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Medicine Science

BPA Leaches From Polycarbonate Bottles Into Humans 251

Posted by kdawson
from the glass-makes-a-comeback dept.
Linus the Turbonerd sends in the bulletin that BPA, a toxic chemical used in the production of polycarbonate, the plastic composing hard, clear water bottles, has been found to leach out of such containers, directly into the water that their users consume. "In addition to polycarbonate bottles, which are refillable and a popular container among students, campers and others and are also used as baby bottles, BPA is also found in dentistry composites and sealants and in the lining of aluminum food and beverage cans. ... 'We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA's endocrine-disrupting potential,' said Karin B. Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study."
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BPA Leaches From Polycarbonate Bottles Into Humans

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  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Sunday May 24, 2009 @03:27PM (#28077309)

    Can the US government finally get on the fucking ball and ban BPA? I'm sick of catering to business interests.

  • Exactly!

    The absurdity of the proposition is targeted to illustrate the level of hormonal disturbance that is being courted.

  • by mozzis (231162) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @04:09PM (#28077583) Homepage
    What is most disturbing about this is that in this "highly technical" (ahem) community, only one poster noticed that what is important is not whether or not BPA is present in the urine or blood of people who use the bottles, but rather it is what are the health effects if any when it is present? A related question still unasked here is, how far away does a 69% increase in BPA levels put us from FDA-posited unsafe levels? Since the normal level in the population is thousands of times less than the unsafe level, this is an important piece of data that was missing from TFA.
  • Re:Old? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday May 24, 2009 @04:25PM (#28077739) Homepage Journal

    Careful, this one has friends.

    Anyway, anyone who can't read between the lines of Nalgene stopping their use of a material they've been claiming is the best thing ever isn't very smart, and deserves toxics in their pee.

    The most hilarious part is that if you told people ten years ago that polycarbonates were dangerous they'd say that you were a big fucking idiot. Five years ago you'd be a conspiracy theorist. Today, you're vindicated. Tomorrow, you'll tell them about something else that's probably dangerous, and you'll be a big idiot to them again.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @04:28PM (#28077765)

    The linked report was less than useful, since the reporting was done in relative terms - e.g. "increased by two thirds". Okay, but two thirds over what? There are generally specific concentrations above which a chemical is identified as harmful by the government (or by a watchdog agency, if you don't trust the government). Why not say "BPA levels increase from the background level of xxxxxxx to a ppm/ppb of yyyyyy in individuals who drank from these bottles for one week"?

    So really, even if the shift away from BPA plastics wasn't already well on, there's no indication from this report whether I should actually be concerned or not. And frankly, as someone with a science background, this sort of thing makes me LESS likely to be concerned. When I see fuzzy reporting, my first though is it was done intentionally because they can't support their case using objective numbers. I've seen this happen in honest-to-goodness scientific papers way too often to not notice.

  • Re:Old? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@@@slashdot...org> on Sunday May 24, 2009 @04:51PM (#28077943)

    You mean like the industrial sugar that's in 99% of all American (and 90% of all European) "food"? ^^

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @04:55PM (#28077977)

    The linked report was less than useful, since the reporting was done in relative terms - e.g. "increased by two thirds". Okay, but two thirds over what? There are generally specific concentrations above which a chemical is identified as harmful by the government (or by a watchdog agency, if you don't trust the government). Why not say "BPA levels increase from the background level of xxxxxxx to a ppm/ppb of yyyyyy in individuals who drank from these bottles for one week"?

    ...And frankly, as someone with a science background, this sort of thing makes me LESS likely to be concerned. When I see fuzzy reporting, my first though is it was done intentionally because they can't support their case using objective numbers. I've seen this happen in honest-to-goodness scientific papers way too often to not notice.

    It makes me skeptical as well, but I think there are at least two other reasons things get reported this way:

    • Reporters are afraid that if they mention more than one number, Joe Sixpack's eyes will glaze over and he'll think some gawl-durn science geek is trying to talk down to him, and he's less likely to read news from this source again.
    • The reporters themselves have such a poor grasp of science and math that they don't know that anything matters other than the relative increase.
  • Re:soy milk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by symbolic (11752) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @05:16PM (#28078127)

    There's no coconut titty either, but...

  • Re:Old? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @06:01PM (#28078447) Journal

    Ten years ago, if you'd said that, you *would* have been an idiot. Even idiots can be right once in a while, in the same way that a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

    If, instead, your claim was simply that the bottles weren't proven not to leach anything, you'd be vindicated, and all the idiots who bitched that "you can't prove a negative" would still be idiots.

  • Re:Old? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fractoid (1076465) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @08:24PM (#28079267) Homepage

    Isn't this extremely old news? Companies have been making BPA-free plastic bottles now for a long long time, including baby bottles.

    Well I couldn't have told you exactly what chemical causes it, but I doubt you could find anyone who'd argue that fresh clean water left in a plastic container for a few days *doesn't* taste 'plasticky'. If the water tastes different when it comes out of the plastic container than when it went in, then either something has been removed (unlikely given that it's tap water in a sealed container) or there's something new in it, and unless you believe in homeopathy, that something new is a chemical.

    The human sense of taste is fascinating, it's like 'the lab' from NCIS except it's made out of a few square inches of meat.

  • Junk Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thethibs (882667) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @08:59PM (#28079425) Homepage

    'We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds [from nearly zero to 1.6×nearly zero] . If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA's endocrine-disrupting potential,'

    This is propaganda, not science.

  • Re:Old? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twostix (1277166) on Monday May 25, 2009 @02:27AM (#28080803)

    Various plastics will probably be this generations lead.

    I'm sure the people who were the first to become sceptical of lead were called fucking idiots too.

    Just like the poor bastard who tried to convince doctors to *wash their hands* before cutting people open was.

    Just like the guy who tried to tell 19th century England that it's widespread disease was due to people living in and drinking their own raw sewage - rather than the 'miasma'.

    Established norms are *hard* to dislodge until there's mass irrefutable proof that can't be hand waved away. To bad that mass proof equals mass amounts of people ill affected. History proves quite tidily that in any given area the general public lag significantly on acceptance when mainstream things are found to be very harmful.

    Don't wait until the masses are ok with something, especially when It's just as easy to do things to protect yourself and family now - like buying glass bottles.

    (Wait until we find out the long term effects of the new ways of growing meat feed lot style! I have two acquaintances who work in abattoirs who won't touch meat unless they know where it's come from because of what they are seeing coming out of feedlot beef.)

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