Plastic water bottles are harming both the environment and people’s health and should be replaced with refillable glass or metal alternatives, according to Geraint Davies MP who has been campaigning on plastics pollution in Parliament.
Speaking on National Refill Day, Mr Davies said:
“We know that cheap, single-use plastic bottles are choking our rivers and oceans and potentially damaging our health. Many plastic bottles, both disposable and reusable, can leach harmful chemicals as they degrade over time, contaminating the water they contain and raising the risk of reduced fertility, diabetes and cancer, event at very low concentrations.
“That’s why I’m pleased to support National Refill Day and to encourage people in Swansea to switch from plastic bottles to sustainable glass or stainless-steel alternatives.
“Thankfully, more and more cafes and restaurants in Swansea are allowing people to refill their water bottles in store, which is a key step towards reducing plastic pollution. We can all play our part to reduce marine pollution but if we let things continue as they are, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
“I’m pushing for a Plastics Bill that will ensure producers and manufacturers also play their part by taxing hard-to-recycle plastics and ridding our supermarkets of unnecessary plastic packaging.”
Mr Davies presented his Plastics Bill to Parliament last year and the bill is awaiting its Second Reading. Mr Davies has also written to the Chancellor the Exchequer to call for a tax on plastic.
Both disposable and reusable plastic water bottles have been found to leach hormone-disrupting chemicals which have been linked to a range of health problems from diabetes, to reduced fertility, to cancer.
Notes to the Editor
- Re-usable polycarbonate plastic bottles, like sports bottles, typically contain bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting chemical which weakly mimics the hormone oestrogen, which regulates the female reproductive system. BPA and other chemicals can leach from the plastic into the liquid it contains, and this process is facilitated by sunlight and heat.
- A 2018 test of various reusable plastic bottles by the Norwegian Consumer Council found that these products, including Hello Kitty bottles for children, leached bisphenol A, as well as chlorinated paraffins, phthalates and flame retardants into the liquid they contain.
- Single-use bottles, made from PET (like Coke bottles, for example), do not contain BPA. However, there is some evidence that other chemicals, like diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP), do leach from these bottles after time. Several animal studies have shown adverse effects of DEHP on the endocrine system, including by altering the level of testosterone. One study has also shown that recycled PET leaches higher levels of DEHP than virgin PET.
- According to the Endocrine Society, a group of 18,000 scientists from around the world, endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA can cause adverse health effects (reduced fertility, diabetes, obesity, prostate cancer and breast cancer) even at very low doses. As such, even strict exposure limits are often ineffective.