SINGAPORE - Reusable plastic bottles here are generally safe to use, said Singapore's consumer watchdog on Wednesday (Jan 13).
Mystery shoppers from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) bought 20 different brands of reusable plastic water bottles from supermarkets, neighbourhood retail outlets and outdoor shops here. Two samples of each bottle were sent to a laboratory to test for Bisphenol A (BPA), a carbon-based synthetic compound used to make certain plastics, such as polycarbonate and polysulfone.
Eleven bottles carried "BPA-free" claims while nine did not. The bottles ranged in price from $2.50 for a 400ml bottle to $30 for a foldable 1.5l bottle.
The test involved filling the bottles with distilled water and keeping them at a constant temperature of 40 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. The water was then tested for BPA.
According to the test results, the polycarbonate bottle made by Zenxin, a Chinese manufacturer, released 0.08 micrograms (mg) of BPA per millilitre (ml) of water, which is within the EU BPA migration limit of 0.6 mg per ml of test stimulant adopted by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
There have been health concerns related to human exposure to BPA. According to Case, a study by the University of Exeter in England suggested a positive relationship between high urinary BPA levels and heart problems and diabetes in humans.
Past studies on animals also show that very high doses of BPA were likely to affect the liver and kidneys.
Case advises consumers to follow the correct usage and cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer of water bottles.
The water bottles should only be used as recommended in order to reduce the deterioration of the product and the leaching of harmful chemicals. Consumers can also look up product reviews before they buy a water bottle to see if other users are satisfied with the performance and safety of the product.