure to BPA can cause birth defects and developmental problems. In addition, exposure to BPA has been blamed for a variety of other problems, including cancer, diabetes, obesity and attention-deficit disorder.

The exposure to BPA can occur through direct contact or by consuming food or drink that has been in contact with material containing BPA, which BPA has leaked into.

While its effects are far from well-studied in humans, primarily because the chemical is so ever-present in daily life, there are even concerns that BPA could contribute to some breast and prostate cancers as well as infertility in people.

In 2007, an expert panel convened by the U.S. Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) concluded that exposure to BPA presents some risk to development and reproduction, although it's unclear at what level that harm begins to occur.

"There isn't a real answer," said study senior author Scott Belcher. "There seems to be a current difference of opinion between the scientific research field and the folks doing risk assessment."

However, Kirby Donnelly, department head of environmental and occupational health at the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health, said: "A lot of times, it comes down to dose and duration."

He added that the new finding was "not surprising" because it is a basic principle of chemistry that if a solvent is heated up, it will form a liquid solution, which it would migrate from the bottle into the water or food.

Previous studies had found that repeatedly scrubbing, washing and boiling polycarbonate baby bottles could cause them to release BPA.

"You could see that there are times when you would be putting hot liquids in these or boiling these or putting polycarbonate to these kinds of temperatures," Belcher said, noting that parents heat up plastic baby bottles and some people use water bottles for hot drinks.

So what should consumers make of the finding and what should they do?

"I still haven't got a good answer for this one," he said. "I can tell you what I've done. I've tried to eliminate polycarbonate as much as I can.

Perhaps you should do the same.

Which plastic products contain this polycarbonate chemical?

American Chemistry Council® (ACC) explains that polycarbonate is used in a wide variety of common products including digital media (e.g. CDs, DVDs), electronic equipment, automobiles, construction glazing, sports safety equipment and medical devices. The durability, shatter-resistance and heat-resistance of polycarbonate also make it an ideal choice for tableware as well as reusable bottles and food storage containers that can be conveniently used in the refrigerator and microwave.

So, any kind of reusable food plastic container or reusable plastic bottle that can be used in a microwave, does contain this polycarbonate chemical. If you have used it in a microwave or placed hot boiling food or liquid in it, you might have been exposed to BPA.


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