It’s not easy being green

artichoke

Last year I was killing myself lugging home cases of disposable plastic bottles full of water until I realized how stupid it was to pay for water, and then to have to haul it in and out of the car and the house…for god sakes…I felt like a pack mule. Plus there’s the huge environmental issues surrounding disposable water bottles…their carbon footprint, the burden on landfills, and the questionable ethics of corporations buying water from States suffering record droughts. Polycarbonate plastic bottles like the ones Nalgene makes seemed like a good, sturdy solution. I bought 8 one liter bottles and a filter for the kitchen tap and we never looked back. Until this week, when I found this item in the Science section of the NY Times:

Are toxic plastics lurking in your kitchen?

The substance is bisphenol-a, or BPA, widely used in the making of the hard, clear and nearly unbreakable plastic called polycarbonate. Studies and tests show that trace amounts of BPA are leaching from polycarbonate containers into foods and liquids.

While most of the focus is on products for children, including clear plastic bottles and canned infant formula, the chemical is also used in food-storage containers, some clear plastic pitchers used for filtered water, refillable water bottles and the lining of soft-drink and food cans.

While there is debate about how much of a health worry BPA really is, retailers including Wal-Mart have said they are withdrawing baby products made with it. Nalgene, the maker of a popular sports bottle, and the baby-products maker Playtex have announced they will stop using it.

Apparently lab studies showed that rat pups exposed to BPA, through injection or food, showed changes in mammary and prostate tissue that suggests a potential cancer risk. Additionally BPA exposure appeared to accelerate puberty in female mice.

Our wise and honorable (cough) government says there is nothing to worry about here folks, nothing to see, keep moving…but honestly I just don’t trust them. However, the Canadian government has decided to list BPA as a toxic substance under the country’s environmental protection act. Our polycarbonate bottles went through the dishwasher at least 4 times a week and those hot temps and detergent could accelerate any leaching of BPAs. We eat organic, we stay away from crap food, we filter the water…we can’t use bottles that might create a potential cancer risk…yikes.

So I put them all in the recycling bin and I picked up 3 stainless steel bottles at the food co-op,those will work for on the go and the rest will be replaced with re-used glass bottles from wine, lemonades, and fuzzy fruit drinks.

What do you think about this? Did I overreact?

(Are you asking yourself “what’s with the artichoke?” It’s green, it was cooked in water, and it was easy…so in it’s own intrinsic way, it relates.)