Some experts say that what you are drinking out of could lead to breast cancer or infertility. The popularity of plastic re–usable drinking bottles has grown with the rising concerns about the environmental impact of disposal plastic bottles. But the chemical that makes those bottles more durable is causing concern in a different way.
BPA is a hardening component of plastics found in reusable water bottles. These bottles are marked on the bottom with the number 7 inside the recycle symbol and leaving these bottles in your hot car causes the BPA to leech into the liquid. "They do know that this is true, if left in a vehicle it will leech out at a higher rate," says Kristy Emerson of the Mesa County Health Department. A University of Cincinnati study showed that this rate can be as high as 55 times, than if the bottle was kept cool or even at room temperature.
While these studies are still ongoing they have come to one conclusion. "They are finding that BPA can mimic hormones," says Emerson, and that hormone is estrogen. "BPA can interfere with estrogen levels and estrogen metabolism," says Dr. David Robbins of Western Colorado Women Care. That interference can put people at risk, especially women. "Higher levels of estrogen over prolonged periods can increase stimulation to breast tissue and may increase the risk for breast cancer," says Robbins. This risk is higher for some groups. "Post menopausal woman tend to be more susceptible to breast cancer then pre-menopausal women are," says Robbins.
But it's not only women who need to be concerned. "The concern with men, especially young men, is that higher estrogen levels can lead to decreased sperm count which can lead to infertility," says Robbins. Even with these results known, it's still not conclusive enough for officials to ban the chemical. "They're finding that even though the chemical is found in those products it may not be at the levels that can harm," says Emerson.
So while the jury is still out you can be proactive. There are many manufacturers who produce BPA free products, most of them clearly labeled and readily available. There is good news if you decide to go ahead and make the switch to BPA free. "It shouldn't last long once the exposure is over, it should leave you body quickly," says Robbins. Because it could take officials quite a bit longer to make their final decision. "Both the CDC and the EPA are continuing to do research but for now they don't have an official stand," says Emerson.
More than six billion pounds of BPA are produced each year and are found in many other products like canned food linings, plastic eating utensils, food storage containers and reusable baby bottles.