Summary: Forwarded message warns women not to drink bottled water that has been left in a car for any length of time because, supposedly, the heat releases cancer-causing toxins which 'leak' from the plastic into the water.
Email example contributed by Jori M., 22 April 2007:
Subject: Drinking Bottled Water Kept in Car
...a friend whose mother recently got diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctor told her women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car. The doctor said that the heat and the plastic of the bottle have certain chemicals that can lead to breast cancer. So please be careful and do not drink that water bottle that has been left in a car and pass this on to all the women in your life.
This information is the kind we need to know and be aware and just might save us!!!!
*The heats causes toxins from the plastic to leak into the water and they have found these toxins in breast tissue. Use a stainless steel canteen or a glass bottle when you can*!
Comments: False. In the United States, plastic bottles of the type used for commercially sold water are regulated by the FDA as "food contact substances" and held to the same safety standards as food additives.
This means, among other things, that the FDA has reviewed test data on the safety of the plastics used in water bottles -- including the potential for hazardous chemicals leaching or "migrating" from the plastic into the water -- and established that they pose no significant risk to human health. The water itself is also tested and must meet basic quality standards similar to those set by the Environmental Protection Agency for public drinking water.
That is not to say that bottled water is absolutely free of contaminants, nor that chemical leaching never takes place. Studies done on water bottled in FDA-approved polyethylene terephthalate (PET), for example, did find trace amounts of potentially hazardous substances believed to have migrated from the plastic. The important point to take away, however, is that these amounts were miniscule and well within the safety limits set by FDA and EPA regulators.
According to Dr. Rolf Halden of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, consumers face a much greater risk from potential exposure to microbial contaminants in bottled water -- germs, to you and me -- than from chemical ones. For that reason, most experts suggest not refilling or reusing empty bottles.
It should also be noted that the plastics used in the manufacturer of reusable water bottles vary in composition and quality and may be more susceptible to chemical leaching.
Note on Sheryl Crow: Another version of this message contains the additional claim that pop singer Sheryl Crow announced during a 2006 appearance on the Ellen Degeneres TV show that she got breast cancer as a result of drinking bottled water. While it is true that she discussed her bout with cancer on that show and, among other things, cautioned viewers against drinking water from heated plastic bottles, my understanding is that she did not directly attribute her own cancer to that cause. She issued a similar warning in a statement published on her website on September 1, 2006 but, again, did not specifically claim that bottled water was the cause of her own illness.
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Sources and further reading:
Bottled Water Regulation and the FDA Food Safety Magazine, August-September 2002
To Reuse or Not to Reuse Plastic Bottles: Is There a Question? Research News You Can Use, Univ. of Florida, 2004
Migration of Organic Components from PET Bottles to Water Swiss Federal Laboratories, 20 June 2003
FAQ: The Safety of Plastic Beverage Bottles PlasticsInfo.org (American Chemistry Council)
Does Freezing / Microwaving Plastic Containers Release Dioxin? Netlore Archive, 12 December 2005
Microwave Ovens, Plastic Wrap, and Dioxin Netlore Archive, 5 November 2004
Researcher Dispels Myth of Dioxins and Plastic Water Bottles Johns Hopkins Public Health News Center, 24 June 2004
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This is how Sheryl Crow got breast cancer. She was on the Ellen show and said this same exact thing. This has been identified as the most common cause of the high levels in breast cancer.
The Doctor told her: women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.
He said that the heat and the plastic of the bottle have certain chemicals that can lead to breast cancer . So please be careful and do not drink bottled water that has been left in a car, and, pass this on to all the women in your life. This information is the kind we need to know and be aware of ,that just might save us! The heat causes toxins from the plastic to leak into the water and they have found these toxins in breast tissue. Use a stain less steel Canteen or a glass bottle when you can!
Spark People Store sells a wonderful Stainless Steel Bottle for water.
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