Saturday, January 5, 2008

My Water Bottle

Just yesterday I was walking with a friend through a sporting good store, looking for her panacea in a black hoodie, and as we passed the metal water bottles, I said, "the only thing about this project that I'm doing is that it's making me a little nutty -- last week I bought my kids these bottles -- I'm getting paranoid about our plastic ones."

Today, a reporter/ mommy writer for the New York Times seems to have read my mind, and offered me my very own article! It's always a big relief -- to find a reporter who is actually obsessing over the same question looping over and over in your mind, who then goes out and does all the work for you. And if they have the resources of a newspaper behind them, and that newspaper, all the better!

Published: January 5, 2008

I HAVE the usual New Year’s resolutions — exercise more, lose weight, be a nicer person. I also hope to find out if I am inadvertently poisoning my children...

Tugend, in complete accordance with my own family, has been both trying to cut down on waste and to keep a handy supply of water available to herself and her kids... but as the stories of oil-based plastics leaching toxins have been gaining momentum, it seems to be harder and harder to know if that's really such a good idea.

The Minnesota Daily reported last year:
About three years ago a researcher at Case Western Reserve University noticed an increase in genetic defects in mice when she cleaned their polycarbonate cages with a harsh detergent. The polycarbonate leached a chemical called bisphenol A, a known component of the material, and supposedly caused chromosomal defects in the lab mice.

I recommend today's Times article highly, though basically I didn't learn anything new -- but in part because I've been following this story for a while. I noticed in October that Patagonia had stopped selling Naglene -- that concerned me a lot. Canada's largest outdoor equipment chain also pulled plastic water bottles.

You can start feeling a little nutty too -- while I just invested in metal bottles, they are replacing 6 plastic ones I bought just 6 months ago when I vowed to stop buying disposable water bottles -- a change which has significantly changed my recycling, my car cleanliness, and maybe saving me about $50 a month. The issue with these bottles has to do with a hormone mimicing chemical. Tugend writes:

Environmental groups and some scientists have raised concern that such plastic can leach bisphenol A, an endocrine-disrupting chemical. It is a big enough issue that last year, the National Toxicology Program Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction convened a 12-member expert panel to examine studies related to the chemical.

Sometimes it feels like a trend -- jumping from one thought to the next without any hard and fast answers. At the same time, sometimes it seems like we avoid an awful lot for convenience sake, and keeping things the same as they've been.

What does seem water-clear, is that the further we look carefully at the oil in our daily lives, the more questions, concerns, risks and toxins seem to leach out...

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