DEHA Refuted as a Toxic Chemical Ingredient
The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) likewise debunked the scare over DEHA. Investigations regarding the hoax led to a graduate student's thesis at the University of Idaho, which was fed and released to the media. The information spread like wildfire, causing detriments to PET bottle manufacturers and bottled water sellers as consumers became wary about the safety of plastic bottles.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), DEHA is neither classified as a carcinogen nor included in their list of regulated substances. In fact, the chemical compound is not even a raw material used in the manufacture of PET bottles. It is in no way present, not even as a by-product of the said bottles; hence, there is no reason to worry over the plastic’s decomposition. The administration also emphasized that PET bottles have been reviewed and tested as safe and meet the standards required for food contact materials.
DEHA, although a known plasticizer used in the manufacture of plastic items often used as lab equipment, was formerly included in the list of toxic chemicals under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). It turned out, however, that EPCRA had already excluded DEHA in its list even before, owing to the fact that there is no evidence to support its toxicity as a carcinogen.
As a result, members of the media were reminded about the impropriety of using lab test results as bases for news information, especially if said results have not undergone peer reviews.
Nevertheless, the IBWA upholds the concept of using plastic bottles only once; not for carcinogenic reasons, but for matters of hygiene. Mouth contact to the bottle openings can easily transfer bacteria to the water content, which can subsequently contaminate both bottle and water. The contamination will result in bacterial growth in the water being kept in storage.
Nevertheless, some plastic bottles have been verified as detrimental to human health due to the toxicity of their raw material compositions and their capability to leach. Consumers should still be aware that there are certain types of plastic bottles that have contaminating components.