Chemistry Health and Medicine

Blame the Plastic Water Bottle for Your Growing Waistline

Water Bottle

Obesity may not just be a result of rich food and lack of exercise, your plastic water bottle may just be equally culpable for your growing waist-line.

While it can be a bit difficult to imagine, a recent research conducted by Health Canada brings conclusive evidence in support of the theory that use of plastic bottle does contribute towards accumulation of fat cells in your body.

Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the production of plastics, has serious health hazards. It is a known endocrine disruptor which can lead to various health-related issues such as obesity, migraine, miscarriage, cardiac troubles and even cancer. The concerns over the safety of BPA resulted in the production of BPA-free plastic, which was considered safe to use till recently. Due to the well-known side-effects of BPA, many consumers are inclined towards the products which are labelled as BPA-free. But the new study shows that even the BPA-free products may not be entirely safe when it comes to your health.

The Health Canada study reveals that bisphenol S (BPS), a chemical used as a substitute for the more commonly used bisphenol A (BPA) in the production of BPA-free plastics, is also an endocrine disruptor alike BPA. The researchers successfully demonstrated that BPS exposure can easily trigger the formation of fat cells. From obesity to infertility and cardiac ailments to cancer, BPS can cause more or less the same damage to your health that we normally associate with BPA.

To test the effects of BPS exposure, the scientists used preadipocytes human cells (undifferentiated cells that can develop into fat cells) from the hips, thighs and abdomens of female volunteers. The cells were exposed to various concentrations of BPS over a period of 14 days. For the purpose of comparison, some of the cells were exposed to dexamethasone, because it is known to induce a specific level of fat cell formation and accumulation of lipids.

The researchers found that the exposure to BPS of all concentrations accounted for fat accumulation, but the amount varied based on the concentration of BPS they were exposed to. Both the highest and the smallest concentrations of BPS exhibited the largest accumulation of lipids, while moderate concentrations had a much lesser effect on lipid build-up.

This anomaly was attributed to the ability of endocrine-disrupting chemicals to interfere with the functioning of hormones, even if applied in the smallest of quantities. It implies that even the slightest of BPS can cause changes in the hormone levels and those can subsequently trigger adjustments in several bodily functions including metabolism, heart rate and respiration.

The bottom line is that plastic containers, including those that are labelled as BPA-free, are not the best choice to store your food and drinking water. Switching to glass containers can be a viable alternative for a healthier future.

Study paper has been published in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrinology.