Is it Safe to Drink Water from Plastic Bottles?
Today we’re going to talk about bottled water. While we’re getting started, think about the answers to the following questions: Do you buy water in plastic bottles? Or do you buy glass reusable bottles? When you’re buying bottled water, do you look at the ingredients, the place of origin, whether it is mineral water or not? Do you ever wonder what impact water in plastic bottles might have on your health?
Today, we invite you to learn more about this interesting subject with us.
Bottled water: which kinds are the healthiest?
Nowadays it’s common to find two kinds of bottled water in the grocery store: water in plastic bottles, and water in glass containers. The plastic bottles have always sparked a great controversy. They can have a very negative impact on the environment, and the bottled water industry is a powerful one – responsible for generating more plastic waste, branding, and even privatizing the rights to water. But the most important aspect of the debate is whether water bottled in plastic is healthy or not.
Now for the most relevant information on this subject.
1. Plastic bottles
Plastic bottles are made using a compound known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). So what’s that, exactly? It’s a polymer, a chemical compound that, according to several studies, can contaminate water. So this means that when you drink water contained in these types of plastic containers, it could be altered by this compound. Let’s see what kinds of elements PET can transfer to the water you’re drinking:
- Phthalates. These compounds make the plastic more flexible. They’re only harmful to humans if consumed in large quantities, and can cause endocrine problems, for example. But know that these substances are present in every plastic bottle that you use.
- Antimony. This is a vital catalyst of PET. Is it harmful for your health? Of course it is. It can cause cancer as well as respiratory problems. But the health authorities set limitations on how much can be contained in a plastic bottle, and that amount is very low. To our relief, the WHO ensures that these standards are rigorously maintained.
- Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. These compounds are what make bottled water sometimes have that “plastic” taste. Experts say that this only occurs when the bottles have been exposed to sunlight, which causes the compounds to leach into water, so be especially careful with this. PET bottles under normal use don’t have high levels of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
Let’s wrap up this section. Is PET bad for your health? Well there’s no direct risk associated it. Health authorities take great care to ensure that regulations are met and in general, the concentrations of these harmful compounds leaching into your bottled water are very low.
However, you can make healthier choices to avoid these risks. If you take a moment to think about the amount of bottled water that’s consumed every year, it might frighten you a little. It’s a much better idea to consider healthier options, which incidentally are also more environmentally friendly.
2. Healthy alternatives to water bottled in plastic
- Try water bottled in glass containers. Obviously, they do cost more, but they’re a healthy alternative that you should consider.
- Get a filtration system for your tap water. Tap water is a good option for most people, but sometimes it isn’t as good for you as other water sources, for example, if it contains higher levels of calcium or other elements that aren’t pleasing to your tastes. But a small reverse osmosis filter will help eliminate these unhealthy or unwanted elements from your tap water supply.
- Buy jugs of purified water. This is a simple alternative that’s similar to having your own filtration system. In this case, the water company purifies water for you, eliminating unwanted odors, bad tastes, and making it a healthy option for daily consumption.
Things you should never do with plastic bottles
- Never refill used water bottles: This is a big risk factor that must be avoided. Lots of people finish off a plastic bottle and refill it from the tap. Now there’s a warning that appears on the bottle label advising consumers to avoid the microbiological hazards associated with this activity. When a plastic bottle is emptied, it can accumulate numerous fungi or bacteria. When you refill them and drink the water, you ingest these organisms and can even get sick. Also, don’t forget that over time, those harmful elements associated with PET that we described earlier leach out of the plastic and into your water. So remember: when you finish a bottle of water, throw it straight into the recycle bin!
- Never expose plastic water bottles to sunlight: We already mentioned this above. When the plastic is exposed to hot surfaces, sunlight, or fire, it causes formaldehyde and acetaldehyde to be released. This not only gives the water a bad taste, but can also cause problems like indigestion. Always keep your bottles of water in a cool, shady place!