We’ve all been there – after a walk to the car in the scorching heat, you find a half-full water bottle rolling around on the floorboard. As you unscrew the cap and blast the AC you have a flittering thought: how long has this water bottle been here? But a moment later it passes as you quench your thirst with the lukewarm mystery water.
A study recently conducted at the University of Florida has confirmed that needling suspicion you may have had – don’t drink bottled water that’s been left out in the sun. The problem occurs when the material used to create the bottle – polyethylene terephthalate – is heated over an extended period of time.
If a bottle of water stays exposed to the sun in the hot interior of your car releases the chemicals bisphenol A (commonly called BPA) and antimony into the water. In direct sunlight the interior of a typical car can reach 131 to 172 degrees Fahrenheit, so there is real cause for concern.
Polyethylene terephthalate is convenient for packaging because the material is durable, lightweight, and difficult to shatter. However, the risks of BPA and antimony outweigh any potential benefits of plastic packaging. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers antimony to be a carcinogen. BPA, in turn, affects hormone levels and can pose serious health risks for children with a high level of exposure.
BPA has also been shown to affect brain development in fetuses. A study conducted in 2011 measured the BPA levels in the urine of pregnant women in the early stages of pregnancy. Those with higher BPA levels were likely to have children that suffered from a variety of disorders, including anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity.
The University of Florida study utilized 16 different brands of bottled water, and measured the chemical content after the bottled water had been kept in an environment of 158 degrees Fahrenheit for four weeks. The researchers asserted that this scenario is a “worst-case” one for human consumption, but in the summer such temperature readings inside a car are more likely.
The packaging of bottled water is of major concern when left in extreme conditions. And mathematically speaking, you drink plenty of bottled water – Americans consumed nearly 9.1 billion gallons of bottled water in 2011. That means you consumed approximately 30 gallons from bottled water last year if you’re like the average American!
To protect your health and to reduce plastic waste stop purchasing bottled water when on the go. Switch to a refillable sports bottle from Pelican Water that’s reusable and completely BPA-free! Without BPA in the packaging you can drink your water worry-free. And the Eastman Tritan copolyester used to manufacture our bottles is 100% recyclable.