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Warning: Metal Water Bottles May Be Hazardous to Your Health

toxins, water bottle, water bottles, bottles, bisphenol A, BPACountless eco-conscious consumers have switched to Sigg aluminum bottles because of bisphenol-A, or BPA, a substance commonly used to harden plastic that has raised health concerns.

But bottles made by Sigg Switzerland before August 2008 had "trace amounts" of BPA in the epoxy liners. Sigg officials knew it since June 2006, but didn't announce it until last month.

The bottles, which can sell for more than $20, include slogans like "simply eco logical."

Concerns about BPA stem from the fact that it can mimic estrogen, a powerful hormone.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Bisphenol-A, or BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical used to make hard plastics and epoxy resins, found in numerous products that you probably use every day, including:

  • Polycarbonate plastic baby bottles

  • Large water-cooler containers and sports bottles

  • Bottle tops

  • Microwave-oven dishes

  • Canned-food liners

  • Some dental sealants for children

  • Water supply pipes

The use of BPA is so pervasive -- industry uses more than 6 billion pounds of BPA a year -- that scientists have found that 95 percent of people tested have dangerous levels of BPA in their bodies.

This is one valid reason why you should not tolerate the suggestion that “trace amounts” of toxins are okay.

The cumulative effect of being exposed to minuscule amounts of BPA from cans, bottles, plates and all other sources over the years can eventually spell serious trouble for your health.

Some of the biggest victims are your children, who may be exposed to the chemical while in utero, and quite literally “fed” the chemical via plastic baby bottles and toys (which they often put in their mouths).

How BPA Can Damage Your Health

In the last ten years, some 700 studies have been published about BPA -- most of them indicating serious health hazards, at least in animals. The most troubling problem with BPA is that it mimics the female hormone estrogen.

Your body is extremely sensitive to sex hormones, and miniscule amounts can induce profound changes. Therefore, scientists are afraid even low levels of BPA could have a negative impact on human health.

In animals, BPA increases aneuploidy, a defect consisting of abnormal loss or gain of chromosomes, which in humans could possibly lead to miscarriages or disorders such as Down Syndrome.

Moreover, there is evidence (among mice and rats) that even low doses of BPA can cause:

  • Hyperactivity

  • Early puberty

  • Increased fat formation

  • Abnormal sexual behavior

  • Disrupted reproductive cycles

  • Structural damage to the brain

It’s difficult to understand why U.S. health and environmental regulators keep insisting there is “no evidence of harm to human health after 50 years of use,” when this list contains some of the most wide spread health issues that have dramatically increased in that same time frame.

What’s Being Done to Protect You?

There has been some success in limiting the use of BPA. In May of this year, Minnesota legislature passed a statewide ban on the sale of baby bottles, sippy cups, and other children’s food containers made with BPA. Other states, including California, Connecticut, Michigan and New York, are considering similar legislation.

Some retailers have also made the wise decision to respond to consumer demand and have voluntarily eliminated some of their BPA products for sale.

It’s a good start, but clearly not enough. Hopefully, Congress will come through with their proposed legislation intended to establish a federal ban on BPA in all food and beverage containers.

Until then, there will be those who go the way of Sigg; claiming to be completely safe and “green,” while hiding the fact that their metal water bottles still contains trace elements of BPA in the lining.

A major problem with BPA is that it doesn’t stay in the plastic. It leeches into whatever food or beverage you put in a plastic container, canned good, or plastic baby bottle. Even worse, if you microwave the containers or bottles, or place hot liquids or food into them, BPA is released 55 times more rapidly!

Sigg claims their bottle linings do not allow for this type of leeching, but at this point, many consumers simply don’t believe that’s true, and are not willing to take that chance.

This story highlights an increasingly common concern: “Is nothing safe?”

Although it can be a tremendous challenge at times, I am still hopeful and always focus on the things I CAN do. And those are the strategies, techniques and guidelines I share with you each week through this newsletter.

Just know that you CAN protect yourself and your family by implementing certain changes. You may not be able to shield yourself completely, but you’ll be far better off than were you to pay no attention whatsoever.

Your body is capable of detoxing and cleaning out some of the toxins you’re exposed to on a daily basis, so as long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and taking whatever measures you can to limit your exposure to toxins, you’re giving yourself the best chance you can to be as healthy as possible.

10 Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to BPA

  1. Only use glass baby bottles and dishes for your baby

  2. Give your baby natural fabric toys instead of plastic ones

  3. Store your food and beverages in glass -- NOT plastic -- containers

  4. IF you choose to use a microwave, don’t microwave food in a plastic container

  5. Stop buying and consuming canned foods and drinks

  6. Avoid using plastic wrap (and never microwave anything covered in it)

  7. Get rid of your plastic dishes and cups, and replace them with glass varieties

  8. If you opt to use plastic kitchenware, at least get rid of the older, scratched-up varieties, avoid putting them in the dishwasher, and don’t wash them with harsh detergents, as these things can cause more chemicals to leach into your food

  9. Avoid using bottled water; filter your own using a reverse osmosis filter instead

  10. Before allowing a dental sealant to be applied to you, or your children’s, teeth, ask your dentist to verify that it does not contain BPA

If you do opt to use plastic containers instead of glass, be sure to check the recycling label on the bottom of the container.

  • Avoid those marked on the bottom with the recycling label No. 7, as these varieties usually contain BPA.

  • No. 3 (DEHA) and No. 6 (Styrene) are also considered unsuitable for use with food due to their toxic ingredients.

  • Containers marked with the recycling labels No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, and No. 5 do not contain BPA, but they do contain other unsavory chemicals that are best avoided. Still, if you’re determined to stick with plastic, these four are considered to be better than the others.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Smart Plastics Guide offers more detailed descriptions of the most commonly occurring chemicals in plastic products.

Finding BPA-Free Products

Just like some retailers are ditching hazardous products, some are also increasingly marketing products that are BPA-free. Here’s an assortment of sources that carry BPA-free products:

+ Sources and References