Friday, 17 April 2015

Health Review: Re-using plastic water bottles

With the weather becoming warmer, our water intake is increasing and many of us are walking around with bottled water in our bags to keep us hydrated.

I always like to keep a bottle of water in my bag and refill it once it’s empty. It’s much more convenient than having to buy a new bottle every time the other one finishes!

One of my work colleagues warned me about refilling my plastic water bottle when she saw me refill it at work the other day. She studied Chemistry so knew about the bad effects of doing so and gave me an insight into it. She advised me to research more about it –which I did.

I discovered that reusing water or soft drink plastic bottles  – even when you wash them out well, can lead to bacterial contamination due to wear and tear and physical breakdown of the plastic bottle. Bacteria can harbour in the cracks, posing a health risk.

It’s not that we can’t reuse our plastic bottles at all but we have to be careful with the amount of times we reuse one bottle. Most plastic bottles are not recommended to be reused anyway but reports have shown that water bottles can be washed with warm soapy water and allowed to dry before being reused. But the process of washing and agitation has been shown to damage the structure of the bottle, causing release of chemical compounds.

The safest option is to use a stainless steel water bottle or bottles that are designed to be reused and safe to refill . Stainless steel bottles are considered the safest alternative to plastic bottles. They are durable and do not leach.

I currently use a green acrylic tumbler (see below) for drinking water at work because it’s easy to wash and dry and as we have drinking water taps ,it’s convenient to just refill it at anytime. As long as I don’t microwave, freeze or dish wash the tumbler, it’s safe to use over and over again!

It’s good to do some research into this and look at the different kinds of bottles we can carry with us and refill with water, especially as the days are getting warmer.

My tumbler

Suggested water bottles

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