The silent assassin that is bottled water
If big water companies had their way, everyone and their cousin would be stocking up on bottled water as their sole source of hydration... With any environmental and health concerns flung completely out the window.
While recycling certainly is a step up from the alternative of throwing every used-up water bottle directly into landfill... Recent evidence suggests it’s not the "miracle solution" we’d all hoped for.
Plastic is a broad umbrella category consisting of many types of materials, and only a fraction of them are desirable enough to be considered recyclable (check out our guide on recycling).
When all is said and done, recycling plastic does save about one-third of the energy compared to making those products from virgin materials.
But the environment isn’t the only thing taking a hit from plastics.
Recent studies have shown consuming food and water from plastic containers can also lead to adverse effects on your health, for a variety of reasons…
Microplastics & microfibers & BPA... oh my!
A main target for criticism is the abundance of potentially harmful chemicals found in plastics-
A recent study evaluated 18 different bottled water brands and found nearly 25,000 chemicals in the products.
A certain class of chemicals called endocrine disruptor chemicals, or EDCs, are the main concern. The most commonly known and studied EDC is called Bisphenol A, or BPA, as the synthetic compound is widely used as a starting material in plastics.
Believed to cause hormonal imbalances, the suspected worst-case scenario outcomes of exposure to BPA include infertility, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
Check out our more in-depth article on BPA for more information.
Does Ditching Plastics Containing BPA Mitigate the Health Risks?
As a result of this increased awareness, many brands utilizing plastic have shunned the big-bad-BPA for good...
But what if that's not enough?
There’s reason to believe even BPA-free plastic is not safe. It has been found to contain other potentially harmful chemicals, like microplastics, microfibers, and fellow EDC phthalates, that can leach into water if exposed to heat or left to sit for long periods of time.
So yes, the rumors are true: You should never microwave plastic! That said, however, the plastic still poses a risk, heat or no heat:
In a statement from Harvard University: "Even if plastic is not microwaved, chemicals can still enter food stored in containers or bags made from plastic. Studies conducted in Japan have shown that plastics used to store foods and liquids allowed chemicals to leach into the food and drinks contained within."
What Can We Do to Eliminate Risks to Our Health?
Minimizing the potential health risks posed by drinking out of plastic bottles can be achieved with just a few simple changes to our routines.
Here’s some inspiration that’ll help you take the health of yourself and your family into your hands effortlessly.
Frozen dinner lovers, we hate to break it to you... but they’re not doing you any favors! Nor are any food products stored in plastic, for that matter.
Opt for those contained in non-plastic packaging like cardboard wherever possible.
Go completely zero-waste at the grocery store and bring your own reusable non-plastic bags! They work great for fresh produce, as well as bulk goods like grains, flour, nuts, beans, and spices.
Switch to Reusable Stainless Steel Drinkware
It may come as a surprise to learn that even ditching plastics containing BPA doesn’t completely eliminate the health risks that come with drinking out of plastic bottles…
While the existence of plastics in our society hasn’t been around for long enough for scientists to truly understand the long term risks, we’re not prepared to wait it out until the empirical data reflects accurately.
In the meantime, we feel it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our health.
Greens Steel holds the health of our family in the utmost importance, and that of your family too. Making the switch to stainless steel drinkware takes any worries about your health out of the equation, so you and your family can live happily healthy, for generations to come.
Wishing all your drinks to be pure, clean and healthy…
Greens Steel Wellness Contributor