Why should you avoid plastic?
Most types of plastic bottles are safe to reuse at least a few times if properly washed with hot soapy water. But recent revelations about chemicals in Lexan (plastic #7) bottles are enough to scare even the most committed environmentalists from reusing them (or buying them in the first place). Studies have indicated that food and drinks stored in such containers— which includes those ubiquitous clear Nalgene water bottles hanging from just about every hiker’s backpack—can contain trace amount of the infamous Bisphenol A (BPA).
BPA ? What is that?
Bisphenol A (referred to as BPA) is a synthetic chemical used to make plastic and other products. It is one of the most common chemicals in the world, and it can be found in a myriad of household goods we use everyday in our lives. Water Pipes. Computers. Soup and Soda Cans. And of course, Plastic Bottles / Containers.
Here are some of the negative effects from ingesting BPA:
1) Hormonal imbalance
BPA has the unfortunate ability to fool our body into thinking it is estrogen. As such, it disrupts any process that estrogen normally mediates, affecting brain, body, and behavior. This applies to both men and women.
For example, research shows that a high exposure to BPA lead to a greater than four-fold increased risk of erection difficulty, and more than seven-fold increased risk of ejaculation difficulty. For women, high exposure to BPA lead to a 50% reduction in quality of ova produced, in other words - infertility.
2) Heart Disease
BPA is thought to suppress a hormone that protects people from having heart attacks, oxidative stress, and damages to the endothelial cells (a thin layer of cells crucial to fluid filtration) of blood vessels.
3)Behavioral Changes in Children
The hormonal effects of BPA are particularly insidious when children are exposed to BPA before that crucial development period called puberty. Ever wondered why young girls today seem to look older than they actually are? Yup, the widespread prevalence of BPA-leaking plastic bottles plays a role in this phenomenon
Alternatives to Plastic bottles ?
With the dangers facing us when we use plastic products, it is our duty to protect ourselves by finding human-friendly alternatives to plastic containers. This article will focus on recommending a substitute material for the indispensable water bottle.
Recycable Plastic water bottles are completely unnecessary and can cost quite a bit in the long run. Unless you are in a country with unsafe water quality, there is no reason why you should not go green - Use reusable water bottles!
In place of plastic, we could use 3 other materials for storing water: Aluminum, Stainless Steel and Glass.
Althought Glass is undeniably safe, healthwise, there are many factors that discourage using glass as an on-the-go water bottle:
- It is very very heavy, especially when compared to its alternatives, aluminum and stainless steel
- Somewhat more expensive
- Risk of shattering, although modern glass bottle manufacturers mitigate this risk by encasing the glass bottle in a silicone sleeve.
Based on these factors, there seems to be nothing going for glass water bottles, especially if you are an active person prone to lugging your water around town.
However, I will allow this for Glass bottles - they look a darn lot more classier on a dinner table than a stainless steel sports water bottle.
While the newest (post 2009) aluminum water bottle models from Sigg are claiming to be free of BPA, all their earlier products has it in the interior lining. Sigg is the biggest name in the aluminum water bottle game, and if they’re only just now ditching the BPA in their bottles, I’d be careful about buying aluminum bottles from other companies. And definitely avoid filling an aluminum bottle with acidic liquid, which can cause the aluminum itself to leach.
However, if Aluminum strikes your fancy for whatever reasons, Sigg is probably the only manufacturer that I would trust.
Stainless steel wins, in my book. Sure, it is a little heavier, but it is a historically proven material, and has never leached dangerous chemicals in all its history as a water bottle. It could even double up as a handy club, reserved for that moment where some unfortunate low-life tries to mug you on your way to the gym. Kleen Kanteen is the leading manufacturer of these type of bottles.