Toxins from Plastic Drinking Water Bottles

From the previous blog, you would have read that we have recently conducted a laboratory test for one of our new clients. We found a 5-gallon water dispenser that had been employed for years in the office was harboring a bacteria count that was off the charts.  This did not come as a surprise to us but has ignited us even further to help educate companies and the public to be well informed of their consumption habits and to provide all the resources, so they can make the move away from all plastic containing products. 

In line with the above theme is the controversial topic of the toxins that leach out in to the drinking water as a result of being packaged in plastic materials. In order to articulate the above, we need to understand that toxins are defined as unnecessary or harmful compounds to the human body. Obviously not all toxins are created equal, so some have a more harmful effect than others. 

As humans, we come into contact with toxins all day and some of the toxins that have adverse effects on the body include: 

- Heavy Metals 
- Dioxins and PCB compounds 
- Organotin compounds such as PVC
- Microplastics
- Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions
- Radioactive compounds 
- Mycotoxins 
- Carcinogens
- Xenoestrogens which imitate the effect of oestrogen 
- Antinutrients 
- Certain pesticides
- Certain fertilisers 
- Residues of medicinal products 
- Other harmful organic compounds

As you can see, the above list is extensive and most are not relevant to our discussion here. However, where Sprudel can make the biggest difference as a company is to provide education on two of the most relevant water-related toxins: microplastics (we have two blogs on this topic already; one on Primary microplastics and one on Secondary microplastics) and Xenoestrogens which we will provide some insight below. 

Xenoestrogens imitate the effects of Oestrogen in the body. They can be synthetic or naturally-occurring compounds. Typical sources of Xenoestrogens are plastic bottles and containers, hygiene products and cosmetics, Teflon pans, shop receipts and canned food. 

The research in these areas is still at an early stage but the evidence suggests that these Estrogenic mimicking chemicals found in plastic do have negative effects on hormonal rhythms in the human body although there is still more research that needs to be done. We believe that anything that you consume outside of nature, will have negative effects on your health in the long run. Whether that is in 1 or 20 years from now, the evidence suggests that we only know the tip of the iceberg in this field of research. The same was true for cigarettes many years ago before conclusive evidence suggested that cigarettes is in direct correlation with the beginning stages of cancer formation and other illnesses. 

Other consumer products containing Xenoestrogens: 

- Intensively farmed meat 
- Canned food 
- Plastics and plastic cling film 
- Styrofoam cups and containers 
- Pesticides 
- Paints, varnishes and solvents 
- Many hygiene products 
- Phytoestrogens (Estrogens derived from plants) 
- Synthetic fragrances 
- Cosmetics (including hair dyes) 
- Detergents 
- Air fresheners    

We would like to bring your attention to the products that are used everyday when consuming water, i.e. plastic bottles (both handheld and gallons) and in some cases Styrofoam cups at water coolers. The simplest advice we can give is to avoid any type of plastic that comes into contact with your drinking water, as harmful compounds such as BPA or Phthalates may leech into the liquid, especially at higher temperatures. These compounds are present in plastic bottles marked with a recycling number 03 or 07 and have harmful effects on the function of the endocrine system.

So, the best way to store water is in dark glass bottles whenever possible and to understand the exact route that your water takes to get to you and your family. And drinking purified tap water is the easiest and most cost effective way in 2019 to be consuming water in the UAE. As Albert Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” He is correct, plastic is an incredible resource that has made our lives simpler but the costs, when it comes to food and water production, far outweigh the benefits.

References & Additional Reading:

1. Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: total Estrogenic burden and migration from plastic bottles:
2. Biohacker’s Handbook: