A Single Exposure to BPA Can Affect Your Health

BottledWaterBan_150x141New research from the Seoul National University’s department of preventive medicine in Korea has found that even single exposure to BPA can have a direct and immediate impact on cardiovascular health. The study found that when people drank soy milk from a can with BPA linings, the levels of BPA in their urine as well as their blood pressure rose within two hours. However, when the same individuals drank soy milk from glass bottles, which do not use BPA linings, there was no significant change in their BPA levels or blood pressure.

The study, published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, was a random controlled trial. Researchers recruited 60 older subjects, majority of them women, to drink soy milk from cans or glass bottles on three separate occasions, weeks apart. Most of the subjects had no history of high blood pressure, though some did.

Soy milk does not have any properties that are known to increase blood pressure and is considered fairly neutral making it less likely to leach BPA from containers, like soda, fruit juice or other acidic beverages.

The study found that when the subjects drank from glass bottles their urinary BPA levels remained fairly low, but when they drank from BPA-lined cans, their urinary BPA levels were about 16 times higher. As their urinary BPA levels rose, so did their systolic blood pressure readings – on average by about 5 millimeters of mercury. In general, every 20 millimeter increase in systolic blood pressure doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease.

While a single instance of increased blood pressure may not be harmful, the findings suggest that multiple exposures on a consistent basis may contribute to hypertension over time. “I think this is a very interesting and important study that adds to the concern of bisphenol A,” said Dr. Karin Michels, an expert on BPA who was not involved in the new research. “It raises a lot of questions. We have such a high rate of hypertension in this country, which has risen, and we haven’t really thought of bisphenol A and its use in cans as one of the causes of that.”

Previous research has found that BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic estrogen, leading the Food and Drug Administration to ban BPA in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. Canadian regulators formally declared BPA a toxic substance in 2010 and banned it from all children’s products.

Ban BPA from your office by switching to bottleless water coolers! Bottleless water coolers are like miniature water purification plants in your office: the good stuff (like minerals) stay in while the bad stuff (like chlorine, lead, phosphates, and bacteria) comes out, providing your office with the cleanest, best-tasting water delivered to your glass!

Don’t Drink the Water… from a warm water bottle!

BottledWaterBan_150x141Scientists from Nanjing University in China and the University of Florida have recently completed a study on the effects of storing bottled water at 3 different temperatures: 39°F, 77°F, and 158°F to mimic the temperatures of a refrigerator, a standard room, and the inside of a car on a hot summer day.

The researchers then checked the levels of two substances, antimony and bisphenol-A (BPA) after 1, 2, and 4 weeks at the respective temperatures. According to a 2009 study from Birmingham City University in the UK, antimony, a heavy metal, may play a role in lung, heart, and gastrointestinal diseases. BPA can mimic estrogen in the body and may have a correlation with liver and prostate cancer as well as migraines and miscarriages.

Researchers found that as the temperature rose and time passed, increasingly high levels of antimony were detectable in the bottles of water. Seventy-seven degrees in particular saw the release of antimony increased by almost twice than that at the cooler temperatures. However at 158°F – the inside of a car on a typical summer day – antimony concentrations increased by 319-fold compared to the levels of the bottled water at the refrigerator temperature. The BPA levels also rose at this temperature but not to high concentrations.

Though the concentrations of antimony rose significantly, the highest level measured was still lower than EPA’s legal limit. However, the lead researcher, Lena Ma, recommends discarding any bottled water that has been stored in hot conditions.

Our recommendation? Don’t take a chance – skip bottled water entirely and switch to a bottleless water cooler for cold, filtered water on demand!

Exposure to BPA May Lead to Liver Cancer


A new study from the University of Michigan, published in the February edition of the Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to report a direct and statistically significant link between the exposure of BPA and liver cancer.

Caren Weinhouse, a doctoral student in the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences, and her colleagues exposed female mice to varying levels of BPA that were equivalent to the levels of exposure that people would experience from plastics, the lining of food cans, cash register receipts, and paint. The highest level of exposure was 50 milligrams of BPA per kilogram of diet.

The exposed female mice were then bread and their offspring were observed to have a 27% higher than normal rate of liver cancer and the development of cancerous lesions in their livers. The researchers also observed that male and female mice developed liver cancer at the same rate. Normally female mice and humans have a lower rate of liver cancer than males. The study also proved that free BPA, or BPA that is not bonded to another molecules) could be transferred to the fetus and produce a higher potential for liver cancer.

Traditional 5-gallon plastic jugs are typically made from plastics that use BPA as a hardening agent. Previous studies have shown that the BPA may leach out of the plastic and into the drinking water. One way to make sure you aren’t accidentally consuming BPA? Switch to a bottleless water cooler!

BPA Now Linked to the Development of Prostate Cancer

Ban5GallonJugsPrevious studies have linked Bisphenol A (BPA) to migraines and miscarriages, but a new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago have found a link between exposure to low levels of BPA during early development and the development of prostate cancer later in life.

In the study, researchers implanted prostate stem cells from deceased young men into mice, and then fed the mice BPA for the first two weeks of life. The amount of BPA given to mice was relatively the same as those commonly seen in pregnant women. Thirty-three percent of the stem cells in mice who were fed BPA had cancerous or precancerous lesions later in life. Mice produced cancerous or precancerous lesions in 45% of tissue samples when the stem cells were exposed to BPA before and after the stem cells were implanted in the mice. Comparatively, only 12% of mice who were fed harmless oil instead of BPA were found to have cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions.

“We know that stem cells help replenish our organs throughout life. We propose that if there is exposure early in life to an estrogenic compound – such as BPA – it reprograms our stem cells,” said Gail Prins, lead author of the study.

BPA is an industrial chemical that is widely used to soften plastics and can be found in clear plastic bottles, containers used to store food, and some sports equipment. BPA is in an industrial chemical that can be found in clear plastic bottles, containers used to store food, and some sports equipment. BPA can leach into water or food as the plastic breaks down, especially when the bottle is heated. One way to lower your exposure to BPA? Switch to a bottleless water cooler.

Link Found Between Plastics and Migraines

Ban5GallonJugsResearch from the University of Kansas shows that Bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in some plastics, may be a trigger for migraines. Researchers tested this hypothesis with rats; half of the rats were given BPA once a day, every three days. Within 30 minutes of exposure, the rats showed symptoms of a migraine, including signals of an influx of estrogen. They also became less active, avoided loud noise and strong light, were easily startled, and showed signs of tenderness to their heads. Previous research has shown that BPA mimics estrogen when ingested. Also many medical professionals surmise that a sudden change in estrogen is a trigger for migraines.

Migraines are an extremely debilitating collection of neurological symptoms and are ranked in the top 20 of the world’s most disabling medical illnesses. About 10% of the U.S. population suffer from migraines, which are characterized as severe recurring intense throbbing pain on one side of the head accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch, and smell, and a tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.

As the report states, “these findings combined with our results suggest that a clinical trial to decrease BPA exposure and levels in migraine sufferers may reduce headache frequency and/or severity.” The study’s authors recommend migraine sufferers to avoid potential sources of contamination including plastic microwave trays, plastic single serve water bottles and 5-gallon office water coolers.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to an employee with a migraine. Why not increase production by switching to a bottleless water cooler?

Is there a correlation between BPA and miscarriages?

Bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s, can be found in clear plastic bottles, containers that store food, eyeglass lenses, and sports equipment. Researchers have found that BPA mimics estrogen and can affect the body’s endocrine system, especially during rapid stages of growth like while in the womb and during childhood. BPA can affect anything from the reproductive health of both sexes, neurobehavioral problems, weight health, and the risk for hormonally mediated cancers, like prostate or breast cancer.

A preliminary study, presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) annual meeting, found that women with the high levels of BPA in their blood were significantly more likely to miscarry than women with the low levels. Researchers involved in the study recruited 114 women who were in the early stages of pregnancy. The women’s blood was tested when they had miscarried in their first trimester or when they had given birth. The researchers then assigned the women into four groups based on their blood levels of BPA from lowest to highest to assess miscarriage risk. The women who had miscarried had higher levels of BPA on average than women who had given birth.  The risk rose with increasing levels of BPA with the women in the group with the highest levels of BPA at about 80% increased risk.

The director of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program, Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Division at Stanford University, and the study’s author, Dr. Ruth Lathi stresses that while this study is not a major cause for alarm, “it’s far from reassuring that BPA is safe.”

Dr. Linda Giudice, President of ASRM, commented on the study saying, “Many studies on the environmental contaminants’ impact on reproductive capacity have been focused on infertility patients and it is clear that high levels of exposure affect them negatively. These studies extend our observations to the general population and show that these chemicals are a cause for concern to all of us.”

While Canada and the European Union have banned the use of BPA, the United States has rejected an outright ban. The Food and Drug Administration has said that the current scientific evidence “does not suggest that the very low levels of human exposure to BPA through diet are unsafe.” However, the FDA has banned the chemical from baby bottles and infant feeding cups.

If you would like to reduce your exposure to BPA, scientists recommend avoiding plastics with recycle codes 3 or 7, like those used to make single serve plastic water bottles; avoid putting hot or boiling liquid into plastic containers, as BPA leak out of plastic materials at a higher rate at higher temperatures; and discard plastic bottles with scratches as they may contain bacteria that increases the release of BPA.  Here at Quench, we recommend switching your office drinking water cooler to a bottleless filtered water cooler – no 5-gallon plastic jug means no BPA in your water.

Study links chemical found in bottled water to obesity

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) suggests links between the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, which is found in plastics such as those used to manufacture water bottles, and childhood obesity, the Detroit Free Press reports. The study, known to be the first large-scale, nationally representative examination linking environmental chemicals to obesity, is the latest in a growing line of research that question the safety and feasibility of exposing children to BPA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 92 percent of Americans over the age of 6 have detectable levels of the estrogen-like chemical in their blood. Building on this, data from the CDC revealed that 22 percent of people with the highest BPA levels in their urine were found to be obese, compared to just 10 percent of those with the lowest levels.

While previous studies have linked the chemical to adult obesity, the new study published by the AMA is the first to directly link BPA to childhood obesity. Scientists have suggested that this is because BPA is known to disrupt the body’s metabolic mechanisms, thus affecting its ability to control weight, WANE reports. Children are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of environmental chemicals.

“Pound for pound, [children] breathe more air, they eat more food and drink more water so early harmful exposure can have permanent and lifelong consequences,” Dr. Leonardo Trasande, the lead author on the study, told the news source. “Children with highest levels [of BPA] had more than twice the odds of being obese. It is fair to say that if you reduce a child’s food [and drink] consumption from [plastic-based sources] you would reduce a child’s BPA levels.”

There have been many studies in recent years that have linked BPA to a variety of human ailments, further bolstering the arguments made in this latest study. According to the Detroit Free Press, BPA has been linked to diabetes, breast and prostate cancers, behavior problems and other dangerous issues in animals and humans exposed before birth. A recent Pediatrics study found that girls with high levels of pre-birth exposure were more apt to be anxious and depressed at the age of 3. Meanwhile, men with exceedingly high levels of BPA were two to four times more likely to have problems with sperm quality and quantity, noted a 2010 Fertility and Sterility study.

While BPA is used in the manufacture of a wide variety of plastics-based products, its presence in bottled water is especially troubling, given its wide consumption by people of all ages and demographics. Along with the environmental concerns raised by widespread bottled water use, the presence of dangerous chemicals have further bolstered arguments against its use. A healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternative would be a water delivery system from Quench.

FDA Stops Being a Baby, Bans BPA in Bottles

BPA-bottle-150x150Just yesterday the federal government announced that baby bottles and sippy cups will no longer be allowed to contain the plastic chemical BPA. The ban will become official this October and will only affect baby bottles and plastic sippy cups.

As we discussed last year, BPA raises many health concerns and was banned from baby bottles in the European Union March 1, 2011.

The new ban reflects a slow change in the FDA’s opinion regarding the harmful effects of the chemical BPA. Four years ago, the FDA stated that trace amounts of BPA leaching from food containers were not dangerous.

Then, in 2010 after further tests, the agency admitted there was “some concern” about the chemical’s impact on the brain and reproductive systems of infants.

In the time it took for the FDA to ban BPA in baby bottles and cups, almost every single American manufacturer of the products had already stopped using it. And while some scientists, citizens and activists are still pushing for a complete ban of the chemical, it seems that any more progress will come at a slow pace.


The Quench Water Weekly Top 10 – June 29

The Quench Weekly Water Top 10 recaps the week’s top stories on drinking water issues. Come back each week for the latest news!

  • Where Did that $4 Bottle of Water Really Come From? –  “Consumer Reports” evaluates several  commercial  bottled waters, and discloses the very pedestrian sources of many of the “fancy” brands. 


  • Plastic Water Bottles More than a Figurative Headache – Medical researchers in China have established a link between BPA (which is commonly found in plastics, including plastic water bottles) and brain tumors.


  • Fragile Florida Springs at Risk – The New York Times reported this week that the health of many of the artesian springs in North Florida have been jeopardized by the state’s growing demand for water.


  • Heading for the Beach this 4th of July? – The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) released it’s annual review of the cleanest (and dirtiest) beaches.  They like Hampton Beach in New Hampshire.  Where does your favorite rank?


  • And if You’re Passing Through Derry, New Hampshire – You might want to check out the Derry Conservation Commission’s screening of the documentary film “Tapped at the Coffee Factory,” which explores the growth of the bottled water industry, lack of government regulation, and it’s environmental impact.


  • Another Giant Step Forward for San Francisco – Legislators in the City by the Bay introduced a bill this week that would mandate the installation of hydration stations in all new buildings. This from the good folks who were the first to ban single-use plastic bags and plastic water bottles in city offices. . .


  • Water Industry Jobs – But at What Price? – Protestors rallied in Portland, Oregon this week to prevent a water bottling plant from being built in the Columbia River Gorge area.  Local officials say the  the project would bring 50 much-needed jobs to the area


  • The Next Big New York Flak? – Environmental action group Change.org has started a petition to ban bottled water in New York City, just weeks after the debate over over-sized sodas.


  • Not Taking Anyone Else’s  Word For It – A Southfield, Massachusetts TV station conducted its own tests to determine how pure the bottled water sold in their region really is.


  • Looking for an Arts and Crafts Project this Weekend? – If you’ve got ten thousand plastic bottles in the recycling bin, here’s something clever to do with them!

What We’ve Learned About BPA in 2011

We’ve all heard of BPA and the dangerous effects it can have on our bodies and developmental systems, but did you know just how easy it is to find and just how harmful it actually is? Neither did the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, until recently.

In 2011, thanks to a series of lab tests and studies, we learned how easily BPA leaches onto and off cash-register receipts (made from BPA coated paper), metal water bottles, and money. Chemists at the New York State Department of Health in Albany found that when a twenty-dollar bill is sandwiched between BPA-laced receipts in your wallet, the chemical only needs twenty-four hours to leach most of itself onto the currency, making it extremely easy to pass on.

Additionally, lab tests conducted by research investigator Cheryl Rosenfeld of the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri this year show that BPA exposure through diet has been severely underestimated in the past. Rosenfeld found that even though BPA can be passed through our systems within twenty-four hours, a chronic dietary exposure to BPA still creates an accumulation of unprocessed and harmful BPA in our bodies. These new findings challenge an often-cited 2002 study that showed BPA to be easily digested, processed and passed from our systems within twenty-four hours.

In a related lab test using deer mice Rosenfeld found that even low-dose exposure to BPA could result in reproductive system issues including sterility, subtly altered gender-specific behaviors like aggression and anxiety, and the possibility of genetic mutation.

So what does all this extra exposure mean to you (other than keep drinking that bottleless water), and what exactly does the EPA plan on doing about this? After soliciting public comment through the web, the agency decided against taking any regulatory action but did call for new toxicity testing of the chemical and its effects. A full plan of action can also be found on the EPA’s website. Some countries aren’t taking chances though. Canada, while acknowledging that exposure levels are still below “potential health effects levels”, has taken steps to ban BPA use in baby bottles, just in case.