I was sent an email at work today (along with everyone else) which told how dangerous it was to re-use water bottles. The email basically said that plastic water bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and sold in stores/shops were dangerous to re-use because these plastics alegedly contain carcinogens which would (over time) go from the plastic into the liquid you were drinking. The email also referred to the bottom of water bottles and a triangle with PET written under it. It said that there is a number in that triangle and that most water bottles have a number 1 which is worse than a higher number like a 5. The email said to throw away water bottles that you are re-using and get a purpose made water bottle with at least a 5 on the bottom (in the triangle).
I checked the water bottle that I use most days at work and it had a 1 on the bottom. Obviously this was one of the cancer causing ones! However, the email got me thinking and I started to do a bit of research myself, mainly because I use water bottles every day at the gym, work and running. In fact, my Lucozade water bottle I use for the gym only has a 4 on the bottom.
The American Chemistry Council has a website which has information for consumers about (you guessed it) plastics and their use in day to day items like water bottles.
There is a widely circulated email hoax (I’m guessing that’s what we got at work) which comes from a student at the University of Idaho who was doing a thesis that was promoted in the media but was not subject to any peer review, FDA review and it wasn’t published in a scientific or technical journal.
The studend apparentely identified “di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate” (DEHA) which is a plastics additive and claimed it was a human carcinogen. DEHA isn’t regulated or classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the National Toxicology Program or the International Agency for Research on Cancer who it seems are the leading authorities on carcinogenic substances.
It also seems that DEHA is not found in plastics made with PET as a raw material and it is not a byproduct or something that comes from decomposition of the plastic. It seems that DEHA is is used in lots of different plastic items but many of them are found in a laboratory. This means that the student’s detection of DEHA was probably because of some sort of contamination during experimenting.
Most importantly, DEHA has been cleared by FDA for food-contact applications (like water bottles) and would not pose a health risk even if it were present.
I’ve decided that I’m going to continue to use my Lucozade water bottle at the gym and running and to heck with it. From what I can see there isn’t enough evidence to support any talk of cancer causing water bottles. BUT, it’s obviously put some sort of scare in to me because I’ve got a new water bottle to use at work and it’s got a 5 on the bottom…
Finally (and on a different topic altogether), an update on my weight.
Weight: 100.5kg (221.56lbs)