Plastic Water Bottles: Healthy Alternatives

by in American Sickcare System, Estrogen, Kitchen Sink, Water April 21, 2008


Thanks to the latest news, pretty much everyone knows that drinking out of plastic water bottles is bad because of the BPA and potential for other contaminants.

So what are the alternatives to plastic water bottles?

Until someone invents an environmentally friendly “force field” to contain our beverages we will need to stick with glass and stainless steel such as what is offered by Klean Kanteen.  These bottles are certified to be safe without any chemical coatingg.

However, as a biochemist and long time “jar drinker” this just further supports my theory that we all need to get as much plastic out of our kitchens as possible.

Plastic is the latest EVIL VILLAIN of Dr. Nicole for upsetting the hormonal balance of all of her patients!

Especially cooking with plastic. Please only cook in glass, cast iron, or stainless steel.

Do not use teflon or any other “new” man-made products. The “new” thing today will inevitably be the banned thing tomorrow.

Nature is perfect. Man is not.

You would think that someone like me with such a love for chemistry would be a friend of chemicals…but you would be wrong. I view all man made chemicals as potential poisons, threats to our health, and threats to our environment.

Perhaps I was just irreversibly scarred as a child by Lily Tomlin’s performance in “The Incredibly Shrinking Woman” that resulted from the compilation of all the chemicals in her diet and personal care products. But it sure did get me thinking…

Most of the MD’s I worked with at Virginia Mason Medical Center quickly learned that my thinking was much more conservative than theirs. I don’t care what the latest studies say telling me that some chemical is safe. First of all…who paid for that study? Most often it is the company that made the product. Second of all, I like products that have passed the test of time, that are natural, and that intuitively just make sense to me. Third of all, the more money a product makes the longer it will be kept out on shelves as money can buy “research” that shows that it is safe.

*Dr. Nicole looks around in paranoia worried that she may be “offed” for her thoughts on the conspiracy theory scandals that run rampant in Biochemical Land.*

Frankly, plastic has never made sense to me.

Whenever a chemical we commonly use becomes re-called it just reminds me how skeptical to be of all chemicals. I know that God gave us livers and cytochrome p450 systems to filter out toxins, but why burden the liver anymore in an already polluted environment? From my biochemistry background I know first hand how easily chemical reactions can go backwards and forwards and backwards again. Sometimes they even go sideways or in full circles. The metabolites and products that are off shooted along the way may have a different physiological impact than their inert cousins. Who knows what is all somersaulting around in our systems?

Now which chemical were we testing again to ensure that it was “safe”? The original, the end product, or the millions of potential metabolites along the way?

The more I learn about chemicals in the environment, the I more I understand about biochemistry and human physiology… the more I think that perhaps the Amish have it completely right. Maybe it is time for me to pack up my covered wagon and head to Pennsylvania to make quilts by the light of some beeswax candles.

Well we can’t all pack up and join the Amish, and since I highly doubt they will let me bring my laptop, what are the more practical solutions?

Today’s tip is to take a look at our kitchens and start to figure out how to get as much plastic and teflon out as possible. This is especially important for those that are pregnant, have small children, have hormonal issues (plastic is thought to mimic estrogen), have cancer, autoimmunity, or other chronic disease. Getting your kitchen green is a wonderful gift to the whole family.

Children should also have these stainless steel bottles for school lunches because glass is just not a practical option for them.

Take home message: Do NOT microwave in plastic…and heaven forbid DO NOT microwave plastic baby bottles! Purchase stainless steel drinking containers such as Klean Kanteen or drink out of recycled glass juice jars whenever possible.

Happy Water Drinking People!

Dr. Nicole Sundene

  1. Good timing on this, the day before earth day! Not only is plastic bad for our bodies, but bad for the environment. The amount of plastic bottles littering our oceans is staggering. I just read an article a few days ago that caused me to get up and immediately throw out all of our reusabel plastic bottles. Of course I have guilt that now they’re ending up in a ladfill somewhere, but I just needed my family to stop drinking out of them. Had I known this years ago, I would have used glass baby bottles as well! Yes the stainless steel bottles seem expensive, but I know if I were to add up how much we spend on cases of bottled water, the stainless steel bottles will pay for themselves pretty quick.

  2. So true so true! Now if I could just get all the parents out there to stop buying juice for their kids and just give them water in their lunches…then those stainless steel containers would REALLY pay for themselves…

    Juice=High fructose corn syrup=EVIL…Ha! A new villain to add to my list!

  3. we can’t face the industry or stop the evolution so the plastic problem will stays on hold till there is something better and cost the same [ i doubt that ] .
    yet we can’t ignore the nature or the side effects . so we can solve this issue not as society but just citizens . each one alone can make it a little bit better ,
    but if all men tried in one move to save the nature .. guess that would lead at the end to some bad results .

  4. Ameo- that is very true. Plastic is not going anywhere anytime soon. But it certainly doesn’t need to be going inside of us!

  5. Hi Dr. Nicole,

    You’re killing me…..I’m going to get waaaayyy too healthy.
    I have heard many times how we shouldn’t microwave in plastic, and I’ve stopped doing that, but now we shouldn’t drink out of plastic bottles, or use plastic in our kitchen either?
    And I was just headed to the kitchen to heat up the leftovers from last night’s dinner that I have stored in plastic Rubbermaid containers.
    Get rid of those too?

    What’s your thought on plastic wrap? Is foil better?


  6. very interesting article. I’ve previously been told that plastic ain’t good for health. Yet when I shop for household products in shops in Singapore, none of the employees know about this matter! They even promote their plastic household products, such as water boiler etc made of plastic. Well, it is true that it is so cheap that people tend to prefer plastic stuffs rather than stainless steel ones. ironic eh?

  7. Hi Barbara- Instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything all at once, just do things in steps. So not microwaving in plastic is the best first step. Definitely don’t microwave with saran wrap!

    Freezing and heating plastic will effect it’s structure and cause a breakdown in it more than just storing something at room temperature.

    I use rubbermaids glass containers with plastic lids. They are a little more expensive but they are great for taking to work for heating up your lunch. Just take the plastic lid off and cover with a paper towel instead. Start with the plastic containers and plastic wrap and then go from there….

  8. Shytjan- so very true. And you get what you pay for! Sheesh and I thought America was behind the times…I’m sure all of our plastics will now just get shipped out to third world countriet. Oy vei

  9. Plastic – – does this mean I cannot eat those swedish fish anymore? No – No – No – just kidding – great article and great timing. I like some of those ideas – move over Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson) –


  10. Hi Benny- Well we can’t suck all the joy out of life. A swedish fish or two here and there is not a bad thing. Just don’t eat the plastic wrapper!

  11. Erin Happycamper April 25, 2008 at 4:21 pm Reply

    Wow! I had no idea. Thanks for the FYI!

  12. Glad to inform Erin! I’m surprised you haven’t seen it all over the news though. But as a busy student it is easy to fall behind on the latest…

  13. I always wondered about plastic water bottles, even microwaving
    using plastic and this blog just reassured me it’s not safe.
    I’m glad I stopped by, love the tips.

  14. Thanks Jeunelle! Gotta trust your gut sometimes with this stuff, and this is proof positive for this theory, I always felt weird about microwaving with plastic too. Now if I can just get rid of my microwave like all my colleagues keep insisting I do… *sigh*

  15. oh wow I always drink in plastic bottles now I know I shouldn’t well ok maybe I can purchase on of those stainless bottles instead and get rid of all the plastic bottle am keeping

    thanks for this post

  16. […] might complain about BPA in our plastic water bottles, chlorine and aresenic in municipal supplies, and our water maybe isn’t as clean or great as it […]

  17. […] are heroically battling the plastics in their kitchens, avoiding the evil enemies of the kitchen table, trying to eat whole foods, learning to eat less […]

  18. […] tap water (which I always recommend filling up your own recycled glass bottles instead of drinking bottled water). And of course you can filter your shower water which you should do because one shower equals the […]

  19. yet not all plastics are the same .. only the BPA sort are harmful and so one alternative is to use PET plastics. PET bottles, marked by the #1 recycling symbol, are recyclable. There are numerous reports that plastics #3, #6, and #7 leach unhealthful substances into drinks.

    So here are a few facts to help clear the confusion…

    Plastic #3 (PVC) leaches phthalates which have been shown to cause developmental and reproductive damage.

    Plastic #6 (polystyrene) leaches styrene which can cause nervous system effects and liver damage.

    Polycarbonate, one type of plastic #7 (other assorted types) from which the clear, brightly colored bottles are sometimes made, has been shown to leach Bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that mimics estrogen.

    Plastic #7 (polycarbonate only) is controversial. Two groups of technical experts studied it and came to differing conclusions. They agreed that BPA leaches into drinks at low levels, but one group said the levels were too low to cause any concern, and one group said that the levels were significant to human health.

    Polycarbonate has been banned by the Canadian government and is being re-reviewed by the USEPA.

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