Thursday, June 3, 2010

Solar Water Disinfection and the BPA Plastic Panic


A May 31 article in the New Yorker is titled "The Plastic Panic".  It discusses the dangers of Bisphenol A (BPA) and our government's response to plastics. 

Although BPA commonly found in nalgene bottles is a health hazard when heated, I have not seen evidence against consuming water heated in polyethylene terphalate (i.e. PET or coke bottle plastic type 1). For this reason I still promote Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) in used PET or glass bottles. The method was featured in the February National Geographic on Water and is described on by the EAWAG group in Switzerland.

This first study listed in the PET bottle research section of the SODIS website is a recent investigation of SODIS and plasticizers. The study shows that plasticizers in solar disinfected bottles are never more than the amount in newly purchased bottled water.

Is there a health effect? The EAWAG group in Switzerland is still searching. One problem the recent New Yorker article mentions is that there are fewer funded plastic research projects than there are types of plastic that we use on a daily basis. 

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