Friday, April 18, 2008

The # 7 Plastics Question

There have been a number of media stories recently regarding the safety of bottles made out of polycarbonate – which has as one of its ingredients a substance called bisphenol A, or BPA. Several customers have called saying they saw one of these reports on TV or in the newspaper and were inquiring as to what DrinkMore Water had to say about the issue.

First of all, these reports are all reviews of existing studies. None of these reports or panels provides any new research, rather, they are commenting on and analyzing the studies that have been done in the past. The one thing that is perfectly clear to me is that a lot more research has to be done on the issue before definitive conclusions are reached. Polycarbonate has long been approved for usage by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) for beverage containers. There are several things at issue here that the scientific community cannot seem to agree upon. For example, there is a question as to whether or not BPA can migrate from the bottle. That leads to other questions – like what test conditions should we use to see if BPA does or does not migrate. So, one camp says let's pour boiling hot water into the bottle, add harsh cleaning chemicals and see what happens with respect to migration. That would be simulating the worst possible scenario. Another camp might evaluate the migration issue using real world conditions – like washing at a much lower temperature with commonly used washing detergents.

Then there is the question of whether BPA is toxic at all. From my reading, there are no clear cut conclusions. It’s similar to the recent study by the Associated Press (which was also a review of existing literature) that concluded there were pharmaceutical drugs in the tap water of most communities nationwide. Birth control medications, high blood pressure drugs, and anti-depressants were among those identified. So, a big question is “how much is actually in there”? And the next question is “how much is too much”? I saw one analysis that suggested you would have to consume several thousand gallons of water before ever coming close to the dosage in a single birth control pill. So, should you be worried? That is for each person to decide for him/herself.

So, I went to the bottled water industry’s website and here is the statement that I found:

I would encourage you to go and read that article. As far as DrinkMore Water is concerned, we continue to monitor the issue closely. As most of you already know, we carry several alternatives to the polycarbonate 5-gallon bottles. We carry both 3-gallon and 5-gallon glass bottles that are purity defined. Nothing can or will ever migrate from glass. Then we also carry a full line of BPA-Free PET (that’s #1 plastic) bottles including all sizes of single serve – 12 oz, ½ liter, 24 oz, 1 liter and 1.5 liters – as well as 5-gallon bottles in PET that do not have any BPA in them whatsoever. They come at a slightly higher cost than the polycarbonate bottles. If you are interested in switching to glass or PET bottles, please give our Customer Service Team a call and they can help you out.

Rest assured that your DrinkMore Water team is on top of this issue and will continue to keep you – our valued customers – informed of all the latest developments.


Anonymous said...

Bob - Why not go ahead and give us the price list for the PET bottles. I am interested but your office is closed. Then your staff doesn't have to constantly answer the same question over again.
Joseph Hewitt FitzGerald

Ken Montville said...

I would much rather roll the dice on BPA migrating (or not) from Poly bottles than worry about drugs, lead, etc. in municipal water.

As long as I can be sure that the water has been purified (and not just municipal water in a bottle like some big name brands)I feel pretty good about the bottle.

Bob Perini said...

Hey Joe - as far as pricing info - I like to leave that on the website and quite honestly, I want to make sure that people know all of the different choices we offer, so sometimes it's just better to talk to one of the members of our staff.

Ken - as you probably know, we utilize reverse osmosis technology (among other purification processes) to ensure the purity of our water. I chose that technology when I started DrinkMore Water because it is the best technology out there for removing all of the different kinds of impurities found in tap water. Suffice it to say that testing and measurement methodologies have continued to evolve and now are much more sensitive than they were just 10 years ago. Scientists are finding more things in the water because their testing equipment is so much better and more sophisticated. I suspect the harder you look, the more you'll find.

In the end, I couldn't be more confident in our technology's ability to remove impurities of any variety. Some bottled water companies sell "drinking water" which is nothing more than spring water (with all of its impurities) mixed with purified water. Mixing spring water with purified water makes the final product look "purer" - but I personally don't understand why anyone would want to buy that product (or sell it for that matter).

Finally, with respect to BPA, several organizations have asked the FDA to again review the safety of BPA. I hope they do. But something tells me that no matter what their conclusions are, the debate will rage on.

Thanks for Reading!