Are Plastic Water Bottles Causing you to Gain Weight and Contribute to Diabetes & Cancer?

by Catherine Ebeling & Mike Geary
co-author of the best-sellers:  The Fat Burning KitchenThe Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging &

Surrounded by a sea of plastic and hormone-disrupting chemicals that includes plastic water bottles, plastic soda bottles, plastic bags, plastic food containers, soaps, shampoos, food packaging and pans treated with nonstick coatings, studies are showing definite connections between plastic compounds and serious diseases like diabetes and obesity. Not only that, but more and more evidence is also pointing to other serious health issues such as infertility, hormone-related reproductive cancers, neurological issues and other disorders.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) also referred to as “Xenoestrogens” or synthetic estrogens, cause serious health problems because they mimic estrogen among other hormones. By hijacking important chemical messengers in the body, EDC’s actually can change the way cells develop and grow. These chemicals are showing up in men, women, breastfeeding mothers and babies.

Xenoestrogens actually amplify the effect of estrogen in the body. These toxic hormones actually can build up over time, creating an overload of estrogen. Individuals with any kind of estrogen dominance health condition (such as breast or ovarian cancer) should be especially careful to avoid xenoestrogens. And this is especially harmful to men.

Xenoestrogens have been linked to feminization in men (man boobs, loss of testosterone, low sperm counts, etc.), infertility, and unnaturally early puberty in girls. This buildup of synthetic female hormones increases the risk of reproductive cancer as well.

Exposure of lab species and wild animals to xenoestrogens has been found to cause abnormalities in the reproductive systems of these animals. Xenoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors in both animals and humans including: reproductive tissue, body fat, the hypothalamus, and pituitary glands. And, studies in mice show that xenoestrogens can cause progressive degeneration of testicular tissue and sexual dysfunction in both sexes.


According to Andrea C. Gore, Professor of Pharmacology at University of Texas, and chair of a task force on hormone disrupting chemicals, “The evidence is more definitive than ever—EDC’s disrupt hormones in a manner that harms human health. Hundreds of studies are pointing to the same conclusion…You may have a healthy meal, but if it’s in a plastic container [or cooked in a nonstick pan], it’s leaching chemicals.”

Based on information from over 1,300 studies, there is strong evidence to show a link between common hormone disrupting chemicals and serious health issues such as:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility/Impotence
  • Hormone-sensitive cancers in women (breast, endometrial, ovarian)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Thyroid problems
  • Poor brain development and brain function in young children
  • Feminization in men: low sperm count, breast development

While there are about 85,000 chemicals known to be in use, it is not known for sure how many of these chemicals actually disrupt hormones, but at least 1,000 are known human toxins.

Some of the known EDCs include bisphenol A (BPA) found in food can linings, cash register receipts; phthalates found in plastics and cosmetics; flame retardant chemicals and various pesticides. The chemicals are so common that nearly every person on Earth has been exposed to at least one or more of these.

And a mother’s exposure to even tiny amounts of EDCs during her pregnancy can trigger obesity in her child. These EDCs can target cells in the pancreas, the liver and the fat cells in the body, leading the way for insulin resistance, and high insulin levels which are direct risk factors for the development of Type 2 diabetes.

When looking at just one of these endocrine disrupting chemicals, it was found that having higher BPA levels was associated with a diabetes rate 50% higher than having lower levels of this harmful chemical!

Two other chemicals, di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), both known as ‘phthalates’, used in plastic food wrap, soaps, cosmetics and food containers have been directly linked to insulin resistance and diabetes in children and adolescents, as well as high blood pressure.

  • These chemicals are not the only offenders. Endocrine disrupting chemicals and xenoestrogens also include:
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S, which are used in some plastics, metal food cans, and cash register receipts
  • Phthalates, a class of chemicals that are used to soften plastic and also used in some perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics
  • Some pesticides, like DDT
  • Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical

These chemicals can act at very low doses.

EDC’s, which include xenoestrogens, can be found in pesticides, plastics, fuels, personal care products preservatives and drugs. Below is a partial list of some of the EDC’s we come into contact with on a daily basis:

• alkylphenols (chemicals used in the manufacture of other chemicals)
• atrazine (a common household weed killer)
• 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (sunscreen lotions)
• 4-hexylresorcinol (color preservative for shrimp and shellfish).
• butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (a very common food preservative)
• bisphenol A (used in plastics including food containers and water bottles)
• DDT (insecticide)
• erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3 (food coloring)
• ethinylestradiol (oral contraceptive pill)
• heptachlor (insecticide)
• nonylphenol and derivatives (surfactants, cleansers, emulsifiers for detergents; pesticides)
• pentachlorophenol (wood preservative)
• polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)
• parabens (skin lotions)
• phenosulfothiazine (red dye)
• phthalates (plasticizers)
• DEHP (plasticizer for PVC/polyvinyl chloride used in pipes and many other applications)
• Propyl gallate (used to protect oils and fats in foods from oxidation)

Many of the EDC’s listed above are contained in processed, packaged foods and in conventionally-grown, non-organic produce as either preservatives and/or pesticides.

Another group of xenoestrogens is found in commercially-raised dairy, meat and eggs. Commercial dairy and egg farmers often feed estrogenic chemicals to milk cows and chickens because it will increase production of milk and eggs. Commercially-raised meat and dairy get a double dose of xenoestrogens from the pesticides they ingest in their feed source as well. This alone makes commercial dairy, eggs and meat major sources of xenoestrogens.

Yes, this list can be mind-boggling and overwhelming. So what are the top ten endocrine disrupting items to avoid? Let’s take a look at this list Dr. Joseph Mercola recently published:

1. Pthlatates in personal care products
2. Tap water AND individual plastic water bottles
3. Canned foods
4. Conventionally grown produce
5. Conventionally raised meat, poultry and dairy
6. Fish containing mercury
7. Kitchen products—nonstick cookware, plastic storage containers
8. Cleaning products
9. Office products—printer’s ink and toner
10. Cash register receipts

Yes, we are surrounded by these chemicals in every aspect of our lives, and they are hard to avoid. Here are some ways to minimize your exposure EDC’s and xenoestrogens:

• Avoid all synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides by eating organic whenever possible, especially the “dirty dozen*” of the highest sprayed produce.
• Avoid using pesticides and herbicides outdoors, especially on your lawn.
• Avoid all plastic containers, especially individual sized water bottles, and plastic food containers. Do not store hot food in plastic. Use glass whenever possible.
• Avoid microwaving in plastic and avoid using plastic wrap.
• Avoid using nail polish, avoid acrylic nails and nail polish remover
• Avoid lotions, hair products and cosmetics that are not “all-natural”. Especially avoid products containing parabens. Unfortunately, the more inexpensive brands usually have the most toxic ingredients.

• Eat only organic, grass fed meats and wild caught fatty fish as much as possible. Consume only organic dairy products.
• Use organic, natural soaps and toothpastes.
• Use natural household cleaners.
• Use only naturally based perfume or essential oils. Most commercial perfumes are full of petrochemicals and preservatives containing xenoestrogens.
• Use naturally based, non-petroleum based laundry detergents and dish detergents.

A healthy diet rich in certain foods is also a key way to avoid and combat these estrogenic compounds in our environment. Specific components of these foods help to block uptake and absorption of xenoestrogens as well and cleanse the body of any excess that may be stored. Eating a whole foods based diet, high in plant-based organic foods will help to keep your system clean. Follow a Paleo-style, unprocessed foods diet, like the Fat Burning Kitchen diet will also help you avoid these dangerous chemicals.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, and cabbage are estrogen inhibiting and prevent these artificial hormones from being absorbed into our system. Onions and garlic contain quercetin that is also anti-estrogenic, immune enhancing and detoxifying.

Omega 3 fats such as those in grass fed meats and wild caught fatty fish are also essential as a safeguard against xenoestrogens. Omega 3 fats have been found to be highly beneficial in estrogen balance and metabolism.

Other helpful foods included green tea, citrus fruits, organic (full fat) dairy such as grass fed butter and raw grass fed cheeses, raw nuts and seeds, avocados and organic virgin olive oil. Eating organic greens, herbs and organic fruit also adds to the antioxidant potential in the body further protecting and enhancing the body’s natural balance.

*The Environmental Working Group publishes yearly a “Dirty Dozen “list of top endocrine disrupters, and a “Dirty Dozen” list of the produce with the highest pesticides and preservatives. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database lists brands that are free of most must-avoid ingredients and Care2 has compiled a list of non-toxic nail polishes. PETA also features a comprehensive index of beauty brands that do not test on animals.

Beware that not all water filters are created equally.  Some leave dangerous contaminants lingering in your water, making it unsafe to drink.  Click here to see my favorite water filter

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The Endocrine Society. “Chemical exposure linked to rising diabetes, obesity risk: Endocrine Society releases scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2015.
Ori Hofmekler, “The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, How Estrogenic Foods and Chemicals Are Making You Fat And Sick”, North Atlantic Books, 2007.
Joseph Mercola, “10 Common Sources of Endocrine Disrupters and How to Avoid Them”, July 2015.
Joseph Mercola, “12 Food Additives to Remove From Your Diet’,
July 2009.
Quinn Phillips, Diabetes from Plastic?, November 8, 2011. Diabetes Self Management.
Chemical Exposure linked to Rising Diabetes Risk, Science Daily, September 2015.
Elizabeth Smith, MD, “Xenoestrogens interfere with Normal Hormones.”, Chemicals used in plastics linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes in children and adolescents. July 9, 2015.

About The Watchdog

Mike Geary has been a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for over 15 years now. He has been studying nutrition and exercise for almost 25 years, ever since being a young teenager. Mike is originally from Pennsylvania, but has fallen in love with mountain life and now resides in the picturesque mountains of Utah. Mike is an avid adventurist and when he’s not spending his time skiing, mountain biking, hiking, or paddleboarding on the lake, he has enjoyed skydiving, whitewater rafting, piloting an Italian fighter plane (seriously), scuba diving, heli-skiing, and traveling all around the world, enjoying learning about different cultures. At the age of 40, Mike now feels healthier, stronger, and more energetic than when he was 20... All because of a healthy lifestyle and great nutrition!

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  1. wow..everything we use and consume is killing us all slowly..chemicals in everything..big corp. at their lowest..

  2. How about the BPA free blender bottles that come with your SuperGreens powders, and those sold at Organic stores like Good Earth? Are these also some of the plastic bottles you are referring to?

  3. Around here drinking tap water is not a good idea. RO drinking water in giant bottles is what people drink, it is short of minerals. Usually made of tap water. Getting magnesium and calcium can be a problem. Good mineral water comes only in plastic bottles. Water is not the only issue here, air is quite polluted several months every year, AQI was around 250.

    • There are several mineral waters, which come in glass bottles, may not find them in grocery stores. Gerolsteiner has one of the ithe st amount of magnesium and other minerals. Getting a good water filtering/treatment system for tap water is another option.

  4. I encourage all my friends to take a few minutes to read this.

  5. Good article, ty! I would be interested in additional follow up / a deep dive on a few things in here. The #1 thing would be… how to acquire, store, and transport good quality water. Almost every health program out there says likely we are not drinking enough water, and this is an easy thing to fix and improve upon. However, when thinking about this article, it does not seem so easy!

    #2 says tap water *and* plastic bottles. For brevity, I will just say that from personal experience I fully endorse the idea that tap water is not good to drink, without going into the whole side story. But if we also take out plastic water bottles, what else is there? I have been struggling with this for a while to try and solve on my own. I don’t own a house (I rent) so a whole house filtration system is out of the question, and anyway I’m not going to get in the business of dragging gallons and gallons of water to work (where frankly I spend more of my time) that I have filtered or boiled at home! The water has to be somewhat convenient for me to get. My process has been lately to start my day with one 20 oz. bottle of Poland Spring water at the gym, and refill it using the work-provided Belmont Springs (which is encased in plastic) or tap filtered water. Sometimes I start my day with one of these instead ( because I also am mixing in a supplement, but guess what? The water I fill it with initially comes from a larger store bought plastic water jug that’s been sitting somewhere in my kitchen. And, although BPA-free, those blender bottles are plastic too.

    Given how important water is for overall health, I’d be interested in some tips for products, containers, brands, tactics, filtration systems (if that’s the only way!), etc., to make this “no tap or plastic” more manageable. I completely agree with this article but admit I often just put it out of my mind when I drink out of my plastic bottle because I am just not sure how else to do it. Especially being “on-the-go” and a frequent traveler where water bottles are what I stock up on FIRST when I’m in a hotel room for a week, so I have clean water! I can pour my water into a glass when I’m ready to drink it, but my guess is the issue here lies with the hours or days or months the water has been sitting in the plastic on a shipping truck or a store shelf BEFORE I choose to pick it up and drink it, and that if it STARTS in plastic, what little I do before using it wouldn’t make much difference.

    I’d also be interested in knowing why the little bottles are worse than large bottles, if that is the case.

    Thanks for reading!!!

    • I have a home filtration system called Kangen water filter system and I am happy with it but it is EXPENSIVE to buy the system. But my health is worth the money. Then I also buy Voss water which comes in plastic and glass bottles so I always get the glass bottles and drink them once and then save the bottles and use them daily to fill up with my Kangen water. I also just bought 2 quart size metal bottles that are insulated and keep your drink cold or hot for 12 hours. I got them (they were $30 each and will last forever) because i have had a couple of my Voss bottles break when out and about.

  6. What is the plan for water buy plastic but larger bottles? buy and filter? Tap water filtered? Drink Fiji for the silicates what do you suggest?

  7. You’ve probably heard that plastic containers can “leach” chemicals into your drinks, foods, etc, and this has potential dangers to your health… but let’s explore in today’s new blog just how bad this really is, and exactly what you should look for…

  8. What if i boil the bottle water . will it make a difference.
    And will it be safe to drink.

    • Viol, boiling the water definitely helps, once it’s cools just make sure to use a glass container to pour the water into.

  9. It’s great to read something that’s both enjoyable and provides pratdagismc solutions.

  10. I live in Mexico, and cannot afford a water purification system. Obviously one does not drink the tap water, although people with their own wells can drink that safely. I get my water in huge plastic bottles. If you want clean drinking water, that is the other way. I don’t see how pouring the water I need daily out of the plastic jug, and into a ceramic or metal drinking container, is going to help.

    • Nancy, have you tried Kangen Water? It’s a portable machine that can attach to any faucet. You can add a customized pre-filitration system to remove the impurities specific to your source water. Watch the videos at and to learn more. I own two of these machines and have traveled all over the U.S. with my machine, as well as the UK, Europe, Australia and the Middle East with them. Also, the parent company of Kangen Water has an office in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

  11. Hello,
    I installed the EWG app and it never has any items in it. Very disappointing app. Can you recommend anything better?

  12. how can I get on your list to get your notifications & newsletter? I can’t find anything on the site/

  13. For years, I used to drink 3 liters of Evian a day. Four years ago, I switched to Kangen Water — which is alkaline, ionized water I make in my home — and it has been LIFE CHANGING FOR ME! Kangen Water is made from a certified medical device from Japan. So I make FRESH water, whether I’m at home or on the road, any time I want. The filter removes all the nasty things, like chlorine, out of my water. Then the machine produces waters in different pHs, varying from 2.5 to 11.5. I drink the 7.0, 8.5, 9.0, 9.5 and (on occasion) the 11.5. I use the 2.5, 6.0 and 11.5 around my house and do not use any of the toxic cleaning products such as 409, Windex, Lysol, laundry detergent, etc. I use the 6.0 Beauty Water on my skin and hair. Also, the 11.5 pH water washes away oil-based pesticides and herbicides from my fruits and vegetables. Washing these soft-skinned foods in city tap water doesn’t get our food clean — and, in fact, it is ADDING chlorine to our food.

    And while my Kangen Water machine has incredible features and has SAVED me a ton of money not having to buy bottled water, housecleaning products, or so-called “fruit wash”, MOST IMPORTANTLY it has has improved my health–dramatically! Prior to Kangen Water, I very sick and was on 8 prescription medications for everything ranging from allergies and asthma, to migraines to fibromyalgia, to hypothyrodism and PCOS (a hormonal imbalance that caused me to be insulin resistant). It took me about a year of being on Kangen Water, but I am prescription-FREE and have been for more than 3 years! Please note: The water did NOT cure me — it hydrated, detoxified my body, and alkalized my cells which brought my body back in balance and my body cured itself. Furthermore, I ALWAYS drink from glass or BPA-free plastic bottles.

    If you want more info about Kangen Water, download the free eBook at or watch this short video: and contact me with questions.

    Good luck everyone! I know it’s hard and can be frustrating to try and stay well in this OVERLY-toxic world — but there are strategies and solutions.

  14. Considering our body is made up of 70 to 80 percent and our joints need to be hydrated to be flexible
    I drink a gallon of distilled water in all glass bottles a day and even though I am 72 years young I can still do a split. The only challenge is there is a lot of bathroom breaks in my day. One very satisfying benefit I am free from wrinkles. If you place a grape and a raisin side by side which one is thoroughly hydrated?
    So I prefer to be thoroughly hydrated and be open and free to enjoy all of the Blessings available every day.

  15. It’s amazing to pay a quick visit this web page
    and reading the views of all colleagues regarding
    this article, while I am also eager of getting familiarity.

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