Are plastic water bottles toxic?

Are plastic water bottles toxic?

Environmentalists have been shunning single-use water bottles for years, decrying them as wasteful. Now new research shows these plastic bottles can be dangerous to our bodies as well as the planet.

Researchers at the University of Florida studied the levels of two toxic chemicals, antimony and BPA, in bottled water from China over the course of four weeks. They found that the longer a water bottle is left at a warm temperature, the more likely toxic chemicals will be found in the water.

They found two times more antimony, a heavy metal considered a “possible carcinogen” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in water left at room temperature compared to water that was refrigerated in six of the 16 brands studied and BPA levels were higher in three of the brands.

BPA is a chemical which mimics estrogen and has been banned in baby bottles in the United States. Compared to refrigerated water, the water left at 158 degrees (the temperature of a hot car) contained levels of antimony up to 318 times higher. While this level was still slightly less than the EPA’s legal limit for water, it was higher than the legal limit in several countries, including Japan.

To avoid drinking these toxic chemicals, Lena Ma, lead study researcher and a professor at the University of Florida, recommends storing bottles of water at room temperature or in a refrigerator.

“If you drink [a hot bottle of water] once in a while, I don’t think that’s a concern. One is no problem. Even a few is no problem. It’s cumulative,” said Ma in a statement. “I don’t want to mislead people, saying bottled water is not safe. Bottled water is fine. You can drink it — just don’t leave it in a hot temperature for a long time. I think that’s the important message.”

Ma’s recommendations are good news for those who do not want to give up drinking water from plastic water bottles completely. For many, those bottles are an easy way to make sure that they consume enough water each day.

“The standard recommendation for healthy individuals living in a temperate climate is a total daily beverage intake of 13 cups for men and nine cups for women,” says Michelle Remkus, a dietician at the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill.

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  1. Even more reason to bring water in a container from home. Not good for your health nor good for the environment is reason enough for me!

  2. Yikes! And I like my water at room temperature. I use a reusable plastic bottle, but now I’m even questioning that.

  3. I have always heard something like this but never knew if it was actually true! So glad to know I should definitely avoid this!

  4. …” in bottled water from China”

    This isn’t US product. Nice attention grabbing headline, though.

    USA bottles are made with PET, which does NOT contain BPA. I think almost all other types of bottles in the USA don’t contain BPA anymore either after the health concerns.

    Heavy metals found are probably in the water, not the bottles.

    Who is getting water bottled in China anyway?

    Environmental concerns? lol PET bottles are 100% recyclable, unlike water fitlers on all the fancy commercials. Quit throwing your litter out the car window and recycle.

  5. I agree breastfeeding is great – but some of us dont have a choice – I take a medication that requires me to not to breastfeed, luckily I’m able to take in pregnancy – so I’m very concerned with bottle safety.

    There are a lot of reasons women need healthy options.

  6. the bottles are delivered by truck to the stores, the truck is hot inside, the bottles are warm before they reach our refrigerators. Some stores have their bottles sitting in the sun for days before customers purchase them!

  7. I was once was working in a warehouse the size of a Walmart. It was full of pallets of bottled water. Summer warehouse temperature of about 102 degrees. Bottles probably sat there for months.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.