Don’t Drink bottled water! At least on a daily basis.

Think bottled water is cleaner than from the tap? Think twice! Beware of Bisphenol A!

What is Bisphenol A?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate, which is used in many consumer products, including water bottles, baby bottles and as coatings on the inside of many food and beverage cans.

Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic estrogen and has been shown to cause negative health effects in animal studies.

Bisphenol is found in 96% of pregnant women!

Regulatory authorities of many countries consider that BPA does not pose a risk to the general population. Consumers can continue to use polycarbonate water bottles and consume canned foods and beverages, as the level of exposure from these products is very low.

Is it really so? Or it’s just about protecting mega-bucks businesses?

Although regulatory bodies have determined safety levels for humans, those safety levels are currently being questioned or are under review as a result of new scientific studies. A 2011 study that investigated the number of chemicals pregnant women are exposed to in the U.S. found BPA in 96% of women.

There is a special concern about baby bottles. The European Union and Canada have banned BPA use in baby bottles and infant formula packaging. The Government of Canada is moving forward with legislation to ban the importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles.

Don't drink bottled waterBisphenol concentration depends on time of storage and the temperature.

Concentrations of BPA in bottled water range from 0.50 to 8.82 µg/L, with an average of 1.5 µg/L. The level of BPA depends on temperature. Migration of BPA from polycarbonate containers into water at room temperature is slow.

However, if plastic water bottles have been sitting in hot places for a long time — such as a car sizzling in the sun, and during storage or transportation, chemicals from the plastic leach into the water very fast making the water super dangerous for your health.

Health Canada’s Food Directorate Survey on BPA

In March, 2008, Health Canada’s Food Directorate completed a Health Risk Assessment of BPA from Food Packaging Applications to determine exposure estimates to BPA. Health Canada’s Food Directorate has concluded that:

  • The current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children.
  • In view of uncertainties related to datasets on possible neurodevelopmental and behavioural effects that BPA may have in experimental animals, Health Canada’s Food Directorate has recommended that precaution be exerted on products consumed by the sensitive subset of the population, i.e. infants and newborns, by applying the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle to reduce their exposure to BPA through food packaging applications.

The provisional tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 25 μg/kg body weight/day has been pre-established by Health Canada as a conservatively safe level for BPA presence in food and was confirmed in the 2008 Health Risk Assessment of BPA from Food Packaging Applications.

The contribution of BPA levels in bottled water to the overall exposure is negligible for the general population, and the consumption of water from polycarbonate carboys does not pose a safety concern.

Based on the average BPA level found in polycarbonate bottled water products (1.5 µg/L), an adult (60 kg body weight) would have to consume approximately 1000 L of bottled water from polycarbonate carboys in one day to approach the TDI set by Health Canada’s Food Directorate. For the specific population who consume water packaged only in polycarbonate carboys, the exposure to BPA would increase from 0.18 to 0.22 µg/kg body weight assuming an average of 1.5 µg/L of BPA in polycarbonate bottled water and an average daily water consumption of 1.5 L.

The results of this survey clearly indicate that exposure to BPA through the consumption of bottled water would be extremely low. The low levels of BPA found in polycarbonate bottled water products available for sale in Canada confirm Health Canada’s previous assessment conclusion that the current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population.

[Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/packaging-materials/bisphenol/survey-bisphenol-bottled-water-products.html]

Again, the BPA concentration in the bottled water depends mainly on two factors – time of storage and the temperature. The more time water was kept in the polycarbonate bottle the higher the BPA level; and the higher the temperature the faster BPA extraction. That’s why it’s recommended that parents and caregivers do not put very hot/boiling water in polycarbonate baby bottles, as very hot water causes BPA to migrate out of the bottle at a much higher rate.

Don't drink bottled waterNow, LOOK AT JAPAN: Between 1998 and 2003, the Japanese canning industry voluntarily replaced its BPA-containing epoxy resin can liners with BPA-free polyethylene terephthalate in many of its products. For other products, it switched to a different epoxy lining that yielded much less migration of BPA into food than the previously used resin. In addition, polycarbonate tableware for school lunches was replaced by BPA-free plastics. As a result of these changes, Japanese risk assessors have found that virtually no BPA is detectable in canned foods or drinks, and blood levels of BPA in the Japanese people have declined up to 50% in one study.

So, the question is – to drink or not to drink bottled water on a daily basis? It’s up to you.

But maybe better safe than sorry?

References:
  • http://www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/fact-fait/bisphenol-a-eng.php
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A#Use
  • “99% of pregnant women in US test positive for multiple chemicals including banned ones, study suggests”. ScienceDaily. 14 January 2011. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002727. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  • http://www.bisphenol-a.org/
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331
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Author: AllOntario Team

AllOntario.ca is a Problem-Solving Guide for Ontario residents and a marketplace for Ontario businesses. It’s all about living and doing business in Ontario. All in one site.