Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Why You Shouldn't Drink Warm Bottled Water
Photo by Henrik Sorensen/Digital Vision/Getty Images
A few years back, rumors circulated that Sheryl Crow claimed drinking bottled water left in a hot car had given her breast cancer. The result? A fresh wave of good, old-fashioned American fear. Since then, the worry over plastic bottles leaching dangerous chemicals into our water has never quite disappeared — and perhaps for good reason, suggests a new study published in the September edition of Environmental Pollution.
Scientists from Nanjing University in China and the University of Florida investigated the effects of storing 16 brands of bottled water (all sold in China) at three temperatures: 39 degrees F, 77 degrees F, and 158 degrees F, intended to mimic the temperatures of a refrigerator, a standard room, and the inside of a car, respectively. “Based on the literature, that is a temperature that’s reachable on a hot summer day in a car,” study author Lena Ma told Yahoo Health.
The researchers checked the levels of two substances —antimony and bisphenol A (BPA) — after one, two, and four weeks. Antimony, a trace heavy metal, has been found to play a role in lung, heart, and gastrointestinal diseases, according to a 2009 study review. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies one form of the metal, called antimony trioxide, as a “possible carcinogen.” BPA, meanwhile, is a chemical that can mimic estrogen in the body and which is found in some plastics; it’s been banned for use by the FDA in baby bottles and sippy cups.
The researchers found that as the temperature rose and time passed, increasingly high levels of antimony were detectable in the bottles of water. Specifically, at 77° F, the release of antimony increased by as much as twofold over that at the cooler temperature — although the levels of the trace metal varied by brand, increasing significantly at 77 degrees F in only six out of 16 brands.
Related: The Nine Lives of Coconut Water
BPA levels, meanwhile, went up in only three brands at this temperature, though the concentration still wasn’t high enough to cause concern, Ma said. But the presence of BPA in bottled water, period, is still something of a mystery: “In theory, the plastic should not contain BPA,” she said. One explanation, she noted, is that “during the manufacturing process, especially if you use recycled plastics, you may find trace amounts of BPA. It’s an impurity.”
At 158 degrees F — the hot-car condition — antimony concentrations consistently increased, with up to a 319-fold boost in levels of the metal, compared with levels in the refrigerator condition. The highest level measured was .00026 milligrams per liter of water, which is still lower than the EPA’s legal limit of .0006 milligrams per liter for drinking water. However, other countries, such as Japan, have set stricter limits on the substance.
The scientists estimate that, worst-case scenario, drinking the most heavily contaminated brand of bottled water could mean consuming .0004 mg of antimony per kilogram of body weight each day, which they said may pose a health risk, especially for children. Another factor to consider: Calcium — often found in bottled mineral water — has been shown to enhance the release of antimony. “Therefore,” the researchers wrote, “the health risk caused by [antimony] release from PET bottles in this study may be underestimated.”
why use bottled water at all. most of it is tap water or worse. reason 2,076 to stop buying bottled water and use a filter. it takes 1/4 of a bottle of oil to make the bottle, bottle the water, transport it, and store it
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
City investigates claims of bad drinking water
Published On: Jun 23 2014 06:37:00 PM CDT
The City of Houston is investigating complaints from dozens of people who say their drinking water turned gray and smelled musty over the weekend.
Concerned residents living in Westbury and surrounding neighborhoods flooded 311 with calls after discovering the change in the appearance and taste of their water.
"I went to get a glass of water through the water filter, and I noticed I couldn't see through the glass. It was pretty cloudy. I thought, I'm not going to drink this," said Paul Nylund.
Other families said they planned to stock up on bottled water and avoid taking baths until they know what is causing the problem.
"I was using bottled water to make coffee and to feed my dogs, give my dogs water," said Jim Stamos.
Late Monday, a spokesman for the city's public works department issued a statement to assure residents the water is safe to consume and meets all national and state standards.
"PWE water quality professionals have concluded that the change is attributable to increased levels of a naturally-occurring compound in our upstream surface water supplies which is known to cause earthy or musty tastes and odors," said Gary Norman.
According to the statement, the public works department is currently evaluating treatment options as well as monitoring the upstream water supply.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
WASHINGTON -- The
Supreme Court ruled Monday that a group of homeowners in North Carolina can't sue a company that contaminated their drinking water decades ago because a state deadline has lapsed, a decision that could prevent thousands of other property owners in similar cases from recovering damages after being exposed to toxic waste.
In a 7-2 decision, the justices said state law strictly bars any lawsuit brought more than 10 years after the contamination occurred - even if residents did not realize their water was polluted until years later.
The high court reversed a lower court ruling that said federal environmental laws should trump the state law and allow the lawsuit against electronics manufacturer
CTS Corp. to proceed.
The decision is a setback for the families of several thousand former North Carolina-based Marines suing the federal government in a separate case for exposing them to contaminated drinking water over several decades at
Camp Lejeune. The government is relying on the same state law to avoid liability. That case is currently pending at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
The ruling on Monday involves property owners living on land where CTS used to make electronics equipment until it sold the property in 1987. It wasn't until 2009 that residents discovered their well water contained chemicals that can cause numerous health problems including cancers, reproductive disorders and birth defects.
North Carolina has a "statute of repose" that ends a plaintiff's right to seek damages to property more than 10 years after the last act of contamination occurred. The property owners argued that their claims were still valid under federal environmental laws, which give victims two years to sue from the date they discover what caused their illness.
Writing for the majority, Justice
Anthony Kennedy said Congress did not intend to pre-empt state "statutes of repose" laws that set a deadline for property claims based on the date of final contamination. He said federal environmental laws only cover statutes of limitation, where the clock starts running at the time of the injury.
"The case for federal pre-emption is particularly weak where Congress has indicated its awareness of the operation of state law in a field of federal interest, and has nonetheless decided to stand by both concepts and to tolerate whatever tension there is between them," Kennedy said.
In dissent, Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Congress was concerned about state statutes that "deprive plaintiffs of their day in court." That concern is apparent in the case of diseases like cancer that take years to develop before a victim understands the cause, she said.
Ginsburg said the majority's decision "gives contaminators an incentive to conceal the hazards they have created until the repose period has run its full course." She was joined in dissent by
Justice Stephen Breyer.
At Camp Lejeune, health officials estimate as many as 1 million people may have been exposed to tainted groundwater over several decades. In 2012,
President Barack Obama signed a bill into law providing health benefits to Marines and family members exposed to the water from 1957 to 1987.
Last month, Angela Canterbury, with the Project on Government Oversight, told CBS affiliate WNCT: "We would like for the government to finally stop trying to prevent Camp Lejeune victims from getting justice in every circumstance. It is just high time for the government to take responsibility and to make things right."