BOTTLE DRAMA

Due to recent warnings, many runners are wondering if our plastic water bottles belong in the recycling bin.
By Christie Aschwanden

They're in our cars and gym bags. But due to recent warnings, many runners are wondering if our plastic water bottles belong in the recycling bin. Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical in polycarbonate bottles, has been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, and endocrine damage in animals. And while research is needed to determine whether BPA is dangerous to humans, animals given low doses of BPA—an amount equivalent to what people are presumed to ingest—have experienced health problems, says Scott Belcher, Ph.D., a runner and cell biologist at the University of Cincinnati. The FDA says polycarbonate bottles are safe, and a panel from the National Institutes of Health concluded that there is only "negligible concern" regarding BPA's effects on adults. Still, many people (including Belcher) prefer to avoid BPA. And the industry has responded: Nalgene has stopped making their bottles with BPA; Patagonia has pulled polycarbonate bottles from store shelves. Because runners can't stop drinking on the go, we asked some experts to weigh in on the plastic bottles available.
Bottled water
The polyethylene terephthalate ethylene (PETE) in these bottles doesn't contain BPA, but when scratched or heated, other chemicals could be released into your water, says Kathleen Schuler, author of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Smart Plastics Guide.Expert's take: Use just once.

Soft plastic bottles
Low-density and high-density polyethylene (LDPE, HDPE) bottles are BPA-free, but the plastic degrades with heat and harsh soaps.Expert's take: A good choice, but hand wash and rinse regularly. Water that sits too long develops a plasticlike taste.


Old Nalgene bottles
These were made of polycarbonate, which contains BPA. BPA can get into water, especially when the plastic is heated. Expert's take: Federal regulators consider these bottles safe, but Belcher recommends BPA-free versions.


To learn more about Bottle Drama and detailed information on various bottles and what chemicals are in your water bottles check out http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-302--12843-0,00.html?cm_mmc=nutrition-_-2008_10_02-_-nutrition-_-HEALTH%3a%20Bottle%20Drama

See ya!
PUBLISHED in Runner's World Online 09/03/2008