Sunday, December 17, 2006

Scaremongering for the Day

The Government of Canada recently launched the following website:

On the site there is a section called "Chemical Substances of Interest to Canadians." Bishphenol A is one of the chemicals of interest, and the following is lifted directly from their website:

Bisphenol A <> <>
What is it?
Bisphenol A is a synthetic chemical compound, produced from the reaction of phenol with acetone.

Where is it found and how is it used?

Bisphenol A is often used in the manufacture of a variety of plastic consumer products, including some plastic water bottles. Bisphenol A is also found in the dental sealants for children's teeth, and in resins that line tin cans.

What are its effects?

While it does not appear to cause health or environmental effects at the low levels we encounter on a daily basis, Government of Canada scientists are giving further attention to Bisphenol A due to its possible role as an endocrine disruptor.
What are we doing?

The Government of Canada will challenge industry to provide new information about how they are managing 200 chemical substances that are high priorities. Bisphenol A is among those chemical substances. In addition, Health Canada has developed a provisional standard for Bisphenol A in dental sealants. Also, Health Canada will include Bisphenol A in its biomonitoring of 5,000 Canadians as part of the Canadian Health Measures Survey from 2007-2009.

Bisphenol A is a chemical used in many Nalgene bottles (the ones with #7 stamped on the bottom) that I have been using for years and my kids have been using for quite a while now.

The following information is from the Labour Environmental Alliance Society website,

Are there some plastics used in water bottles that are safer than others?

The safest bottles to use are made of high-density polyethylene, or HDPE (identified by the number 2 in the recycling triangle symbol on the bottom), low-density polyethylene, or LDPE (#4) or polypropylene (#5). However, they're often overlooked because they are softer plastics and will absorb some flavour over time if you're using them for more than water.

Some of the most popular re-usable water bottles, including those marketed under the popular brand name Nalgene, are made of a hard, clear plastic called polycarbonate. The problem is that one of the key components of polycarbonate is an endocrine-disrupting chemical called bisphenol-A. Recent research has shown that polycarbonate bottles can leach bisphenol-A into the liquid they contain.

Bisphenol-A mimics the female hormone estrogen and has been shown to cause defective cell division during development, even at extremely low doses. A growing number of studies have also linked bisphenol-A to other kinds of reproductive and developmental damage, including prostate cancer in men. A more recent study suggested it may also play a role in the development of Alzheiner's disease.

Most bottled water is sold in clear plastic bottles identified on the bottom as PET or PETE and the number 1 in the recycling triangle. Although test results have varied, research on those bottles has revealed that they can leach the chemicals DEHA or DEHP, particularly after they've been re-used several times or after they've sat on a store shelf for extended period (upwards of a year). DEHA is listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a possible human carcinogen while DEHP is listed by California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (Proposition 65) as reproductive toxicant.

At the very least, don't re-use clear plastic water bottles. And when you're buying a re-usable bottle, opt for bottles marked on the bottom as #2, #4 or #5, instead of the hard plastic polycarbonate containers (usually marked with a #7). Nalgene does offer a HDPE (#2) bottle, which is available at outdoor stores and many sports bottles are made of LDPE (#4).


  1. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Hey Darcy - thanks for making this info accessible. Are you still using your Nalgene's - what about the cute little ones?

  2. Thanks Darcy we have all thrown ours out!
    Love Moffs