Monday, April 28, 2008

Is your Nalgene Making you Sick?

I got back yesterday from a 3 mile run with Beans, and like i do on any other occasion, downed lots of water from my Nalgene. I've been using my Nalgene bottle since fall of 2003 when i decided to be more conscious of my carbon footprint and quit buying single use plastic bottles due to their impact on our growing waste problem.

D will attest to the fact that i'm always nauseous. I always complain about feeling like i'm going to throw up, but i rarely do. Until yesterday. I managed to puke up what i image was about 32 ounces of water... all the water i drank out of my Nalgene an hour prior. Is this a coincidence? I don't know. All i know is I felt sick, all i had to eat until that point was matzah brei, jam, and water... water out of my Nalgene...

Apparently there has been lots of research done recently on the harmful effects of reusing plastic bottles, including and especially, Nalgene bottles. What one study found:

"A study that involved researching birth defects and developmental abnormalities that caused miscarriages in mice raised the suspicions on all polycarbonate plastics. The study revealed a sudden increase in aneuploidy, a defect consisting of abnormal loss or gain of chromosomes, which in humans could possibly lead to miscarriages or disorders such as Down Syndrome.

The spontaneous jump in mouse aneuploidy was traced back to a lab worker, who used a strong detergent to clean the mice cages and water bottles. The effects of the detergent resulted in the plastic attaching itself to bisphenol, a chemical that mimics the female hormone estrogen.
Research has shown that low BPA levels have had an adverse effect on prostate development, tumors, breast tissue development, sperm count and enlargement of fat cells in the body.

Scientists have warned against allowing any polycarbonate plastics near your food or water and stated the devastating effects of these chemicals posed the biggest risk to babies during early development. Despite the warnings, polycarbonate plastics continue to be used in a wide variety of products including food storage cans, dental sealants and the Nalgene Lexan bottles."

On one hand i thought there was enough evidence and conversation both ways, lots of people don't think that reusing plastic is harmful. On the other, this discovery was serious enough to cause California legislation to consider passing a bill that bans Bisphenol A (the specific compound used in Nalgene bottles) from children's toys, pacifiers, and bottles.

The other thing about me that lots of people don't know is i'm not the cleanest person. I mean, sure i bathe (although not regularly enough, as my college roommates used to joke lol) and brush my teeth every day, but when it comes to keeping things clean and orderly, I'm not your gal. In fact, what scares me about this is i don't think i've washed my Nalgene more than a dozen times in the few years i've had it. Ok ok I know that's gross and it's another reason I quickly threw the bottle out yesterday as i realized this might have been the cause of all that vomit... Especially since one post says to change bottles when the writing starts to fade. Instead, when the writing started to fade on my Nalgene, i put stickers on the bottle. When the stickers started to fade, i put new stickers over them... i think this was a long time coming haha.

Am i overreacting here? I'm not sure... but with all this talk of the harmful bacteria, toxins, and brain damage, i am a bit scared for my health...

Any thoughts other than it's time for me to get a SIGG bottle? ;)


Jay P. said...

The SIGG bottle sounds good, but I'd be curious to see what independent research has to say about it. After all, Nalgene has said their bottles are just fine but those are obviously rather subjective and biased statements. Sure couldn't hurt to try SIGG though, and within a couple of weeks it is still cheaper than a supply of Aquafina or Poland Springs for the same period (and considering that Aquafina comes from the tap anyway!). I would suggest washing any new bottles you may try on a more frequent basis though. ;)

FeministGal said...

haha :) thanks doc!

Erhart said...

Keep researching this. I spoke with my father, a chemist at Pfizer, who has done research on things like this and he stated that the chemical make-up of these plastic bottles makes a difference. The number on the bottom determines several qualities of each bottle, including density, type of plastic, and what it was subjected to during the making. Nalgene, as we are aware, is a harder plastic designed to be used over and over again. Bottles like Poland Spring are for one time uses thus designed differently for financial reasons. I wish I had an answer for which number is the better one but I don't off hand. Again, I would say look into it before placing any of your Nalgene bottles into the cabinet for good.

I actually use a modern metal canteen for my water. Plus side is it keeps my water cooler longer. Negative side is it has that metallic taste that every canteen has when you first take a swig.

This is where I picked it up.

Anonymous said...

Hey G-
Maybe when you get your SIGG bottle (which im now looking into getting, they're awesome!), you should get the cleaning brush accessory kit. Just a suggestion :) Can't wait to meet beans this weekend!!

Anonymous said...

You can also buy water bottles from nalgene or camelback that do not contain BPA.