Real answers on BPA hype…

Posted on April 24, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I received a email yesterday asking:
What’s the true story on the BPA in water bottles and tin cans?
DO I have to give up storing water in anything but stainless steel?
I gave a long answer below as it may be need depending on your use of plastic.
Short answer: Most ALL plastics are at safe levels for adults under normal use. But, alternatives are recommended for infants and children with developing systems.
No silver bullet
Tin, plastic, alum…. and even stainless all have equal or greater dangers depending on the product.
Preservative, acidic, oil, alcohol and other product compositions plan a large role in what material is best suited for the product.
General rule of thumb is to use caution when you “can taste or smell” the container or wrapper your product came in.
However, if your beverage is not exposed to long periods of heat or light and is in a rugged, older and rinsed bottle … you should be fine.
Long explanation…. is it safe?
In my EHS world, everything is deemed hazardous until we determine how to handle or use it safely (Cradle to Grave).
BPA is just one of 100’s of genuine chemicals of concern that leech from consumable packaging.
I do not sweat the small stuff and rarely do these compounds release (leech) into the consumable under the normal conditions and use.
However, when “new” plastics are exposed to heat & light via UV, microwave, dishwasher or sit for long periods the compounds release into the product (gas off).
Also, beverage / food reactions from sugars, preservatives, acids and other additives can intensify the release of compounds.
Making things worse manufactures integrate plastic injection molding process on the same production lines as the consumable products they package. The result is plastics do not have adequate time to “gas off” the process compounds and they are inadvertently release into the consumer product.
Anything can be harmful when exposed to enough of it…
The extended and justified concern on BPA is the use in products designed and targeted at infants and small children where the plastics require heat exposure and are under UV conditions in normal use (baby milk, juice, soda, water, jelly, snacks… everything is in plastic).
Like any chemical, if you are constantly exposed to, it can build up to levels that are unhealthy.
As an adult and depending on how often you use plastics (under the above mentioned conditions), you may have little to no traces in your system. Like alcohol, it does naturally dissipate out of adults without acute or chronic harm. This is why no one was originally alarmed and the plastic industry deems it “safe for use” still.
When it constantly stays in a Childs system it can quickly build up into harmful levels. And due to their developing biology, even trace levels may cause harm.
But, no third party toxicological experts would or could argue the conditions or cautions I mentioned, and I don’t think any of them ever thought our children would be on such a “plastic” enclosed diet.
Suggestion: Glass is certainly a good answer with all consumable products, but has handling safety and manufacturing cost issues that I believe are offset by its health return, easy of recycling and reuse. 
We need plastics: They keep us safe, healthy and are the key to our future. We just don’t need them in our: oceans, blood streams or landfills.  
Between all hype there “lies” truth – Haase

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