Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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The coronavirus pandemic had added further impetus to the fight against climate change, with governments across the world embracing the green revolution. On a personal level, it can be hard to know how to make a difference but recycling is a crucial lever. Reusable bottles are a small but significant step to saving the oceans. However, some can present hidden health risks.
Plastic bottles are the one’s watch, warned Cheryl Lythgoe, Matron at healthcare body Benenden Health.
“Whilst on the go, we should be ensuring that we stay hydrated and many of us ritually have a reusable plastic bottle as our constant companion.”
However, as she explained, most plastic bottles we use daily are made of polycarbonate plastics.
“Polycarbonate plastics have been manufactured since the 1950s with an industrial chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA),” noted Lythgoe.
“Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food and drinks,” she warned.
According to Lythgoe, the health risks posed by this industrial chemical increase as the contents of the bottles get hotter.
This can affect cell repair, hair growth, energy levels and reproduction, she warned.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the chemical can also affect children’s behaviour.
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“Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” warns the health body.
According to Lythgoe, you can reduce the risks by opting for a different type of reusable bottle.
“Stay hydrated but make sure that hot drinks are from cups made of pottery, glass, or stainless steel and consider using a stainless-steel water bottle for those on the go drinks.”
If you’re concerned about BPA, there are other steps you can take to reduce your exposure.
“Don’t put plastic containers in the microwave or dishwasher, because the heat may break them down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods,” warns the Mayo Clinic.
It is also important to look for products labelled as BPA-free, notes the health body.
You should also cut back on cans and reduce your use of canned foods, it adds.
How does BPA get into the body?
The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet.
“While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure,” explains the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIH).
According to the NIH, the degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container.
“BPA can also be found in breast milk,” it adds.
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