Taste the difference
Wow! Jean Weiss’ Editor’s Note “The Plastics Conundrum” (February 2005) really hit home. I thought I was the only one worried about plastics and was so enthused to read the editorial. The corresponding article “Plastic Planet” in the same issue was great as well.

The widespread production and use of plastic has bothered me for a long time, and I have avoided it whenever possible. Containers in my kitchen for storage and other uses are largely glass and ceramic. Of course, I have a plastic-bag holder for washed bags that can be reused.

About water: For the last 20 years, I have used Mountain Valley Spring Water in the quart-size, green glass jars. The water tastes as if you are drinking from a pristine stream on top of a mountain.

I compared it with the plastic-encased water and definitely noticed a difference in taste. Consumers need to write or call water companies and let them know that we want all water—not just sparkling water—in glass.

—Camilla Gorham, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Analyze this
The February 2005 article “Plastic Planet” by Julie Rothschild Levi lists polycarbonate (PC) plastic as a “potential health hazard.” Water To Go is a leading franchisor selling purified drinking water by the gallon. We supply polycarbonate (recycle triangle #7) to our customers because of overwhelming data that polycarbonates are safe. Bisphenol-A (BPA), a building block used to make polycarbonate products, has been researched and examined for more than 40 years.

A 2004 study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis found no consistent affirmative evidence of low-dose BPA effects. To learn more about this study, please go to www.bisphenol-a.org/whats New/20040903Harvard.html.

—Adriane Russell, Corporate Communication, Water To Go, via e-mail

Thank you for the many comments we received about our article “Plastic Planet” (February 2005). The issue of plastic safety is complex and involves contradictory research. We worked hard to present both sides of the issue in our reporting for this story. At this point, given the research on plastics, we think it is ultimately a personal choice for consumers to decide how conservative they want to be about their plastic use.

Many readers have expressed interest in finding out more about possible health concerns associated with using polycarbonate (PC) plastic (recycle code #7). Because #7 is in the official “other” plastics category, not all containers marked #7 are PC plastic.

As the article’s author, Julie Rothschild Levi, explained (and cited), there is conflicting research on PC’s safety, especially concerning its use for humans. For those using PC plastic, here are some tips that will make your use as safe as possible: Wash new bottles with mild detergent and air-dry. Replace bottles every six months, or whenever they appear worn. Avoid washing bottles in the dishwasher or leaving them in direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Fill with cold water only, not hot water or other liquids.

To read more about ongoing research on this subject, go to www.thegreenguide.com/signup/DeliciousLiving and www.bisphenol-a.org.

—Eds

What’s on your mind?
Send comments and suggestions to Letters, Delicious Living, 1401 Pearl St., Boulder, CO 80302, or e-mail us at deliciousliving@newhope.com. Please include your full name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.