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Why Bottled Water and Canned Foods May Not be Good For You!!


By: Dr. Robert Neposlan

North Americans love bottled water. In fact, in the United States residents drink more bottled water than any other beverage except for soft drinks. In all, that translated to 29 gallons of bottled water, per person, in 2007, for a total volume of nearly 9 billion gallons, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.

Why do we drink so much bottled water? Because of an illusion that it is somehow safer, more pure or more convenient than the water we can get at home. I have to admit, for a long time I believed this same thing. But recent warnings published in numerous media outlets have changed my mind. Hopefully, this article will encourage you to do a little more research and consider your options.

What is it about bottled water that has researches concerned?

There are a number of issues here. One is the actual source of the water and the issue of its “purity”. Another is the concern over the burden to the environment in bringing the product to the consumer and the third is the issues of a chemical called Bisphenol a (BPA). BPA is a chemical used in plastic food and beverage containers. It is also found in the lining of canned goods. Why is this concerning? It has been shown that this chemical is capable of leaching from the plastic and the lining of cans into the water and foods we consume. It has also been shown that with both heat and age this leaching process increases. Ever wonder why the water in the bottle left in the car beverage holder has a peculiar taste when you leave it in the car for a day or so…. now you know.

Initially the concern centered on infant exposure through baby bottles and baby formula. However, many studies including a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is sounding the alarm for adults as well. The concern over BPA exposure is not unrecognized by our government. In 2008 Canada became the first country to ban BPA in infant based products including formula and baby bottles. In a report posted at Tony Clement, our Health Minister, describes this action step as a “precautionary and prudent” move. My hope is as we move forward and more and more research becomes available that efforts will be made to ban BPA from all consumer products, both bottled and canned. The Canadian government’s actions are a good start.

Just why is BPA so damaging?

The danger in BPA is that it mimics the female hormone estrogen. In the past, BPA was known to impact fertility (both male and female) and also contribute to various types of cancer. In the JAMA study referenced earlier, researches found that those people with the highest levels of BPA in their urine had 3 times greater risk of heart disease and 2.4 times greater risk of diabetes when compared with people with the lowest concentrations. The study also showed that liver enzymes were also adversely affected. There are numerous other studies being published weekly showing the adverse effects of this chemical (i.e. obesity promoting effects, hyperactivity, enlarged prostrate, accelerated mammary development in young girls etc.)

How can you minimize your exposure?

BPA is so widely used that it would be tough to eliminate it entirely, however you can eliminate it by reducing your exposure to BPA containing products/materials. As suggested, one of the biggest BPA predators is the plastic water bottle. Plastic products containg BPA may also be called polycarbonate, Lexan and Polysulfane. Though these bottles are generally clear, coloured bottles can also contain BPA. In addition, bottles containing the recycle symbol #7 also contain BPA. BPA is also widely used in plastic milk jugs; microwavable plates, ovenware and utensils; tooth sealants; food and pop cans; baby toys, bottles and sippy cups.

With a little bit of effort you can steer clear of most of the above. I know that there are suitable water containers available at various retailers here in town, some of these are clearly marked BPA free. Substitutes for the other items listed above are also available. Until the Canadian government catches up to the most recent research and initiates broader restrictions, it’s up to you to make the change. Hopefully this article helps.

Until next week,

Live well,

Dr Rob








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