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Injuries and Medical Advice

Body: BPA and Waterbottles

Does drinking from a plastic water bottle that is not BPA free make you sick?

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I’m a climber and like most climbers drink from a Nalgene bottle, and I’ve heard that they are unhealthy due to BPA. Will drinking from a plastic bottle make me sick?

Wes Walker, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Dyslexic sperm are to the body as a dead canary is to a mineshaft. Remove thyself before the canary dies! After being prompted to have a squiz at some health concerns surrounding plastic, I threw out all the plastic that was not bolted down or brushed on. An overreaction? For sure. It’s possible that I will not be healthier for it, but I certainly won’t be less healthy.

Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that leaches from polycarbonate plastic, is a known endocrine disruptor that mimics the hormone estrogen. Different types of plastics off-gas varying amounts of BPA.

The plastic industry says BPA is harmless, but of course they would! Call me cynical. Like the tobacco industry and, more recently, the mobile-phone industry, they have a suspicious propensity to be the hidden sponsors of many studies. Results of these should be treated with more skepticism than the assertion that the War on Terrorism is about democracy and not oil. Call me cynical, again! I’m OK with that.

The weight of scientific research suggests that BPA, when isolated and in concentrations within FDA regulations, is not clinically relevant for humans. However, the ubiquitous presence of synthetic estrogen in the environment (not all from plastic products) is a persistent suspect for endocrine pathologies such as breast and testicular cancer, sperm that swim in circles, yada yada.

I might mention here that DDT, one of the more toxic chemicals ever sprayed about the place en masse and now illegal almost everywhere, was considered so safe it won the Nobel Prize for science. The road from Genius to Disastrous was very rough indeed.

Though you may not need a chemo-chaser after drinking from a plastic container, you’d be a nong to think that BPA is bio-friendly. And even more stupid to assume that it does not participate in the cumulative assault on our immune system, which, I am at pains to point out, has not mutated to protect us from 21st century toxins, toxic shit is still toxic!

No data yet proves a causal relationship between environmental estrogens and illness or disease in people. That said, cautionary behavior should sit at the citadel of modern Darwinism.

Cancer and chromosomal abnormalities are on the increase sharply! Why? Probably lots of reasons, and BPA when combined with all the rest might just be the straw smashing the camel through the tectonic plate. There is considerable evidence that people today are living in a more toxic environment than they used to. For instance, you have a greater chance of developing cancer if you reside in a new house rather than an old one. Is it due to all the space-age polymers holding it together?

With the cocktail of pollutants that our bodies deal with on a daily basis, why not try and minimize one?


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