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🔬 BPA, Phthalates & Protecting Your Drinking Water

Water Nerds

Photo by Damon Lam / Unsplash

Host: Analies Ross-Dyjak | Head of Policy & Perspectives | Hydroviv
Category: 🔬 Research

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:11] “[BPA] is a chemical that's used in a bunch of consumer goods and also several types of plastics. So that includes […] food containers, cash receipts […] and canned foods. […] BPA is an endocrine disruptor. So it's particularly harmful for pregnant mothers and babies.”

[2:45] “The most shocking thing about BPA is that it's not currently banned at the federal level. So that BPA free push was actually a voluntary thing that these companies decided to do. And it actually benefited them, because they were able to use that as a marketing tool. So the only […] federal action on BPA was from the FDA, Food and Drug Administration. And they banned the BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012. […] Certain states might have, […] acceptable levels or guidance or they might require disclosure if a consumable has BPA in it, they might be required to put it on the label, but that's really it.”

[4:08] “The good news [regarding BPAs and drinking water] is that people are typically exposed to BPA through foods. So when we're talking about BPA and drinking water, […] it's not the biggest route of exposure. So when people are exposed to BPA through drinking water, it's typically because of a landfill that wasn't properly lined or there was some damage to the lining and there's a bunch of different types of plastics in the landfill, and then that would leach into a drinking water supply. That's pretty much the only major exposure route of BPA. […] I will say that one of the downfalls to this is that BPA is not regularly tested. Because it's not regulated in drinking water, there's no reason for municipalities to test for it. And that […] doesn't really give us the whole scope of the problem and drinking water.”

[6:44] “Phthalates are chemicals that are added to PVC pipes […] [and] other types of plastics. Phthalates are actually also in some cosmetics, which is pretty terrifying, wood varnishes, and even some medical supplies. And […] this really comes down to the fact that phthalates were actually very useful, they're a great thing to be added to plastic, they make it valuable. […] That being said, they are, of course, under that umbrella of endocrine disruptors, impacting hormonal functions, reproductive outcomes. And that's kind of the benefit cost analysis […] of phthalates.”

[7:47] “Similar to BPA, people are typically exposed to phthalates through food consumption, if something was wrapped in plastic that contained phthalates or containers. But similar to BPA, [phthalates are] not really widely tested in drinking water. […] And so one of the reasons for this is because there are so many different variations of phthalates in the environment and just being used in consumer products. […] [However] with all of those different variations of phthalates, you might be surprised to learn that only one is regulated in drinking water. So again, we don't really know the entire story with phthalates.”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple (Original Title: "BPA And Phthalates In Drinking Water")
🕰️ 14 min | 🗓️ 05/13/2021
✅ Time saved: 12 min

Additional Links:
TED Talk: The Toxic Baby

Second Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:08] “Lead is a little bit different than other drinking water contaminants, because it's found in pipes, rather than the source water. […] And so it's much, much more difficult to tackle than say, BPA, phthalates, things like that.”

[1:46] “The use of lead pipes was banned in 1986. So you might be thinking, I have […] a new construction, I have a new house, [however] don't assume that just because your apartment building or your home is relatively new, that lead is not a concern. […] Most metropolitan areas still have system wide distribution pipes that are lead, and they deliver water from the treatment facility into people's homes. […] So some of these cities include […] Chicago, LA, Boston and several others that exceed what health experts claim to be safe. And for children, there's no safe level, it's zero, children shouldn't be exposed to any level of lead, it can cause developmental issues and problems with IQ later on in life.”

[3:01] “If you are living in a newer apartment building, what you can do is you can check your city's municipal water quality report, just to see if you know, lead is something that at least the city is talking about acknowledging. And it also […] gives you context as to how well they're testing for it. […] If you live in an older home built before 1986, what you'll want to do is run your drinking water for at least five minutes before […] drinking, cooking, or using baby formula. That just gives the water a chance to kind of get rid of the lead after it's been sitting stagnant overnight over a weekend and then definitely over the course of a couple days if the water hasn't been running. So you can also get a water filter that is NSF certified or third party tested.”

[5:26] “PFAS are also known as forever chemicals, which is terrifying, but it is kind of the reality of this category of chemicals. They are known to cause a handful of health effects, increased risk of cancer, including kidney and testicular, lowered fertility rates, increased cholesterol developmental issues in infants and young children, and then an increased risk of miscarriage. The Yale School of Public Health did a study […] last year in 2020 and they determined that exposure to PFAS can increase your risk of miscarriage by 80 to 120%.

[10:46] “Arsenic is actually a naturally occurring contaminant. It's in groundwater, it's in bedrock. And as that bedrock weathers over time, arsenic leeches out and can get into aquifers and groundwater sources. […] So arsenic can cause a handful of different types of cancer. If you know, or if you are familiar with the Arsenic Belt, which is in New England, that area of the country has some of the highest rates of bladder cancer, and that's been associated with the fact that arsenic is present and that a lot of people are on private wells. So that being said, just because you are on a public water supply, doesn't mean that arsenic can't be present in your drinking water. […] And arsenic can be present in groundwater, which is a really common source of drinking water, especially in the southwestern parts of the United States. […] If you are on a private well, you definitely want to get your well tested for arsenic every year or couple of years because those geological conditions can change.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple (Original Title: "Do's And Don'ts: Protecting Your Drinking Water")
🕰️ 16 min | 🗓️ 05/20/2021
✅ Time saved: 14 min

Additional Links:
Hydroviv Blog