As a hypothyroid patient, you might want to think twice about drinking water out of plastic bottles

As a hypothyroid patient, think you are fine drinking that purely fine mineral water from a plastic bottle? Think that fluoride and chlorine are the only substances we need to worry about when it comes to our thyroid health?? Think again.

Thyroid patient Amy McMullen, who has contributed before on STTM’s blog as a GUEST POSTER (Confessions of a Undercover Thyroid Advocate) and has a passion about human rights, has written another important article below which should be of keen interest to all of you.

BPA—A POWERFUL ENDOCRINE DISRUPTER THAT AFFECTS YOUR THYROID

Perhaps you have read recently about how the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is found to be prevalent in our food and water. As a hypothyroid patient, I was surprised to see that not all articles about this harmful substance adequately describe the connection between thyroid function and BPA. This is an oversight that should be addressed since hypothyroidism is estimated to affect over ten million people in the US and this number is growing. It makes perfect sense to look to environmental toxins as a likely culprit in this serious health epidemic.

BPA is a synthetic estrogen and an endocrine disrupter that causes multiple health problems. There are over 200 studies linking it to breast cancer, obesity, attention deficit disorder, early puberty in girls, genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike, polycystic ovary disease and infertility in women and prostate cancer in men. Studies indicate that up to 92% of Americans have BPA in their urine. Also BPA doesn’t leave the body quickly; fasting adults still had BPA levels in their bodies after 24 hours.

BPA comes from many plastic sources. It’s used as a hardener in plastic manufacturing. Many tin cans have plastic linings that contain BPA including soup and tomatoes, and it’s also in plastic water bottles, some infant formulas and canned juices. BPA is also found in PVC water supply piping.

How does BPA relate to thyroid disease? According to a several good studies, BPA is a thyroid receptor antagonist. This means that BPA will interfere with the binding of the thyroid hormone T3 with cell receptor sites. This will cause hypothyroidism, not only with people with under-functioning thyroids but also for those who are currently taking medications for hypothyroidism or even those who have normally functioning thyroids. BPA was found to accumulate in many organs when injected into rats including the lung, kidneys, thyroid, stomach, heart, spleen, testes, liver, and brain. In this way, BPA has the potential to interfere with thyroid hormones in each organ that has accumulated the substance. A study also indicates that the levels of BPA that are considered safe (upper limit of emission is set to 2.5 ppm [µg/liter], which is more than 90 µM) are high enough to inhibit thyroid hormone receptors. Yet another study shows that BPA appears to accumulate in rat fetuses in significantly high levels and disrupts thyroid function in baby rats.

There’s also evidence that BPA may influence the metabolism of endogenous steroids, which may be a factor in adrenal fatigue and its treatment, as well as and its treatment, as well as dysautonomia stemming from adrenal problems. Many with hypothyroidism also suffer from co-morbid adrenal fatigue and BPA may be a contributing factor in this.

What this means for everyone, but especially for thyroid patients, is every effort should be made to remove BPA from food and water supplies. For those who are not able to get properly optimized on their thyroid meds or who are finding they are suffering from hypothyroid symptoms despite normal levels of TSH, free T3 and free T4, consider BPA as a possible source of the problem.

Steps you can take to minimize you exposure include:

  • Avoid all canned foods with plastic liners and avoid bottled water. Buy your canned tomatoes in glass jars, not metal cans or stick to using fresh ingredients. Most other canned foods use BPA as well, especially green beans (Here is a list of BPA-free canned foods).
  • Drink water out of glass or stainless steel containers (and make sure there’s no plastic liner or lids that have BPA) or BPA-free plastic. Low density polyethylene bike bottles contain BPA.
  • Do not microwave foods in plastics or use plastic wraps when microwaving. Avoid polycarbonate (“PC” or #7 and #3) plastic food containers altogether.
  • Since most municipal water piping is PVC and some houses have it as water supply lines, consider installing a reverse osmosis system for your drinking water. This will also remove fluoride and chlorine (other thyroid disrupters) and many other harmful substances from drinking water.

Most importantly we need to make our voices heard that BPA is not an acceptable substance and that its use in our food and water supply must cease. Recently Senator Feinstein introduced a ban on BPA to the Food Safety Modernization Act but this was modified to remove the ban due to pressure by industry groups. Senator Feinstein still has an effort underway to ban BPA from child drink bottles and toys and several states have enacted such bans but this does not go far enough.

Contact your representatives today and let them know that a national ban on BPA must be enacted. If they don’t listen then I suggest you make yourself heard at the ballot box this November.

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  • Have you cut down on your exposure to Fluoride? Buy non-fluoridated toothpaste as a first step.
  • Cut down on more chemicals by using baking soda under your arms rather than commercially-made underarm deodorants. Note that the baking soda may at first cause redness, but it will go away within days and is a great way to kill odors.
  • Have a pounding heartrate that you can’t explain? You may be making too much RT3.
  • Check out typical Questions and Answers about thyroid treatment and related issues.
  • Want to write a GUEST BLOG POST on STTM? Go here.

6 Responses to “As a hypothyroid patient, you might want to think twice about drinking water out of plastic bottles”

  1. Amy McMullen

    Janie, I’ve found an even better way to eliminate underarm odor than baking soda: Milk of Magnesia! I just dab it under my arms and it’s a guaranteed odor killer. It’s inexpensive and its only ingredient is magnesium, a necessary mineral. I very highly recommend it.

    Reply
  2. oplap

    …Not all plastic bottles that claim to be BPA-free are actually BPA-free. In fact, when plastic baby bottles (claimed by manufacturers to be BPA-free) were tested in Canada, most of them had BPA in it, and the ones that had the most came from a company with the biggest “no-BPA” campaign. Needless to say, it’s wise to use glass and stainless steel.

    If you must drink/eat out of plastic, the most preferrable resin ID code (number within arrows that cycle clockwise to form a rounded triangle often found on the bottom of the plastic container) is 1, the worst ones to drink out of are 3, 6 and 7 (7 could be good, but could be bad, since it’s description is “other” you can’t be sure of what the bottle is made of).

    Reply
  3. frances

    Another thing is i did a little experimenting on my own about bpa. i had intense Fibromyalgia tiny knots in all my muscles all over, nothing seemed to help. My boyfriend would just touch me and it was agony. I read online about bpa and just connected the dots and tried my own experiment took out all plastic glasses(i had been using them for my coffee too) within a month all the tiny knots disapeared. i believe whole heartedly there is a connection

    Reply
  4. Lynn M.

    BPA is also a component of white resin dental fillings, especially the types most popularly used by dentists. So anyone with resin fillings is most likely getting continually exposed to BPA unless they have taken preemptive action to avoid filling materials with BPA in them.

    Reply
  5. Leigh

    In fact, not all cans that claim to be BPA-free are so. I read in a recent online article by Consumer Reports magazine (circa summer 2010) that an Eden organics canned product (beans, I think) actually tested positive for BPA even though their cans are ostensibly BPA-free. I’ve been meaning to email the people at Eden to find out what their thinking is about this odd result.

    Additionally, BPA is not the only plastic product that is problematic. Phthalates I recently learned are a class of plastic additive that are combined with PVC to make the polymer soft and flexible, like a zip-close baggie, or an IV line that connects the drip to the needle. In fact, I think phthalates are even MORE problematic, because they do not acutally bind to the PVC as I believe BPA does, the phthalates are sort of free-floating and leach out of the product even more easily than BPA, which is what has happened when a plastic product loses its elasticity and becomes brittle & disclored.

    A good place to start for more information is the website of the Environmental Working Group. They’re the folks that brought you “The Dirty Dozen,” twelve fruits and vegetables most contaminated with toxic pesticides.

    I remember twenty years ago I first heard the vulgar saying, “don’t shit where you eat”; but, some days now I so despair that I wonder if a big, steaming plate of organic cow manure wouldn’t be a safer treat than most of what we get at the supermarket! (Frown.)

    Reply
  6. Cathy

    Ughhh Seriously, I suffer from hypothyroid and I’m trying to find an alternative to soda. I was going to switch to green tea which I love but then learned that the fluoride level is high and then I thought well I guess I’ll just drink water but theres too much fluoride in it too so then I went to search the fluoride content in bottled water and came across this. Now what am I suppose to drink? -_-

    Reply

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