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Is It Safe To Drink Water From Plastic Bottles? Let's Find Out!

Drinking water is essential for maintaining a healthy body. However, looking into the litres of water you drank alone is not enough to ensure a healthy body. Apart from the source of the water, the utensils or bottles used for storing drinking water too is of utmost importance.

If you are using plastic bottles to store water, you must ask yourself an important question- how safe is drinking water from plastic bottles?

Due to convenience and even price, most of us tend to buy bottled water stored in single-use plastic bottles. While using readily available products like bottled water, we are compromising our health for the profit of multinational companies. Bottled water is available in both plastic and glass containers. Glass containers are the safer option. But, generally, we go for the cheaper option and prefer water in plastic bottles [1] .

Water In Plastic Bottles - Is It Safe?

Most plastics are made of long chains of hydrocarbon molecules and most plastics have added chemicals used for improving the flexibility or even colour of the bottles. Safety of plastic bottles varies depending on the type of plastics that are used. Low-quality products may possess serious health problems like cancer [2] .

How Microplastics Negatively Impact Your Health

Here are some of the reasons, as per studies, that point out the negative impacts of drinking water from plastic bottles.

1. Repeated use

Most of the plastic bottles available in the market are for single use. But, it is very common that people reuse it for storing water. These plastics are made from polyethene terephthalate (abbreviated to PET or PETE).

Apart from the environmental pollution caused by these single-use plastic bottles, though many companies use BPA (bisphenol A, an industrial chemical) free plastic these bottles are repeatedly used by people, which on being exposed to heat or sunlight can cause the chemicals to seep out and get mixed into the water. Some of these chemicals are possible endocrine disruptors [3] [4] .

2. Pregnancy complications

The BPA used in Type 7 plastic water bottles are proven to cause complications for pregnant women and the fetus. BPA mimics faux-estrogen and this may result in chromosomal abnormalities, resulting in birth defects [5] .

3. Early or late puberty

The exposure to chemicals that mimic hormones like oestrogen will change the timing of puberty. Apart from that, it can also decrease fertility, increase body fat and affect your nervous system. The oestrogen-like property of the chemical BPA can be extremely harmful to growing children [6] .

4. Infections

Drinking from cheap-quality plastic bottles can negatively affect your immune system. The BPA affects your immune system and weakens it, hence exposing your body to various infections [7] .

Considering the possible side effects posed by packaged drinking water, there are means you can adopt to stay away from the harm caused [8] .

  • Use alternatives to plastic, like glass or stainless steel [9] .
  • Carry water from home.
  • Avoid bottles that have the recycling codes of 3 or 7.
  • If there are no other options, use (and reuse) bottles with the recycling codes 2, 4 and 5.
  • Choose bottles that are BPA-free [10] .

On A Final Note...

Plastic IS harmful, both for your body and the environment. According to Dr Sneha Krishnan, "I think what we know for sure is- Bisphenol A or BPA that is present in plastic bottles (and other sources like unfiltered water) are being deposited in our cells. The compound at higher doses can be toxic to our endocrine system, nervous system and kidneys. As of now, the level of toxicity and the side effects seen at such levels are being studied".

10 Health Benefits Of Drinking Warm Water

Although there are BPA-free bottled water and other options such as single-use plastic, the best means, even according to doctors is to avoid plastic bottled water. On ditching the plastic bottles, you are not only improving your health but also saving money and saving the earth!

View Article References
  1. [1] 1. Rowell, C., Kuiper, N., & Preud’Homme, H. (2016). Is container type the biggest predictor of trace element and BPA leaching from drinking water bottles?. Food chemistry, 202, 88-93.
  2. [2] 2. Quattrini, S., Pampaloni, B., & Brandi, M. L. (2016). Natural mineral waters: chemical characteristics and health effects. Clinical cases in mineral and bone metabolism, 13(3), 173.
  3. [3] 3. Kregiel, D. (2015). Health safety of soft drinks: contents, containers, and microorganisms. BioMed research international, 2015.
  4. [4] 4. Qiao, F., Lei, K., Li, Z., Liu, Q., Wei, Z., An, L., ... & Cui, S. (2018). Effects of storage temperature and time of antimony release from PET bottles into drinking water in China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(2), 1388-1393.
  5. [5] 5. Welle, F., & Franz, R. (2018). Microplastic in bottled natural mineral water–literature review and considerations on exposure and risk assessment. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, 35(12), 2482-2492.
  6. [6] 6. Cincotta, F., Verzera, A., Tripodi, G., & Condurso, C. (2018). Non-intentionally added substances in PET bottled mineral water during the shelf-life. European Food Research and Technology, 244(3), 433-439.
  7. [7] 7. Manoli, E., & Voutsa, D. (2016). Food containers and packaging materials as possible source of hazardous chemicals to food. In Hazardous Chemicals Associated with Plastics in the Marine Environment (pp. 19-50). Springer, Cham.
  8. [8] 8. Garfí, M., Cadena, E., Sanchez-Ramos, D., & Ferrer, I. (2016). Life cycle assessment of drinking water: comparing conventional water treatment, reverse osmosis and mineral water in glass and plastic bottles. Journal of cleaner production, 137, 997-1003.
  9. [9] 9. De Giglio, O., Quaranta, A., Lovero, G., Caggiano, G., & Montagna, M. T. (2015). Mineral water or tap water? An endless debate. Ann. Ig, 27, 58-65.
  10. [10] 10. Aneck-Hahn, N. H., Van Zijl, M. C., Swart, P., Truebody, B., Genthe, B., Charmier, J., & Jager, C. D. (2018). Estrogenic activity, selected plasticizers and potential health risks associated with bottled water in South Africa. Journal of water and health, 16(2), 253-262.