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“Just one word. Are you listening? Plastic,” an enthusiastic Mr. McGuire advises Benjamin in the 1967 movie, The Graduate. A little more than 40 years later, we’re still talking about plastics, although not quite so optimistically.

It turns out that one of the ecological answers to the disposable water bottle problem — the hard plastic, reusable variety — is a chemical that some health officials now label as toxic. The hard plastic used in water bottles, baby cups, and baby bottles contains Bisphenol A (BPA). Studies show that this organic compound acts like the female hormone estrogen, and it has been linked to certain health problems, including infertility and cancer in animals. In addition to the hard plastic bottles, BPA is commonly found in the liners of food cans, dental sealants, CDs and DVDs, as well as other common household goods.

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