The world has been infatuated with plastic bottles ever since they made their mainstream debut back in the late 1940s. Plastic bottles were stronger, lighter and cheaper to produce than the glass bottles of the time. As such, plastic became the de facto material for bottle production around the world. And while plastic bottles may appear to be the pinnacle of bottling technology, concerns regarding the safety of the plastic used in current generation bottles has many people rethinking their bottling choices.
One of the main concerns regarding plastic bottles is a little known chemical called bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA. While BPA by itself is not particularly harmful, when ingested it can cause serious health problems. Studies conducted by the FDA and others confirmed that, when heated, many plastic bottles released unhealthy levels of BPA. In recent studies, lab rats exposed to low levels of BPA saw changes in their brain chemistry that could be linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancers as well as ovarian cysts, early puberty and endometriosis. In reaction to the study, the FDA banned the use of BPA in all baby bottles sold in the United States.
“The problem lies in the degradation of some plastic bottles – the high performance, rigid plastic type,” Dr Michael Prager warned in a statement to Britain’s Telegraph newspaper. “The chemicals they can contain – including bisphenol A – that plastic releases into the water can affect our hormone levels, specifically imitating the female hormones in the body.”
In response to the outcry from concerned consumers, many manufacturers have created lines of BPA-free water bottles. The Tritan Sports Bottle is a great alternative for those looking for the convenience of a plastic bottle without the harmful effects of BPA.
If you are looking to ditch plastic bottles entirely, however, glass bottles are a great BPA-free alternative. By its very nature glass is BPA-free and comes with none of the negative health effects seen in plastic bottles. Glass, however, is prone to other issues that plastic bottles will not face. The main problem with glass bottles is that they can very easily break if dropped on a hard surface. Purchasing a bottle made of tempered glass can help to mitigate the risk of breakage when the bottle is dropped. Another option is to purchase a tempered glass bottle that includes a protective silicone sleeve like this bottle.
Another alternative is to use a stainless steel bottle. Stainless steel, just like glass, does not contain BPA or other harmful chemicals. When purchasing a stainless steel bottle, however, check to see if the bottle uses a plastic liner on the inside of the container. If a plastic liner is present, be sure to check with the manufacturer to ensure that the liner is free of BPA. This eco-friendly bottle, for example, is both BPA-free and stainless steel. While a bit more expensive than glass or plastic, stainless steel bottles are the most durable BPA-free bottle you can buy.
The next time you go out to purchase a reusable water bottle, take a look and see what’s inside first. You might be surprised.