Water, water everywhere…but what’s it in?

In order to achieve and maintain good health we need to consume over 8 cups of water everyday. More and more, people are toting water with them during their daily trips to work, the store, sporting events, and gyms, and this is a good thing. But a study suggests that reusable water bottles may be bad for our health.

A study published by Dr. Patricia Hunt in the April, edition of Current Biology, suggests that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) can cause chromosomal abnormality. Most plastic reusable bottles are manufactured with BPA. Over time, BPA can leach into the water and eventually harm our health.

Experts disagree. The American Plastics Council, along with other plastic manufacturers, dispute the findings, saying that the study has not been validated or standardized. As it stands, the information on BPA is far from definitive.

What is known is that overtime, all plastics will break down, and through this process, they have the potential to leach chemicals into the water. As a precaution here are a few suggestions:

  • When at the office, use a ceramic, stainless steel or glass cup, instead of plastic.
  • Do not microwave anything in plastic.
  • When transporting water, use a glass, stainless steel or ceramic container.
  • If you do use plastic, make sure that is is either:  #2 high-density polyethylene  

(HDPE), #4 low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and #5 polypropylene (PP). These plastics are not known to leach chemicals into water.

  • Avoid #3 polyvinyl chloride (PVC), #6 polystyrene (PS), and according to Hunt’s study, #7 polycarbonate. Plastic bottles made from #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) are for single, not multiple use.
  • When storing, keep it out of sunlight and away from heat.

If that isn’t enough, reusing water bottles could present another type of health problem–bacteria build up. Even though you may wash your water bottle well, bacteria can still gather and grow in cracks, scratches, and in hard-to-reach places, especially in bottles that have narrower necks.

Not only is it important to use a certain type of plastic bottle, or a different type of bottle all together, you should also pay attention to the cleanliness and sanitization of your bottle. Don’t go too long without sanitizing it.