Reusing Plastic Water Bottles: Is It Safe?

Simply wash out your water bottle with soap

The theory is true — as far as it goes. However, there’s no reason that bacteria should be allowed the time to grow. Simply wash out your water bottle with soap (and dry it, too, since moist environments are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria) after every use and the chances of bacteria growing will be minuscule. Just think of your recyclable plastics water bottles as an ordinary dish. Would you reuse a cup or plate without cleaning it? Of course not — so treat plastic water bottles the same way.

 

Recyclable plastics., Drinking from a plastic water bottle

Recyclable plastics., Drinking from a plastic water bottle is an easy way to get the water your body needs. Reusing a plastic water bottle is even more convenient. But is using a plastic water bottle in this way safe? This article investigates claims that reusing plastic water bottles is dangerous. There are a few alleged problems with the practice, each of which will be dealt with in order.

bacteria can flourish inside of water bottles

First is the idea that over time bacteria (and possibly fungus) will proliferate to a dangerous degree in recyclable plastics water bottles. It is true that each drink out of a water bottle will inevitably transfer some bacteria to the bottle, and that bacteria can flourish inside of water bottles — but does this pose a serious risk?

Would you reuse a cup or plate without cleaning it?

The theory is true — as far as it goes. However, there’s no reason that bacteria should be allowed the time to grow. Simply wash out your water bottle with soap (and dry it, too, since moist environments are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria) after every use and the chances of bacteria growing will be miniscule. Just think of your plastic water bottle as an ordinary dish. Would you reuse a cup or plate without cleaning it? Of course not — so treat plastic water bottles the same way.

FDA has ruled that the substance alleged to pose a threat

The second supposed risk of reusing plastic water bottles is that over time harmful, toxic chemicals will bleed out of the plastic into the water. Scary as this sounds, there is no good evidence that such a migration from plastic to water is possible. Although one study claimed to show that a certain carcinogen was escaping from plastic bottles, this study was not subject to peer review and did not fulfill basic scientific rigor. Numerous other, more thorough studies have since debunked the claim, and the FDA has ruled that the substance alleged to pose a threat can be safely brought into contact with food.

Dioxins can only be released at X-tra high temperatures

A related theory claims that if frozen, recyclable plastics water bottles will secrete a toxin called dioxin. Again, there is no evidence to suggest this is true.

Risk of harmful levels of BPA seeping out of plastic

The final spurious claim against plastic water bottles is that leaving them sitting in the sun can be harmful. The theory is that exposing the plastic to the sun can trigger the release of dangerous chemicals, chiefly a chemical compound called bisphenol A, or BPA. It is true that the sun can make plastic water bottles leech BPA, and it is true that BPA is dangerous.

Based on hundreds of studies, the FDA has declared that there is no risk of harmful levels of BPA seeping out of plastic.

Plastic is damaging to the environment

So are there any good reasons to avoid reusing water bottles? As it turns out, there are — though they do not involve a risk to health in any way. Plastic is damaging to the environment. Producing plastic water bottles requires depleting large amounts of limited, non-renewable fossil fuels.

Reusing is actually better than constantly buying

If you care about the environment, it’s obvious that you should eschew recyclable plastics water bottles. However, note that such concerns means reusing the same bottle is actually better than constantly buying new ones. Of course, it’s better still to not use disposable water bottles at all. Plastic water bottles intended for throw away are inherently wasteful. Using a permanent water bottle made out of glass, plastic, or metal is better.

reusing those water bottles poses no danger to your health

Whether or not you choose to switch away from disposable plastic water bottles. Rest assured that reusing those water bottles poses no danger to your health.

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