Those of you who think bottled water is safer than tap water, hold on tightly to your bottles because this is going to shock you. Freedonia State University of New York has released findings of a study that will truly shake you belief in your trusted bottled water. Researchers from the university studied 11 of the most popular bottled water brands. And 93 percent of them contain tiny amounts of plastic. In every bottle, there were an average of 325 plastic pieces and 10,000 pieces in every litre. Only 17 bottles out of 259 picked for the study were devoid of plastics.
Most of the plastic particles found in the drinking water was polypropylene, the same type used to make bottle caps. The findings are yet to be published in a journal. After these reports were released, WHO has announced that it would launch a review about the health risks of ingesting plastic through drinking water.
Sadly for us, India also figures among the countries where plastic was found and that can’t be good news. Plastics pose a big health risk to human health. Here are some of the ways in which it can harm your health.
1 Plastic can disrupt your hormones
Chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastic can wreak havoc on your hormones. Endocrine disruption is one of the biggest and most serious repercussions of ingesting plastic. It can trigger health problems like cancer, birth defects, suppression of immune system and developmental problems in children.
2 Plastic can increase cancer risk
The chemical diethylhexyl phthalate in the plastic is a carcinogen, exposure to which is believed to increase risk of breast cancer and cause damage to reproductive organs according to some studies. Since it is found in most plastic paraphernalia, the exposure to this chemical is almost unavoidable.
3 Plastic can cause birth defects
Presence of BPA in plastics can also cause birth defects in foetuses. There is scientific evidence to support the fact that the plastic additive may adversely affect women’s reproductive system and cause chromosomal damage, birth defects and even miscarriages.
4. Plastics can affect male fertility
There is some evidence to support the belief that plastic can negatively impact male fertility. Everyday exposure to chemicals inside plastic can decrease sperm count, leading to decreased fertility among men.
5. Plastic is linked to respiratory problems
Certain chemicals in plastic like phthalates have been found to worsen respiratory health according to a study. Dust found in the houses of children who had respiratory illnesses like asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema symptoms were known to have higher level of phthalates.
There’s no way to escape plastics completely since it is used ubiquitously in most everyday items. Everything from laptops to phones; utensils to receipts contain traces of plastic. What we can do, however, is to reduce exposure to plastic by adopting some green habits. Using glass, metal and earthen utensils; eating fresh, natural food and shunning canned foods; reducing dependence on microwave oven; and buying BPA and phthalate-free products are some ways to do this.