plastic in the desert

So it’s not exactly a secret that we at PUNC Bottles are not happy with BPA plastic and pretty much against the whole idea of single use drink bottles. The latter reason is simply the millions of tonnes of landfill created every year for what amounts to our convenience but the former reason bears repeating because it’s just not as well know. BPA is a substance added to the plastic to make it tougher and clearer. If it gets into the body it mimics oestrogen and has been linked to all manner of problems not the least of which are foetal deformities but also cancers, heart disease and it may even exacerbate depression. Any BPA not used up in binding to plastic molecules can can go into our spring water or fizzy drink and end up in our system.

Over the last few years consumer pressure has seen BPA disappear from drinking bottles, baby bottles and sippy-cups. Great. Really. Only the drinks and plastics manufacturers needed a replacement so they used BPS, a close cousin of BPA and one that mimics many of it’s affects. The closest analogy I can think of is the head-shops that sprung up all over Ireland for a short while. They were technically selling legal highs because the stuff they were selling was just a tiny bit different from the illegal drugs they were replacing but just as bad, if not worse, for you.

Now the drinks companies could print ‘BPA FREE!’ on the label without needing to explain the replacement. We don’t know if the manufacturers studied the effects of BPS but independent scientists have. We do know that the industry has sued scientists to shut them up. The courts deciding scientific truth is incredibly dangerous; it means that money trumps the truth at every turn. While the Eastman Company won in court, scientists like Deborah Kurrasch, from the University of Calgary have tightened up their methods and are finding the same disturbing results.

At the moment 81% of Americans have BPS in their bodies. One study in the University of Texas in 2013 showed that even ridiculously low amounts of the substance can damage human cells but because BPS hasn’t been tested as much as BPA and technically it is not put directly into food or drinks, industry gets away with using it. For now.

And it’s not just BPS in plastics; BPA hasn’t gone away. It’s still used in hundreds of products that we handle every day. You know those thermal receipts that most tills use now? They’re coated in it and it’s been found that it leeches straight off the receipt and into your system when you handle them. Retail workers handle hundreds of them every day. It’s used to coat the inside of food cans. Even most metal drinks bottles, because they are aluminium, use it as a lining coat. PUNC doesn’t use either of them. Our raison d’etre is making a true alternative for both health and environmental reasons. Remember it was consumers who got BPA out of many plastics and it will be consumers that pushes industry to honestly clean up their act.

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