It’s been a long day. You’ve had a couple of classes already, it’s warm out, your brain is fried, and you are walking up the long, grueling hill to your next class. You’re parched. Luckily, you remembered to bring a bottle of water with you to quench just this sort of terrible thirst. You reach into your hot, heat-consuming bag and pull out an unpleasantly warm bottle of Poland Springs or your Nalgene. You drink.
Not quite as satisfying as you might have hoped, am I right? Well, not only was this lukewarm sip of water unpleasant, it was also potentially hazardous. We’ve all heard the arguments for and against polycarbonate water bottles. Most dismiss it as something not even worth their attention; another scam that green advocates have come up with simply to make life harder: They won’t even let you have a nice sip of water now? Well, maybe you should listen to them.
Most polycarbonate contains the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is causing quite a scandal nowadays. Many companies are outright discontinuing their use of it, and many states have at least proposed the idea of doing the same. So what does it do that is so terrible? Well, you name it. The possible health effects are more dangerous for children, but tests have demonstrated that it poses a threat to all.
If by taking a sip of that warm, plastic-y tasting water you knew that you were exposing yourself to the possibilities of breast and prostate cancer, obesity, brain damage, infertility, and diabetes, would you think twice about drinking it? Well, I have certainly decided to think twice.
When my mother and I were college shopping, we made a point of buying me two quite pretty, if I do say so myself, blue stainless steel water bottles. No polycarbonate for me, thank you. If you are worried about the appearance of stainless steel, don’t be. You can buy a pretty one, like I did, or you can mask the fact that it’s stainless steel by covering it with stickers, pictures, or CD covers and no one will ever know the difference.
Note to self: Plastic is so passe.
Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.