Sunday, March 29, 2009

Drinking Water Contaminated with Potent Estrogen

Here's a scary new report about water contamination. Not free flowing water as you'd get from the tap, but bottled, supposedly super-clean water in plastic bottles.

According to scientists Martin Wagner and Jörg Oehlmann from Goethe University in (Frankfurt, Germany), plastic packaging is not without its downsides. Plastic mineral water bottles contaminate drinking water with estrogenic chemicals. In an analysis of commercially available packaged mineral waters, the researchers found evidence of estrogenic compounds leaching out of the plastic packaging into the water. Their studies have found that these chemicals are potent and, when tested in the embryos of snails, the man-made chemicals enhance the development of the embryos.

This is the first time that scientists have proven that substances leaching out of plastic food packaging materials act as functional estrogens. The work has been published in Springer's journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

This study was to determine whether the migration of substances from packaging material into foodstuffs contributes to human exposure to man-made hormones. They analyzed 20 brands of mineral water available in Germany - nine bottled in glass, nine bottled in plastic and two bottled in composite packaging (paperboard boxes coated with an inner plastic film). The researchers took water samples from the bottles and tested them for the presence of estrogenic chemicals in vitro. They then carried out a reproduction test with snails to determine the source and potency of the estrogens.

By breeding snails in both plastic and glass water bottles, the researchers found more than double the number of embryos in plastic bottles compared with glass bottles. Taken together, these results demonstrate widespread contamination of mineral water with potent man-made estrogens that partly originate from compounds leaching out of the plastic packaging material.

The authors conclude that plastic packaging may be a major source of contamination of many other edibles.


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