Health Chats
The Real Truth About Plastics: What you should and shouldn't worry about
Wednesday Dec 08, 2010, 07:30PM - 08:30PM (EST)
Joe Schwarcz, PhDBlank
Director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society
Are plastic water bottles safe? Should you microwave food in plastic containers? Are baby bottles made with bisphenol A (BPA) safe for your child? Should you have any concerns about buying plastic toys this holiday season? Find out the answer to these questions and more as world-renowned chemist, Joe Schwarcz, PhD, and pediatrician Stacy Stryer, MD, review the latest research in this live health chat. Please join us at 7:30pm ET on Wednesday, December 8, 2010, to ask the experts your questions and learn the facts about plastics safety.
Dr. Stacy Stryer:
Welcome to the Health Chat and thank you to all members and to Dr. Schwarcz for joining us here today!
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
Hi
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
Let me tell you a little about what I do...
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
I direct McGill University's Office for Science and Society with a mandate of demystifying science for the public
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
We do not accept any funding from anyone...our only allegiance is to the scientific method
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
it makes no difference to me whether bisphenol A or any other chemical is banned or not....
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
the only thing that matters is that whatever action is taken is based on proper scientific methodology not on emotion or hearsay
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
Let me start to answer some of your questions...
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
There are many types of plastic bottles...
Dr. Stacy Stryer:
Please feel free to submit your questions or make comments during the chat.
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
the single serving bottles as well as the 2 liter soft drink bottles are made of polyethylene glycol terephthalate (PET)
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
virtually nothing leaches out of these
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
there is absolutely no connection to bisphenol A (BPA)
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
those bottles can be washed and reused...even can be frozen
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
the worst that can happen is that they will crack
kimemeki:
Is it bad to reuse plastic water bottles and soda bottles to drink water or other beverages out of? If so why?
new4me:
Even though something says it can go in the dishwasher, should I?
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
the bottles that can leach BPA are made of polycarbonate (#7)
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
these are the bottles that you buy in camping stores and such to put water in...although many stores no longer sell them...the large 5 gallon jugs atop water coolers are also made of polycarbonate
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
of course the question is whether the trace amounts of BPA that leach out matter
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
my view is that it is most unlikely that they do...
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
you have to remember that every day we are exposed to hundreds of thousands of chemicals..both natural and synthetic
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
coffee aroma has over 1000 compounds!
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
it is most unlikely that a single compound like BPA is the devil incarnate as has been portrayed
phandl:
More and more water distribution districts in California are allowing the use of plastic pipes to deliver water to our homes and institutions.  Is there a health threat considering the long term use of these water flowing containers?
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
the question about water pipes...there are many different kinds of plastic that are used...PVC is the most popular
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
again, in comparison to the compounds that are already dissolved in water, anything that is added by the pipes is trivial..whatever water issues there are...and there are..have nothing to do with teh pipes
stardust53:
My father died from AML+I was diagnosed with it 2 years ago. He worked in the toy trade for 40 years+Ive wondered if any chemicals he might have come into contact with could be the cause for both of us. Many thanks. Helena Stephens UK
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
Nobody knows what causes that devastating motor neuron disease...there is some thought that there is some possible connection to cycad nuts that are consumed in thePacific..which suggests that there may be a "toxin" connection...
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
but there has never been any link to any occupation....
artstinca:
Can freezing a PET beverage bottle cause dioxins to leach into its contents?
Joe Schwarcz, PhD:
That is a common myth that is going around...seems to have been started by Sheryl Crowe's appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show