Print 92 comment(s) - last by lco45.. on Sep 23 at 5:24 AM

A variety of polycarbonate bottles, including the popular Nalgene shatter-free bottles contain the chemical bisphenol A. In sufficient quanitities the chemical is believed to disrupt hormones, but the FDA concludes in an early report that the levels in plastics are low enough not to be harmful.
FDA continues its insistence that the plastic is safe, says its studies on mice more accurate than recent human study

Last month, DailyTech reported that in a preliminary review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had declared the plastic Nalgene safe.  While Nalgene and other products contain the hardening agent bisphenol A (BPA), a known disruptive agent of human physiology, the FDA concluded that sufficient quantities of the chemical did not leach into the liquids stored inside the bottles to cause harm.  Critics blasted the ruling, pointing out that studies have indicated that small, but significant quantities did leach into the water.

Now the first major study on the effects of bisphenol A has been completed and it indicates a clear link between the compound and diabetes and heart disease.  In the study, researchers from Britain and the University of Iowa examined a U.S. government health survey of 1,455 adults who had given urine samples.  The adults were then split into different groups based on the levels of BPA found in their urine.  All the adults were within the "safe" levels of BPA, according to the FDA's standards.

The study discovered that in the highest BPA group there were more than twice as many people with diabetes and heart disease.  No correlation between BPA and cancer was shown.

While the study certainly seems to indicate a clear link between BPA and these diseases, it raises a chicken and egg sort of debate.  If the findings hold true in additional tests, there are two possibilities.  One possibility is that the disease came first and somehow raised the body’s absorption of BPA.  The other possibility is that the BPA came first and somehow interact with the patients' bodies, putting them at higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Despite the fact that the largest study to date now suggests a link between "safe" BPA levels and disease, the FDA is refusing to change its stance.  In a scientific review the FDA declared that BPA is "safe" within suggested guidelines.  Laura Tarantino, head of the FDA's office of food additive safety, states, "Right now, our tentative conclusion is that it's safe, so we're not recommending any change in habits."

Tarantino says that if customers want to voluntarily avoid the chemical; that is their decision.  She says that bottles bearing the recycling symbol 7 are BPA-containing, and that heating food in these containers helps to release the BPA.

Ms. Tarantino and the FDA also argued that the agency's own studies on mice were more thorough and extensive than the recent human study.  The American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group, agreed and was quick to blast the study, saying it was flawed, substantially limited, and "proved nothing".

Several states are restricting BPA use, and there is legislation that may soon ban BPA use in baby bottles in Canada.  On a national level in the U.S. and in the European Union, the government food and health agencies have suggested that the compound is safe.  The FDA has acknowledged in the past that its own studies indicate "some concern" of the possible effects of BPA exposure on the brain in fetuses, infants and children.  BPA is commonly used in baby bottles in the U.S. and EU.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

I think its BS
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 9:54:41 AM , Rating: -1
I drink bottled water and have for the past few years. I am perfectly healthy. Even had blood tests done about 6 weeks ago and all came back showing me in perfect health.

I use the bottle for a day, refilling it several times, and then toss it in the recycle bin at work. Until someone shows me conclusive proof, I'll keep doing it.

RE: I think its BS
By Lord 666 on 9/17/2008 10:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
1. Your around 25-27, correct? The issues of heart disease and diabetes typically onset later on in life.

2. Your blood tests were probably the basic panel. Furthermore, this study only checked urine.

3. The study checked BPA levels within urine, but BPA is a fat soluble chemical. Based on known affects above the threshold limits, its a xenoestrogen.

4. The largest concen for BPA (or at least mine) is for my children. If the early exposure to this chemical can be reduced or eliminated.

RE: I think its BS
By SectionEight on 9/17/2008 10:07:46 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like you are buying water that is already bottled. Those bottles are not made out of the same plastic. The plastic in question is used in the extremely hard, clear Nalgene and other brand bottles (#7 recyclable plastic). Unless I am mistaken and you buy a new Nalgene everyday and toss it in the recycle bin at the end of the day, you are likely drinking out of the proven-safe #3 or other plastic. If you can squeeze the bottle and it deforms, the bottle does not have the plastic in question.

RE: I think its BS
By FITCamaro on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: I think its BS
By superkdogg on 9/17/2008 11:48:06 AM , Rating: 2
You're always in here trying to use freakin' anandtech as your conservative political forum....

"Environmentalists" generally will stay away from nalgene too. Because it's a petroleum product like all other plastics. Even the one you refill several times a day that is completely different from the topic at hand but thanks for sharing your ignorance.

The more nalgene makes the news, the more people drink out of plain old stainless steel. It's long been the best medium and it's also cheap, indestructable for practical purposes, and recyclable if you do manage to set your coffee mug behind your car and run it over.

No sense in fighting for the cause of possibly dangerous materials that come from oil and are sold at about a billion percent markup at retail....

I don't hate nalgene, I just don't see any need to defend it either. Use stainless and you know you're safe, your mug is cheaper, and you can be sure it's durable and recyclable.

RE: I think its BS
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 11:57:50 AM , Rating: 1
If you don't like my opinions, don't read them.

RE: I think its BS
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 12:00:26 PM , Rating: 2
No sense in fighting for the cause of possibly dangerous materials that come from oil and are sold at about a billion percent markup at retail....

And there is sense in it. If you just give up on something any time someone claims it to be unsafe, you're quickly going to run out of things to use.

RE: I think its BS
By masher2 on 9/17/2008 12:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
> " Use stainless and you know you're safe..."

Put any acidic drink in stainless steel, and you can leach out toxic and carcinogenic nickel. And even the iron in steel itself is deadly in large enough dosese.

Are the doses too small to be dangerous? Almost certainly so...but so is Nalgene.

RE: I think its BS
By superkdogg on 9/17/2008 1:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
You're acting like nickel doesn't have a valid role in the body as a trace mineral. Your argument (to me) is not much different than bananas have potassium and potassium will eat right through your skin.

The dosage is the key element in both arguments. There is no known safe or helpful level of BPA in the body and I don't know of any other context in which one would ingest it.

Nickel, on the other hand is a trace mineral similar to iron or zinc, that has a role in necessary body functions like hormone production. Nickel is proportionately very common in DNA and RNA. Nickel pickup from cookware is less than is normally taken in through diet anyway-

As to stopping using products that are less safe, I'd challenge you with the inverse of your argument, FITCamaro- What would you suggest I do, refrain from choosing equally effective, possibly safer products in order to keep a diverse marketplace?

RE: I think its BS
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 2:38:36 PM , Rating: 1
Buy what you want and let me buy what I want.

RE: I think its BS
By masher2 on 9/17/2008 4:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
> "The dosage is the key element in both arguments"

That's exactly the point. The dosages of both nickel and Bisphenol A are too small to cause alarm. As are the dosags of millions of other carcinogenic and teratogenic chemicals we consume on a daily basis.

There's over 600 different chemical compounds in a cup of coffee. Roughly half will cause cancer in a large enough dose. Does that mean we should ban the drink?

> "Your argument (to me) is not much different than bananas have potassium and potassium will eat right through your skin."

There is no metallic potassium whatsoever in bananas. You've confused an element with a compound. Potassium salts do not "eat through your skin".

RE: I think its BS
By guy007 on 9/17/2008 5:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
No. The point you are missing is that YOU say the levels ofBPA are too small to cause damage. We KNOW that the levels released in the stainless steel cup are too small to be harmful.

So on the one hand I have a scientific fact that the levels in stainless steel are safe. On the other hand I have MASHER who we know to be hugely biased for the oil/petroleum industry telling us one of the end products of petroleum refinment is safe. This is pretty much like a representitive of the cell phone industry telling me cell phones are safe. They MIGHT be but I surely wont be taking their word for it.

BPA in these levels MAY be safe but im def. not gonna be taking MASHERS word for it.

RE: I think its BS
By masher2 on 9/17/2008 6:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
> "We KNOW that the levels released in the stainless steel cup are too small to be harmful"

No. We know absolutely very little for sure in epidemiology. Furthermore, some individuals are so sensitive to nickel as to preclude their use of any nickel products, including the use of nickel-containing cookware or the wearing of watches or jewelry with nickel in them.

> "On the other hand I have MASHER who we know to be hugely biased for the oil/petroleum industry telling us one of the end products of petroleum refinment is safe"

You have the FDA, the American Chemical Society, and the results of over a dozen studies of direct biological testing of the effects of BPA all saying the same thing.

On the other hand, you have a study with no direct testing at all, but merely suggests a weak statistical correlation that may or may not even exist and, even if it does, most likely indicates something other than a causal relationship.

Right off the top, there's a 5% chance the results are nothing but an accident of statistics, with nothing being seen here but random chance. Ignoring that, we have several other problems. First is that BPA is flushed from the body fairly quickly. Diabetes and heart disease take years to develop. The BPA being measured therefore couldn't possibly have caused these illnesses.

To get a causal link, one has to hypothesize the individuals with high BPA levels had habits that exposed them to BPA for years or decades. Those very habits, however, are more likely the cause of the health problems. A person with high BPA levels eats and drinks more from plastic bottles and canned (the cans contain a plastic lining) foods, rather than a healthier diet containing mostly fresh and frozen foods. We know diet is a major key for triggering diabetes and heart problems.

Furthermore, we know both those conditions can and do lead to elevated levels of various chemical compounds in the body. Meaning the causal link, if it exists, could very well simply be in reverse. The health problems trigger the BPA levels, rather than vice versa.

There are a few other problems, but suffice it to say, a weak statistical correlation from a single small study does **not** override years of live biological testing.

RE: I think its BS
By superkdogg on 9/17/2008 6:18:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure in the 50's and 60's there were some dubious studies that said smoking might be dangerous or seatbelts might be safe.

The fact that an imperfect study shows a tenuous corellation doesn't make the conclusion false.

I do give you credit for calling me on the potassium salts-by the same token, wouldn't most nickel that comes off stainless steel also be a compound-nickel oxide would be my guess since there would need to be some reaction with a volatile element that is catalyzed by the heat of cooking or by an acid in order to release it?

I also agree with you FIT that you can buy what you like and I'll by what I like. I'm not unreasonable like that. If you get diabetes or I have renal failure, it is true that we all put our lives in more danger every day by driving and even walking on staircases than either nalgene or stainless injects into our lives.

That being said, if BPA might cause cancer and does come from nalgene, I'll take my chances with my nickel-plated steel or plain old glass which is just as good except for that indestructible part.

RE: I think its BS
By myhipsi on 9/17/2008 10:14:25 AM , Rating: 4
Bottled water doesn't contain BPA anyway. The plastic used in those is PET #1 so that wouldn't be an issue anyway, although it is recommended that they not be refilled or reused. BPA is in those reusable polycarbonate water bottles that you often see cyclists using.

Though this is an interesting study, I'd be more inclined to think that bacon and candy bars have more to do with heart disease and diabetes than BPA does :P

RE: I think its BS
By Sanity on 9/17/2008 10:17:00 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, the bottle of water I'm drinking right now is marked #1. I don't think you're going to find pre-packaged bottled water with a #7. Maybe you should TOFTT and switch to a #7 container for the next few years, and then go get all your tests (make sure they test for BPA!). I'm sure we'd all be interested in the results. Who needs all those smart guys and their fancy studies?! We can figure it out right here!

RE: I think its BS
By tmouse on 9/17/2008 12:09:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you drink bottled water from a cooler then it’s from a #7 bottle. One problem is #7 just means "other" (not one of the specifically defined plastics). It can contain multiple resins, may or may not have BPA. Some hard plastic condiment jars and the like are also #7.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
Related Articles

Latest Headlines

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki