Do not reuse plastic spring water bottles for a long time. A substance in the plastic breaks down into the water. This is not healthy. Teachers have sent a note to parents packing lunches not to reuse plastic bottles! I have reused bottles many times in the past. No more!
By Sharon L Martin from Canada
There is a expiration date stamped on the plastic bottle with the month and year. It can be on the neck, bottom or on the cap. The plastic bottle should be safe to use up until the expiration date. (07/26/2006)
I wonder were this bit of information came from. If the substance in the plastic breaks down in the second water, what keeps it from breaking down in the first water use of the bottle? Would it be because the water bottler wants you to keep buying more water? (07/26/2006)
Snopes addresses an email that was going around that referenced a study done by a University of Idaho graduate student that concluded plastic bottles may introduce carcinogens into water as the plastic breaks down. Their conclusion was that this is false, the study has not been peer reviewed and may not be accurate.
i do notice that the longer water is in a plastic bottle, the more the water develops a plastic taste. That's just anecdotal, though.
Snopes also notes: "Some organizations (including the IBWA) do recommend that plastic water bottles be used only once before recycling, but not because re-use is likely to cause carcinogenic compounds to leach from the plastic bottles into the liquids they hold. The concern is that people (particularly children) can too easily spread and ingest bacteria from their hands and mouths by re-using bottles without properly washing them or allowing them sufficient time to dry."
Maybe that is what concerns the school?
And Helen, that is a very good question. If the plastic isn't safe to reuse, why is it safe in the first place when bottled water is supposed to have a quite a long shelf life. (07/26/2006)
From what I heard on the John Tesh radio show, the problem is not carcinogens leeching into the water. The problem is bacteria builds up over time. Further, micro fissures quickly develop in the thin plastic giving the bacteria a perfect place to grow, and the plastic bottles are very difficult to clean, which compounds the problem. The study he cited recommended not reusing the bottles for more then a week, and to wash them with hot soapy water and air dry between each use. (07/26/2006)
We're in the hurricane zone so when hurricane season ends, we use up our supply and then replace it again when the season rolls back around. If your water is in a spare refrigerator, or even inside in a climate controlled atmosphere, then it probably will last a lot longer. If it's stored in a hot garage, probably a lot less.
As far as reusing the bottles, from what I understand, the issue with bacteria lies in the fact that most people probably don't wash them well enough, but even if they did, chemically speaking, the plastics used to make single-use bottles are not designed to stand up to washing. Therefore, the heat from wash water - either from hand washing or machine washing (and possibly also from the detergents used) - can degrade the plastic of the bottles, increasing the likelihood of chemical leaching.
I checked this out on the internet, and learned that this is not true. The FDA has checked out PET and permits multiple uses. The expiration date is for the water, as over time, bacteria can multiply, even in the original unopened water bottle. (07/27/2006)
This is from http:www.cancer.org :
The original version of this email begins by saying "Many are unaware of poisoning caused by re-using plastic bottles," and says "bottles are safe for one-time use only; if you must keep them longer, it should be or no more than a few days, a week max, and keep them away from heat as well." The email says the bottles contain DEHA, which it calls a potential carcinogen.
A newer (2007) version of the email quotes an unidentified doctor as saying women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car because the heat and the plastic of the bottle have certain chemicals that can lead to breast cancer.
These emails are apparently based on a student's college thesis. In fact, DEHA is not inherent in the plastic used to make these bottles, and even if it was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says DEHA "cannot reasonably be anticipated to cause cancer, teratogenic effects, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, gene mutations, liver, kidney, reproductive, or developmental toxicity or other serious or irreversible chronic health effects." Meanwhile, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), says diethylhexyl adipate"is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans."
and this from USC:
To keep reusable plastic water bottles germ and odor free, USC sports teams wash them at least twice a week in the dishwasher, notes Sue Lerner, assistant athletic/medical trainer for the USC Department of Athletics. "Some people use a weekly sanitizing rinse of one teaspoon of bleach in a quart of water," she says. And most importantly: "Let the bottle air dry completely every night."
I re-use the bottles for about a month or so myself, and have had no problems. (11/27/2007)
I need to do this for a science fair project. Maybe you should try doing an experiment on it too. It could be fun and it would help you get a good result. This could also get you extra credit. If you don't want to do this though I have found in my research numerous answers that it is inf act un-healthy. Bacteria could grow in your water bottle without you knowing it. Unless you rinse the water bottle out it is unsafe. Please trust me, I am detailed in science and I am sure this answer is correct. (09/15/2008)
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