Can Drinking out of Plastic Water Bottles Make You Sick
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Can Drinking out of Plastic Water Bottles Make You Sick

Is drinking from plastic water bottles bad for your health? Is tap water safer than bottled water? Is it safer to drink bottled water rather than tap water? What plastic bottles are bad for you? There are many different types of plastic, learn which ones may be safer to use and which ones should be avoided. What is a safer alternative to plastic water bottles?

Although water is often sold in clear plastic water bottles experts suggest you do not purchase water this way.

For starters water sold in these bottles is often nothing more than tap water, sold at inflated prices. Another concern is that the plastic bottles themselves are environmentally unfriendly. However there are other considerations that can cause health problems to the consumer.

Plastic is porous, although water cannot go all the way through, the pores are enough to allow bacteria to grow. This is of greatest concern when a water bottle is reused. Even if washed between uses bacteria and other organisms can still survive, making the user sick.

Other concern is that plastics do tend to “off-gas” particularly when warm, as when left in the sun. The concern being that the off-gassed chemicals would go into the water itself. This would also be a concern if a person were to pour hot water into their plastic bottle.

There are some claims that suggest that chemicals contained in the plastic itself can leach into the water, although nobody has really proven, or disproved this claim. Of greatest concern are chemicals such as DEHA, PETE, and PBA which have been found in some plastics. DEHA and PETE have been linked to causing cancer, and PBA can disrupt the endocrine system, the hormone producing glands.

Plastic with the recycle number 1 is linked to containing DEHA and PETE (also known as PET). One time use might be okay, but these bottle should never be re-used, even after being washed.

Plastic with the recycle number 7 tends to be the one of most concern in relationship to the above mentioned chemical of PBA. Plastic number 7 is also known as Lexan.

Plastics with the recycle numbers 3, or 6, are concerning if burnt as they may put cancer causing chemicals into the air, and it is suggested they not be used for food or drinks.

It should be noted that harder plastics, such as those marked with the recycling numbers of 2, 4, or 5, are considered safer than the softer plastic drinking bottles that water is often sold in. Otherwise people may find that bringing their own tap water from home in a stainless steel water bottle to be the best way to have drinking water.* People who are concerned about the safety of their drinking water can take extra measures by boiling it or using a tap filter, but should be aware that in most cities the water is tested on a regular basis.

*Note that some people suggest drinking from aluminum bottles is safe, while others disagree.

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Comments (2)

Excellent article well explained, the kind of question people often wonder about.

Water in plastic bottles exposed to a warm sun always tastes funny to me.