What is Bisphenol A or BPA? Is it used in PET
Bisphenol A or BPA is an industrial
chemical most commonly used in the production of polycarbonate
plastics #7 (hard, clear plastics). BPA has been used to manufacture
plastic bottles and other types of plastic for over 50 years. It can
be found in plastic food wrap, baby bottles, and epoxy
resins (the lining in aluminum and metal cans). It has been said that BPA can
leach from these materials and cause estrogenic hormone disruptions
that can lead to reproductive damage, birth defects, and cancer in
Most plastic water bottles are
manufactured and packaged with Polyethylene Terephthalate (#1 PET or
PETE). The use and reuse of these bottles has raised a few red flags among
environmentalists. But do these types of bottles contain BPA?
According to the
National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the
potential for PET bottles to leach harmful contaminates is limited.
"The bigger risk to consumers is probably bacterial contamination,"
says Rolf Halden, a drinking water expert and assistant professor at
the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
For people with healthy immune systems
and reasonably good washing skills, however, even this risk of
microbial contamination remains slight. 85% of water bottles are never
reused. The EPA, in a document entitled "Bottled
Water Basics," says: "Drinking water (both bottled and tap) can
reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some
contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily
indicate that the water poses a health risk."