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Water Worries: How Safe Is Your Drinking Water?

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

I happen to be one of those people, in fact always have been, that “forces” myself to drink at minimum eight glasses, if not more a day. And, I’m known to ALWAYS have a bottle of water in my car.

Yet, while I “think” I’m doing my body and health justice, some new concerns about bottled water are consistently cropping up.

The concern is with BPA (Bisphenol-A) a potentially toxic chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, as well as in durable, high-performance plastic material used in the lining of tin cans and to make reusable, high-performance plastic containers.

According to experts, the chemical “has” been detected in certain individuals who seemingly have ingested it through food or liquids stored in plastic containers or plastic-lined cans. In fact, they add that food is a huge marker for BPA, as it slowly leaches its way in via storage containers.

The issue at hand revolves around the fact the BPA has been classified as an endocrine disruptor, a substance that interferes with the body’s natural hormone system. In addition, experts suggest that BPA has estrogenic properties that result in binding to the body’s estrogen receptors, making our body think that it actually is a natural hormone and “tricking” it into using it to regulate our endocrine system. And, according to the World Health Organization, endocrine disruptors are associated with lower sperm count and quality, early onset of puberty, neurobehavioural problems and caner.

However, some experts suggest that the amount of chemical we are exposed to is almost “negligible”. Toxologists go on to assert that extensive testing “has” been conducted and the amount of BPA we ingest falls well below the safety minimum, adding that for any significant impact on our health we would have to melt the bottles down and spoon the chemicals in.

Yet, other studies reveal that even small amounts of BPA are dangerous, just as dangerous as high levels. And, many conclude that when it comes to your health and long-term effects of chemicals on your body, your best approach is “better safe than sorry”.

They suggest reducing your risk by minimizing your exposure to BPAs. But, they add, avoiding them altogether is practically impossible.

You can identify plastics containing BPA by looking for the recycling symbol # 7, typically indigenous to durable plastic products you can see through, including Tupperware containers, Nalgene Bottles, Brita jugs, and some baby bottles. However, newer products tend to be more stable and safe, but time and usage, especially heating, break down the polymers and allow BPA and other chemicals to make their way into foods.

Experts recommend looking for safer products, those with recycling symbols (or “PETE” numbers) 1,2,4, and 5.

They note that commercial water bottles for instance have a recycling symbol of one while Gladware has a symbol of 5. And, while these are certainly “safer”, the bottle are not meant or designed for re-use and Gladware should NOT be heated.

Plus, experts offer the following tips.

· Opt for fresh or dried fruits and veggies, and store them in cloth or glass containers. They add that most health food stores have special cloth bags for storing salad greens.

· Keep a large glass at your desk and refill “it” with water instead of using a plastic container.

· Opt for whole foods rather than those in cans and when you “do” choose cans try to avoid those with plastic lining. Also soaking beans and lentil overnight can get rid of some of the toxins.

· Wrap sandwiches in wax paper rather than plastic baggies.

· Use plastic food containers for transporting food only. Heat if up on a ceramic dish or paper towel.

· Avoid preserved items and treat your family to your own sauces, preserves, and jams.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Water Worries: How Safe Is Your Drinking Water?

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