Monday, 30 March 2009

Plastic containers could contaminate drinking water

Potent, man-made hormones could be leaching out of plastic water bottles into bottled drinking water, German researchers have found.

In an analysis of 20 brands of mineral water available in Germany, researchers from the Goethe University detected estrogen contamination in 60 percent of the samples.

Estrogen functions as the primary female sex hormone. In humans, it promotes the formation of breasts and is used in some oral contraceptives.

The researchers tested the extent and effect of estrogen contamination by breeding New Zealand mud snails in both plastic and glass water bottles.

Mud snails in plastic bottles were found to produce more than double the number of embryos of those in glass bottles.

Specifically, one third of the glass bottled samples showed what researchers called 'significant hormonal activity', compared with nearly 80 percent of water in plastic bottles.

More information is available from Martin Wagner and Jörg Oehlmann's online journal article.

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