Well, yes and no. In fact, the answer will vary depending on what plastic is being used. Thanks to the latest research below, we have been able to succinctly provide you with a clear answer to this question. It is important to firstly identify the different types of plastics that are widely used for bottled water and other drinks. There are seven different types of plastics:
- Polythene Terephthalate (PETE or PET)
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
- Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Polystyrene or Styrofoam (PS)
- Other Plastics
Reviewing these different types of plastics will enable us to determine whether your bottled water is harmful to your body or not.
Polythene Terephthalate (PETE or PET)
This is the most common plastic used and is a strong and lightweight plastic for packaging, water bottles, soda bottles, medicine bottles, beer bottles, salad dressing containers and mouthwash bottles. PET is approved by the FDA and health and safety agencies across the globe as being safe for contact with foods and beverages. Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated that this plastic is safe to use and does not contain any bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalates (plasticizers). BPA is a chemical compound that has been shown to seep into food and drinks and cause negative health effects. It is important to remember many manufacturers create products free from this compound now. It is considered safe practice to not let your plastic products sit in a heated environment anyway as a precaution.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
HDPE has a higher density as opposed to the previous one. It is used for milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, and more. Similarly, to what was mentioned earlier, this plastic is considered safe to use and be in contact with food and beverages.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
This is the most durable plastic that is long lasting and is used across many industries for numerous applications to form rigid or flexible items. PVC is used to make cling film, plumbing pipes, shower curtains, pool toys and detergent bottles. Polyvinyl Chloride is known to be toxic and very harmful to humans due to the Phthalates found within it. Finding this plastic in your water bottle would not happen but you should probably avoid reheating food with cling film on from now on.
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Like the PET, this polyethylene is low density in order for it to be more flexible and allow to be manipulated and reform its structure. Squeezy bottles, shopping bags, clothing, froze food bags, bread bags are made from LDPE for example. As it is safe by the FDA, it is recommended to keep out of the sun and heated environments.
This plastic is predominately used to form such items as yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, and medicine bottles. Polypropylene is considered safe to use and to be heated in microwaves.
Polystyrene or Styrofoam (PS)
PS permits to create plastic cutlery, plastic food boxes, disposable coffee cups, disc cases, meat trays, etc. Due to the chemical compounds found in the plastic after long-term exposure, polystyrene can be harmful to the body.
These include polycarbonate, polylactide, acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene, styrene, fiberglass, and nylon. It also contains the chemical BPA which has been linked to infertility, hyperactivity and other health problems when ingested regularly. They are used to make products such as sunglasses and computer cases.
Now that we have looked at the different types of plastics, it should become much easier to answer the question. Since plastic water bottles are made from PET which is not made from BPA, you can drink water safely from your plastic bottle. If in doubt, you can simply refer to the “resin identification code” on the bottom of the bottle, which will indicate a number and let you know what plastic it is.
It is also worth mentioning that not only you should care for your health when it comes to plastic, but you should also reflect on the environmental impact. Our most recent blog investigates the consequences of using plastic on the environment and draws upon the overwhelming amount of evidence urging for a more sustainable solution.
Therefore, due to health reasons and the challenges facing the world, people are now looking at alternative methods to drink water. Here are some steps you can take to lower your risk of ingesting harmful plastics and caring for the planet.
- Use filtered water in a stainless-steel bottle
- Use bottle refilling stations to refill your stainless-steel bottle
- Use hygienic water fountains
- Use cups and plates that contain no plastic
- Avoid reusing a plastic water bottle
- Avoid microwaving food and beverages in plastic
- Avoid putting plastic containers in a dishwasher
- Do not leave your bottled water in hot environments
In order to understand if it is safe to drink water from plastic bottles, one must question what plastic you are using and how frequently you are using it to consume your beverages. We have found that most plastic used for food and drink in shops is considered safe but conducting your own research by referring to the resin identification code is always a smart move. Keeping your bottle out of light and heated environments are considered best practice, as well as, not reusing disposable plastic. In addition, looking to more sustainable options such as stainless steel bottles and utilising water fountains is a great solution to protect the environment and reduce plastic pollution.