Bottled up danger

By Emily Pantelides - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

(WFLX) - Are plastic water bottles really a health hazard? Some doctors say they can be in the right conditions.

So you drink part of a bottle of water. Then, you let it sit in the car, in the sun, while you run into a store for a quick errand. Most of us wouldn't think much of it, or maybe you didn't, until an e-mail started going around.

It claims bottle water, left in  a car, can leech chemicals that can lead to breast cancer, and that's how Cheryl Crow got it.

Some people believe it; most don't. "I think sometimes it's overstated. I feel water is water and I'm gonna take the chance," said one person.

But should you?

Dr. Marianne Marchese is a naturopathic physician who focuses on women's health and environmental medicine.

She says chemicals from plastic bottles are linked to breast cancer and other hormonal conditions. In men, decreased sperm counts and prostate cancer, and water bottles aren't the only concern. "Liquid that's in the plastic bottle doesn't really matter. It could be a plastic water bottle, a plastic soda bottle, a plastic juice bottle."

Marchese says plastic contains some toxic chemicals that can act like estrogen and interfere with hormone levels. She also says people who have reproductive problems usually have elevated levels of these chemicals. "We can make a correlation, but we cant say its causing it. Heating causes more leeching from the plastic bottle, but just sitting on the shelf in the store at normal room temperature can cause leeching of these chemicals."

But what about that e-mail going around warning about cancer causing agents leeching into your bottle of water?

The well-known debunking Web site found all the information in the e-mail to be completely false.

The site says the plastic bottle scare is based on a thesis from an Idaho grad student, and it got reported on by the media, dispute its lack of peer review.

Check out the FDA Web site. In 2007 bottled water volume was 8.8 million gallons, and the FDA regulates every drop. And it can't find anything the least bit alarming about plastic bottles and carcinogens on their Web site.

Even the American Cancer Society shoots down any link between bottled water and cancer.

Despite all that Marchee says, she has a stack of research that says differently. "If every single day, we're having a little bit of this chemical. A little bit of that chemical, over time, we build up a lot of chemicals in our body, and that's when we start to see hormonal problems."