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[greenyes] Repost-reusable water btls
Dear Michelle et al,
  Pasted below is the original message in this series of discussions on 
reusable plastic water bottles, alternatives, risks, etc.  I've saved more posts 
from this string.  Let me know if you want them.

Best,
Gretchen Brewer
Earth Circle
PO Box 81985
San Diego, CA  92138-1985
ph  619-298-7626

FWD 7/30/03 post to Greenyes:

This article ran a while ago, had good info about the subject of reusing
water bottles.  It made some of us rethink how long we want to hold on
to that little plastic bottle!

Heidi Feldman (hfeldman@no.address)
Public Education Coordinator
Monterey Regional Waste Management District
Tel.: 831/384-5313     FAX: 831/384-3567

                                                  Excerpted from a
1/26/03 Canadian Press news service article by Jen Horsey:

  REUSE OF WATER BOTTLES MAY POSE HEALTH RISK
  While people may think they're doing a good deed for the environment
when
  they reuse water bottles for anything from orange juice in a bagged
lunch to
  a week's worth of water refills from the office water cooler,
researchers
  say they could be risking their health. Dangerous bacteria and
potentially
  toxic plastic compounds have been found in the types of water bottles
  typically reused in classrooms and workplaces. 

  A study of water bottles at a Calgary elementary school found bacteria
in
  kids' bottles that would prompt health officials to issue boil-water
  advisories, had the samples come from a tap. Researchers discovered
  bacterial contamination in about a third of the samples collected from
kids'
  water bottles at the school. Some samples even showed evidence of
fecal
  coliforms. "If a town water supply had fecal coliforms in it, it would
have
  to be shut down," said Cathy Ryan, the University of Calgary professor
who
  authored the study. 

  The bacteria likely came from the kids' hands and mouths over time as
they
  repeatedly used the same bottles without washing them or allowing them
to
  dry, Ryan said. While researchers in her study collected samples from
only
  76 bottles at one elementary school, which has not been identified,
Ryan
  said the results would likely be the same anywhere else. When the
study
  results were published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health in the
fall,
  the local school board advised parents to make sure kids' bottles were
taken
  home and washed properly and frequently. 

  However, a study conducted in the United States suggests the kind of
  thorough washing that could kill bacteria might make the bottles
unsafe in
  another way. Frequent washing might accelerate the break-down of the
  plastic, potentially causing chemicals to leach into the water, the
study
  found. Preliminary research conducted by a graduate student at the
  University of Idaho found that with repeated use, toxic chemical
compounds
  can migrate out of the bottles into the liquid inside. 

  Although plastics experts contend the bottles are safe, the study
ultimately
  concluded little is known about what happens when the bottles are used
over
  and over again. "The fact is, a lot of these compounds have not really
been
  studied in terms of their human health effects," said Margrit von
Braun, a
  University of Idaho professor. Single-use soft-drink and water bottles
are
  commonly made of a plastic called polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
which,
  while considered safe for its intended use, was found to break down
over
  time. "The longer you used it, the more stuff ended up in the water,"
said
  von Braun. 

  One of the toxins that frequently appeared in water samples from the
reused
  bottles was DEHA, a carcinogen regulated in drinking water because it
has
  been found to cause weight loss, liver problems, or possible
reproductive
  difficulties. It is also suspected that DEHA can cause cancer in
humans. Von
  Braun said she was surprised to discover how widespread the reuse was
- and
  how long some people would hold on to a single bottle. "A lot of
people use
  them for weeks, and sometimes months, literally until it's leaking,"
said
  von Braun. 

  The Canadian Bottled Water Association advises against reusing the
  containers altogether. It says the containers are made for single use
and
  should be recycled afterward, not reused. People would be unable to
properly
  sterilize the bottles at home, and the industry doesn't evaluate the
safety
  of the bottles for multiple uses, said Elizabeth Griswold, executive
  director of the Canadian Bottled Water Association.  Reuse of the
plastic
  bottles "is not something we recommend," said Griswold.



-----Original Message-----
From: Amy Hemmert [mailto:mhemmert@no.address] 
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2003 1:40 PM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: [greenyes] reusable water bottles

I was wondering if anyone has the latest scoop on chemicals leaching out
of plastic water bottles. I have a water bottle that I refill but am
somewhat concerned about negative health effects. I certainly don't want
to use disposables and glass isn't a viable option for me. Any ideas
about what's safe and what isn't?

Thanks!

Amy





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