17 April 2008

But I love my Nalgene

A panel of scientists in Canada just announced that they recommend labeling bisphenol-a (BPA), the polymer used in Nalgene bottles and other hard plastics, a toxin. It resembles and acts on your estrogen receptors, so it's a hormone disrupter. On top of all the top 10 NYTimes articles I just read about rising grain prices and food shortages, potential medical record sabotage, and more problems with doctors' conflicting interests with pharmaceutical companies, this was not exactly happy news. I use my Nalgene a lot. And I wash it--when I wash it--with harsh detergents and high temperature liquids, which, according to Wikipedia, just aggravates the amount of BPA that leaches out of the plastic. As if the bacteria (from lack of washing) doesn't do enough harm....

Now I'm in a quandary. I use my Nalgene because it's nice to always have water around, and it's more sustainable than getting plastic cups for water everywhere I go. It's far more sustainable than using normal plastic water bottles. And, by the way, the rumors you hear about normal plastic bottles releasing toxins when you reuse them are not entirely based on fact. They were based on some random student's master's dissertation (read: not peer reviewed!) about the dangers of a carcinogen called DEHA, when in fact water bottles today are made out of something called polyethylene teraphthalate (PET).

So, normal water bottles are okay (until otherwise notified). But then there's the problem of polluting the world with more of those ridiculous plastic bottles.

I guess I should switch to glass (but it's so heavy!). On the other hand, I figure I'm exposed to so many toxins already that I don't really mind using my Nalgene. Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right? And that's why I always forget to wash my Nalgene. The bacteria is just a practice run for my immune system.

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