Why don’t they just ban it then?

Water: free, clean and safe - 'let's take back the tap'

One day last summer I was shopping in a camping shop. I find the product I want and go to pay. At the till I am offered a special deal – a half price product from a selected range of items which include a very attractive clear plastic drinks bottle. I express interest in it and the assistant hands it to me. You see, I’m interested in drinking bottles because I  replaced our refillable aluminium water bottles for lightweight stainless steel ones. Why did I do that?

Well, the previous bottles we used, the aluminium ones, are lined with a coating to ‘ensure a fresh, clean taste and no metallic aftertaste’. And the manufacturer of those bottles reassuringly say that the chemicals that make this coating are now ‘non toxic and fully compliant with all EU and FDA regulations.’  Although given the slow rate of legislation I wouldn’t be convinced that means they’re completely safe.

More importantly though the lining of the new bottles don’t contain the chemical BPA or Bisphenol-A. I’ve written about BPA before. It’s widely used in plastics that come into contact with food and is implicated in breast cancer and other diseases. Throughout Europe it is being banned for use in baby bottles, because of concern that the heating of the bottle makes the chemical more harmful. Amongst the campaigners I know there is a general concensus that the baby bottle ban is just the start, and that a total ban on BPA will follow. Continue reading