While keeping hydrated is essential to your health, that bottled water in your bag may be doing more harm than good. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of bottled water and how to avoid them.
At this point, it’s getting around that plastic is dangerous to your health for many reasons. BPA, a component often found in plastic, is a hormone disruptor that can have a wide range of impacts on the human body, including hormone imbalance, toxicity, inflammation, and even cancer. (1) BPA isn’t even the only component of plastic that is potentially dangerous—there are dozens of other chemicals that can have adverse effects on the body, endocrine system, and other organs.
When bottles say that they are BPA-free, consumers often think that they’re safe from the hormone disrupting problems that BPA is widely known for. However, any form of plastic will likely also contain BPS, a chemical similar to BPA, but one that hasn’t yet received the publicity that BPA has (not to mention other chemicals). Research points to six areas where plastic exposure can significantly impact health.
1. Hormone Disruption and FertilityHormones are the most critical component in fertility in both men and women. While anatomical problems can also lead to infertility, hormone problems and other related conditions, like endometriosis, are most commonly implicated in impaired fertility. Plastics are known hormone disruptors that can send mixed signals, causing some reproductive hormones to be produced excessively and leading to deficiencies in others. (2) Women and men both are susceptible to this, and in both cases, excess estrogens can be the culprit in reducing ability to conceive.
2. Placental, Fetal, Infant, and Pre-Pubescent Development
While endocrine disruptors can significantly alter the ability to conceive, many are able to get pregnant and have children in spite of the presence of these chemical hormones. The impact doesn’t end there, however. Fetal development in utero, along with the critical early years of a child’s life, can be dramatically altered by the communication from these hormone messengers. (3) Boys seem to be the most at risk for severe alterations before and during puberty, and while testicular development itself doesn’t rely on hormones, every other aspect of male puberty and subsequent fertility and reproductive ability does. (4) The World Health Organization has determined that plastics and endocrine disruptors are a worldwide problem that isn’t being addressed as seriously as it should be—either for fertility and reproductive impact or for the lasting changes that can result from exposure during formative years of life. (5)
Of course, water in plastic bottles is the most convenient way for many to purchase it or take it with them on the go. Glass and heavy stainless steel bottles usually aren’t something that parents want to put into the hands of their children. Still, when the potentially life-altering concerns of plastic are considered, it’s important to look for healthier alternatives immediately.
3. CancerCancer impacts men and women, young and old, and various organs, tissues, and cells. But researchers continue to report that the increase in estrogenic chemicals, like BPA and other plastic materials, has contributed not only to breast cancer, but also testicular cancer and prostate cancer. (6)
4. Toxicity BurdenBPA and other plastic toxins have been found in blood and urine, widely circulating throughout the body. (7) The toxicity burden that accumulates over years of exposure can impact all organs and body systems, but the liver is the primary detox organ that filters the blood, and the kidneys filter the urine.
When you drink a beverage that is housed in a plastic bottle, you’re also drinking what the bottle is made of. Even water (and not just acidic soda beverages) can leach particles from the bottles, especially if it has been exposed to heat or stored for a longer amount of time. Reusable plastic bottles are subject to the same problems if they’re washed or dried in hot temperatures like dishwashers or are used for hot beverages, like coffee or tea.
5. Weight Gain & Fatty Tissue StorageObesity has reached epidemic proportions in recent decades, and while the definition of obesity might seem narrow (greater than 25 percent body fat in men or 30 percent in women), the reality is that many adults weigh more than they should, with over 30 percent of adults in the U.S. categorized as obese. (8) Even the obesity rate in children under 19 has tripled in the last 50 years. (9)
The constant exposure to plastics today is having an impact on total body weight, too, since the estrogenic nature of these chemicals can directly influence the rate that fat is stored and what is stored there—including toxins from environmental exposures. (10)
Bottom line: Chemicals found in plastic water bottles and other sources of plastics can have significant impact on hormone communication, cellular health, and specific organs and body systems that can begin before birth and continue impacting future health for the rest of a person’s life, including future offspring.
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