Are you getting sick drinking from reuse plastic bottles? You may not be aware of this, but storing water or liquid juices in plastic bottles may be unsafe if you forgot to wash the container and the condition of the plastic water bottle has already deteriorated to such an extent that bacteria is already growing. How many of you are in the habit of really washing your plastic water bottles when you reuse them? Let me say this again. Drinking from plastic bottles is not bad at all, but, the question is, when did you actually wash that water bottle? If possible, disposable water bottles are not meant to be used more than once. However, with the save the environment recycling and reusing campaigns, you may need to wash that water bottle before continuing to use it.
Reusing plastic water bottles is not recommended for people who are lazy or let us just say forgetful, to find time to wash the plastic containers. Reusing the drinking bottles increases the likelihood of bacteria introduction and other impurities. How do you wash your drinking bottles?
Due to contact with your hands and mouth and of exposure to the external environment whenever you use them and wherever you place them, bacteria growth in the inside and mouth of the water bottles can’t be prevented.
An estimated 25% of the bottled water is really coming from purified tap water. There were about 18% of the bottles that do not provide information about the location of their source while about 32% do not provide information about the treatment or the purity of the product.
Drinking from reusable water bottles is safer than drinking from a disposable water bottle. Sorry, I too just know this. However, you should be aware that using and drinking from disposable plastic water bottles can be harmful if they are not cleaned and dried properly.
Bacteria in your water bottle
Using water bottles that are not cleaned and dried properly invites the growth of harmful bacteria. The habit allows harmful bacteria to grow. If ingested, it can cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. The bacteria can terribly make you sick.
Unwashed water bottles have the right conditions that could invite the growth of bacteria, such as the moisture, temperature, and the nutrients from backwash. In one casual test, a news station examined the bacteria levels of water bottles that were used for a week without being washed. The result? Lots of bacteria have grown enough to make you sick like a food poisoning.
This is scary right? If you suddenly have diarrhea, you should examine your water bottles. If possible, dispose the old ones and just buy new ones for reuse.
Disposable water bottles are meant to be used one time, and washing it in a dishwater with say 120 degree temperature could just increase the rate that the chemicals can migrate from the plastic.
Plastic physical breakdown
Experts pointed out that the reuse of disposable water bottles is not good for your health. The study was published in the journal Practical Gastroenterology in 2007. The everyday wear and tear from repeated washings and reuse can lead to the physical breakdown of the plastic itself.
You can see visible thinning or even cracks on the reuse water bottles. The bacteria can thrive in the cracks and will put your health at risk. The reuse of the plastic water bottles can result in water contamination unless you wash them regularly.
In a study conducted by the researchers of the University of Calgary in 2002. They found that about 2/3 of the samples contain bacteria levels that exceeded the drinking water guidelines. This could have been the effect of the bacterial growth in bottles. The study was published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
Washing of water bottles
Washing would mean cleaning it with mild soap, rinsing it well, and making sure there are no evidences of physical breakdown. Do not wash with hot water. Most types of plastic water bottles are safe to use a few times if you clean it properly.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Several studies indicate the presence of Bisphenol A, which is a synthetic chemical that interferes with the body’s natural hormonal messaging system. Toxic chemicals can leak out of the tiny cracks that develop over time in any water bottle container.
The BPA has been linked to breast and uterine cancer. It has also been associated with the increased risk of miscarriage and decrease of testosterone levels. The concern here is the cumulative effect of small doses that leak through cracks and dents.
The Environment California Research & Policy Center has reviewed about 130 studies about this topic. Several studies found that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers.
The exposure could result in health risks on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. You can read more about this from the report of the National Toxicology program in April 2008 about the possible health risks of BPA.
What about DEHP? In addition, the Green Guide prohibits reuse of the disposable water, soda, and juice bottles. Several studies indicate the risk of the bottles to leach DEHP when they are in less than perfect condition, which is another suspected human carcinogen. DEHP can move out of plastic materials into the environment over time.
Lesson for the day – ditch the old ones and make sure you clean them well before reusing.
ATSDR. Public health statement CAS# 117-81-7.
Centre for Food Safety Hongkong. Risk in brief: Reusing disposable PET bottles. CFS.
Chan, A. L. (2014). What you need to know before you reuse that plastic water bottle. Huffington Post.
Earth Talk. Reusing plastic bottles can pose serious health hazards.
Harris, G. R. (2015). A Complete Guide To Reusing Plastic Bottles. Superfooodsrx.
Nathan, S. & Philip, L. (2009). Leaching of DEHA and DEHP from PET bottles to water. SODIS.
NRDC (2012). Plastic water bottles: Is BPA free the same as safe?
Zeratsky, K. What is BPA, and what are the concerns about BPA?