Hormone-mimics in plastic water bottles -- just the tip of the iceberg?

March 26, 2009

In an analysis1 of commercially available mineral waters, the researchers found evidence of estrogenic compounds leaching out of the plastic packaging into the water. What's more, these chemicals are potent in vivo and result in an increased development of embryos in the New Zealand mud snail. These findings, which show for the first time that substances leaching out of plastic food packaging materials act as functional estrogens, are published in Springer's journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Wagner and Oehlmann looked at whether the migration of substances from packaging material into foodstuffs contributes to human exposure to man-made hormones. They analyzed 20 brands of mineral water available in Germany - nine bottled in glass, nine bottled in and two bottled in composite packaging (paperboard boxes coated with an inner plastic film). The researchers took water samples from the bottles and tested them for the presence of in vitro. They then carried out a reproduction test with the New Zealand to determine the source and potency of the .

They detected estrogen contamination in 60% of the samples (12 of the 20 brands) analyzed. in glass bottles were less estrogenic than waters in . Specifically, 33% of all mineral waters bottled in glass compared with 78% of waters in plastic bottles and both waters bottled in composite packaging showed significant .

By breeding the New Zealand mud snail in both plastic and glass water bottles, the researchers found more than double the number of embryos in plastic bottles compared with glass bottles. Taken together, these results demonstrate widespread contamination of mineral water with potent man-made estrogens that partly originate from compounds leaching out of the material.

The authors conclude: "We must have identified just the tip of the iceberg in that plastic packaging may be a major source of xenohormone* contamination of many other edibles. Our findings provide an insight into the potential exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals due to unexpected sources of contamination."

More information: Wagner M & Oehlmann J (2009). Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: total estrogenic burden and migration from plastic bottles. Environ Sci Pollut Res; [10.1007/s11356-009-0107-7]

Source: Springer

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not rated yet Mar 26, 2009
I bought a countertop water distiller two weeks ago and use it every day. Friends, you would not believe the gunk that is left in the container from distilling just one gallon! At least a teaspoon of the smelliest and foulest looking material is the residue. I have distilled approximately 20 gallons of tap water to drink. When I ruminate over the fact that 20 teaspoons of that "gunk" would have otherwise been in my body...well, it makes me shudder. I also distilled one gallon of so-called pure "drinking water" from a well-known brand. There was even more sludge left after the distillation was complete, plus additional brown blotches. There is something really, really wrong with what is being delivered to us as drinkable water.
not rated yet Mar 26, 2009
This research is a rehash of studies at least 5 years old. I taught this in my classes five years ago. The FDA is in the pocket of the chemical industry.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2009
I bought a countertop water distiller


the gunk that is left in the container from distilling just one gallon! At least a teaspoon


I also distilled one gallon of so-called pure "drinking water" from a well-known brand. There was even more sludge left


1. Have you heard of water poisoning?

Pure water might kill you!

2. Have you tried to distillate the water second time?

Do not drink it because it might be too pure to be healthy, but try it to see if there will be the same leftover the second time.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2009
As silly as Vlaserv's comment sounds, it holds some truth. You shouldn't be drinking distilled water because it has no minerals (that "gunk") in it. Distilled water is "hypotonic" to your cells, meaning the mineral concentration is significantly lower than that of the fluid in your cells. Drinking too much distilled water at any one time can seriously mess up your body's osmolarity.
not rated yet Mar 27, 2009
That it will. It's also really funny that an ad for Fiji bottled drinking water shows up right under the article for me, while the article purports the presence of xenohormones from plastic bottles.
not rated yet Mar 28, 2009
I know a lot of people who only drink Coke, so they need not worry about this water quality issue :D
not rated yet May 04, 2009
Stop drinking liquids out of plastic!! Bisphenol A, the endocrine disrupter mentioned above, is dangerous and has been shown to leach more readily when exposed to heat and excess scrubbing. Switch to glass drinking bottle. If you want a great glass water bottle then go to http://livinglavi...ore.aspx . It is Italian styling with an elegant etch. Glass is non reactive and so probably the safest drinking vessel.

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