Information as to the safety of plastics has been under the radar for quite some time. However, now with more widespread coverage people will hopefully be encouraged to assess their plastic use. In 1998 scientists used harsh detergents to wash plastic water bottles for lab mice. This action had the unexpected discovery of the harmful effects of BPA (bisphenol-A). This chemical mimics human hormones. At this time it was thought that only aged, damaged, scratched, or overheated plastics would leech BPA into food and beverages. However, now it is shown that some plastics are more likely to leech this chemical, even if they are not visually damaged.
Clearly, people are getting the message to reuse a drink container. This is such a better option for the environment. The environmental effect of drilling for oil, creating the plastic bottle, and finally shipping the bottle all over the world for a one-time use is ridiculous. Even so, more and more people are participating in this behavior. In 1993 per capita single serve beverage consumption of bottled water was a little over 10 gallons a person. This grew to an astonishing 22.6 gallons in 2003 (and the upward trend has continued!). Americans, on average, buy 28 billion water bottles every year. Around 80% of these end up in landfills. This is especially unfortunate because of the large waste of resources as well as the shortage of post-consumer #1 plastics for the recycling industry. Many companies who create new products like carpet are clamoring for more materials. Bottom line: if you are going to use a one-use bottle – recycle it!
So whats a girl (or boy!) to do? I guess this is just one of those events that serves as a great reminder to make sure you know what you are putting yourself into contact with.
A friend of mine and I were shopping for a baby shower gift last week. Despite the fact that I am still in denial about having friends old enough to be married and having kids (yikes!), I shelled out the extra bucks for some steel and glass baby storage food stuff. I figure the little bugger is worth it. And heck, so am I 🙂