Dr. Amarjeet Bhatia 15-11-2016 Consult
Rumors have been swirling for years that drinking water left in a hot car is unsafe to drink and can even cause breast cancer. As is the case with many public health scares, it can be difficult to discern whether these rumors are overblown exaggerations, or legitimate causes for concern.
Research has proved that plastic most commonly used in water and soda bottles can release antimony and bisphenol A (the dreaded BPA) if it's exposed to heat over a long period of time. BPA became a popular bogeyman about five years back when scientists discovered that some plastic containers could leach the compound into their contents. There's no question that, on their own, these are particularly nasty substances. Research suggests that BPA could alter hormone levels, cause heart problems, and even increase the risk of cancer. Ingesting antimony can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach ulcers, and some studies have linked it to spontaneous abortion and retinal bleeding.
The current low levels in the plastic have been deemed safe, the researchers for this latest study watched these supposedly harmless levels grow over a four-week period when left in 158-degree heat. Many experts have warned to keep hot or boiling liquids out of packaging containing traces of BPA, due to its reactivity with heat.
Although this extreme heat is a "worst case scenario," drivers can certainly relate to finding a lost water bottle on the floor of the car and quenching their thirst, no matter how long the bottle has lived there. If you're parked in the sun on a hot summer day, the car's internal temperature can reach between 131 and 172 degree Fahrenheit.
Plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate, a material that's used for a lot of food and beverage packaging since it's lightweight, durable, and shatterproof. However, when heated, it is known to release the chemical BPA, which some experts say can affect hormone levels by mimicking estrogen, and may trigger health risks if exposed at high levels.
If you store water long enough, there may be a concern. So if you see a bottle lying forgotten in your car, use it to water your plants- an alternative that's safe and green.