Health Care IT

Why plastic bottles could be bad for your health

Could you be doing yourself more harm than good by reheating last night's leftovers in a plastic container?

Experts are meeting in Brussels Wednesday to debate whether some materials – such as clingfilm and even toothpaste -- could be dangerous, thanks to certain chemicals used in their manufacture.

It's the "endocrine-disrupting chemicals" we should be worried about, campaign groups and some scientists argue. These pose a risk to the normal functioning of our endocrine systems – a system which helps produce natural hormones in our bodies.

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Roderick Chen | All Canada Photos | Getty Images

Scientists from around the globe hope to work how big a threat these chemicals pose – and whether we all need to change the way we store, heat and consume our food at a conference Wednesday in Brussels.

The conference comes almost two years after the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Environment Programme released their findings on EDCs.

The findings acted as a catalyst for scientists worldwide to continue the research, as an increasing amount of "communities across the globe are being exposed to EDCs", wrote Dr Maria Neira, WHO's Director for Public Health and Environment in response to the 2013 report's findings.

The WHO report revealed that EDCs were linked to many illnesses and affected children's nervous and male and female reproductive systems. Furthermore, WHO's report on EDCs suggested that individuals' can be susceptible through 'ingestion of food, dust and water, inhalation of gases' air particles and skin contact.

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A study by not-for-profit organisation Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) released earlier this year, suggests that hormone-related diseases that may be caused by EDC exposure could be costing the European Union up to 31 billion euros every year.

The conference will discuss the relationship and interaction EDCs have with people, highlighting whether EDCs must be banned from everyday plastics.

In terms of reducing your exposure to these chemicals, campaigners such as the EDC Free Europe recommend reducing your use of products which contain chemicals linked to EDC and eat foods that don't contain pesticides.

A publicly operated union, World Public Union also points out that plastic bottles with a triangular recycling code of 3, 6 and 7 are less safe, having been linked to hormone disruption.

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However, it may not be time to panic just yet.

Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology at Imperial College London, Alan Boobis, told CNBC in an email that he chooses not to avoid products suspected of containing EDCs as there is "a lack of direct evidence demonstrating a link between exposure to EDCs and harmful effects in humans".

Effects of EDCs are "dose-dependent and human exposure is generally much lower than a level that would be expected to produce any effect", he added.