New studies reveal that alcohol may be worse for you than you think

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The effects of drinking alcohol have long been studied, but most research tests only the effect of the alcohol itself – not the other elements that might be contained in the alcohol or in the packaging.

A new study has revealed that drinking alcohol could be worse for you than previously thought.

According to Science Daily, beer, wine and spirits could contain potentially harmful levels of toxic elements, such as lead and cadmium in the enamelled decorations.

Researchers from the University of Plymouth analysed the glass and enamelled adornments on a variety of clear and coloured bottles. They found that cadmium, lead and chromium were all present in the glass in concentrations where the environmental and health risks were deemed to be of low significance.

However, cadmium concentrations of up to 20,000 parts per million were found in the decorated elements on a range of spirit, beer and wine bottles, as well as lead concentrations of up to 80,000ppm in the decorations on various wine bottles. The limit for lead in consumer paints is 90ppm.

The toxic elements found in these alcohol bottles can leach from enamelled glass fragments and be hazardous, according to standard US Model Toxins in Packaging Legislation tests.

Other tests have previously shown how paint or enamel on items such as playground equipment, second-hand toys and drinking glasses can expose humans to levels of toxic substances that are potentially harmful.

“It has always been a surprise to see such high levels of toxic elements in the products we use on a daily basis,” said researcher Dr Andrew Turner. “This is just another example of that, and further evidence of harmful elements being unnecessarily used where there are alternatives available. The added potential for these substances to leach into other items during the waste and recycling process is an obvious and additional cause for concern.”

The bottles tested were either clear, frosted, green, ultraviolet-absorbing green (UVAG) or brown with several featuring enamelled decorations on part of the exterior surface.

From 89 bottles and fragments analysed using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, 76 were positive for low levels of lead and 55 were positive for cadmium. Chromium was detected in all green and UVAG bottles, but was only in 40 per cent of brown glass. Chromium was not found in clear glass.

The enamels of 12 products out of 24 enamelled products tested were based wholly or partly on compounds of either or both lead and cadmium.

Governments across the world have legislation in place to restrict the use of harmful substances on everyday products, but Dr Turner revealed where suppliers may still be putting your health at risk.

“When we contacted suppliers, many of them said the bottles they use are imported or manufactured in a different country than that producing the beverage,” said Dr Turner.

“This poses obvious challenges for the glass industry and for glass recycling and is perhaps something that needs to be factored into future legislation covering this area.”

Will this change your drinking choices?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 15
  1. 0

    No way! Next they’ll be telling us the small fraction of air in the top of the bottle is toxic. Why don’t these morons divert their talents to something useful?

  2. 0

    OMG – what can I drink? – what can I eat? – air polluted, can’t breathe – climate shot, global warming, going to fry – sea level rising, going to drown – etc, etc – I May I plead for a learned paper on something that I can do!

    • 0

      Yes NaB,
      Probably these so-called studies are causing more stress problems with people asking for as you have “May I plead for a learned paper on something that I can do!”

  3. 0

    Surely only if you lick the outside surface of the bottle? I usually only drink the contents.

    Wouldn’t the same thing apply to any other container? Surely baked beans will kill you, or cause you to blow up.

  4. 0

    I laughing that much at the comments, thanks everyone you made my day!

  5. 0

    Well, we all have to die from something. Why do these studies keep looking at those things in life that make things enjoyable and warning us how bad they are. There’s and old saying that if you give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don’t live any longer, it just seems that way.

  6. 0

    I’ll stick to tinnies then, eh?

  7. 0

    Why are there so many Professors in this country ? The country is awash with them. What is the next re-search subject people with yellow letterboxes are happier ????? How much taxpayers money is given to these idiots ?

  8. 0

    The University of Plymouth obviously has too much money if it is funding this sort of “research”. Lets not worry to much though, the report will be forgotten in a few days just like the thousands of others before it. Lets all drink to that!

  9. 0

    another Uni. with “researches” who have naught to do. Another mind (blowing) occupying project for them, could be to measure all the broken white lines on all the roads to see if there is any size variance.

    • 0

      “The sociological impact of deviated and non-uniform white road lines on rising trends towards criminality and drug use.”

      That is precisely why I originated the teaching tool (about utter stupidity) called The Learned Professor – that came about after it took an ANU professor to say that burn-offs in remote forests did not do any good – after we’d been campaigning against that silliness for years… the moment The Learned Professor stated the Bleedingly Obvious Stated in High-sounding Terms (BOSHT) (what else does He do with his time?), it became the Word of God…… and action ensued, public announcements were made, forests and mountains moved, armies galvanised into non-action, entire policies were revamped and altered in an instant…….. and on the other six days He rested ……

  10. 0

    For over 40 years I have been drinking my scotch from a crystal tumblers and poured from a crystal decanter, maybe that is why I have a weight problem – too much lead!

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