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Plastics are one of the greatest innovations made in the modern industrial world. They make our lives easier. Plastics are used in hospitals to keep people alive. They’re used in a lot of our technology including phones, computers and video game devices. Plastic also provides containers to hold and transport food. It’s hard to imagine a life without plastics. But could this very material that makes our lives easier actually be harming us and our unborn children? The answer is yes.

Plastics are purely synthetic, meaning they are not found in nature. Two ingredients found in plastics are phthlates and bisphenol A (BPA). Here’s the lowdown on these substances from Reuters:

Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) have been used for decades to make plastic soft and flexible. Products made with phthalates include toys, teethers, pacifiers, cosmetics, perfume, personal-care products, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food packaging, and cleaning and building materials. Studies of laboratory animals show a group of effects in males known as “the phthalate syndrome,” according to the panel. This includes infertility, decreased sperm count, undescended testes and malformation of the penis in which the urethra does not open at the tip of the organ. Animal studies also have linked phthalate exposure to liver cancer.

Bisphenol A has been used for decades to harden plastics.It is found in many food and beverage containers including some baby bottles, the coating of food cans and some medical devices. It mimics the hormone estrogen in the body. U.S. government toxicologists concluded based on animal studies that BPA presents concern for harmful effects on development of the prostate and brain and for behavioral changes in fetuses, infants and children.

Now that you know what’s really in that plastic water bottle you drink out of, (whether it’s a soft one or a hard one) you can make more informed decisions on what materials and products you and your family uses.

Some of the best plastic bottle alternatives are SIGG‘s reusable aluminum bottles. These bottles are free of toxic chemicals and provide a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option that produces less waste.

If you’re interested in more of SIGG’s phthalate-free and BPA-free products, check out this great guide to SIGG aluminum bottles on HelloBeautiful.com.

Here’s a gallery of SIGG’s wide variety of cute designs for your kids: