Sep 24, 2014 11:10 PM EDT
In the hot summer sun, we have all been known to leave our water bottles in the car, only to come back later and sip the warm H2O that we forgot hours before. And though the water is just the same, it has acquired a strange plastic taste. Well it turns out that the strange notes you taste may in fact cause cancer or have major effects on your children's health.
A new study from the University of Florida published in this month's issue of the journal Environmental Pollution, investigating the warming of Chinese water bottles, reveals that over a prolonged period of time, heavy metals and carcinogens stored in the plastic may in fact pass on to the potable water you later drink.
Made from the synthetic polymer polyethylene terephthalate, when plastic water bottles are heated they have been documented to release heavy metal Antimony and carcinogen Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA. Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that BPA is not a health concern in low levels, some health officials at medical universities like the Mayo Clinic, say that the chemicals can have serious affects on children's health and the development of cancers.
Looking into the worst-case scenario, wherein the bottles were stored at a piping 158 degrees Fahrenheit for four weeks, researchers found that of the sixteen brands investigated, only one reached toxic levels of antimony and BPA. However, lead researcher Lena Ma suggests that more research may reveal that other brands conceal hazardous possibilities.
"If you store the water long enough, there may be cause for concern" Ma says.
With more than 9.1 billion gallons of bottled water drank by Americans alone throughout the year o f the study, Ma suggests that the possibility of danger for such a widespread issue is too prevalent to be ignored. While drinking water from prolonged heat exposure may not be cause for concern in moderation, there are many more possibilities that will alter the direction of their future studies.
"More attention should be given to other drinks packaged with polyethylene terphthalate plastic, such as milk, coffee and acidic juices" Ma says. "We only tested the pure water. If it is acidic juice [etc.], the story may be different."
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