In an effort to save money and help conserve resources, as well as reducing the amount of waste in landfills, you may be tempted to reuse your plastic water bottle. Although this is really admirable, it’s actually very bad for you health. It turns out, in fact, that the plastic water bottles you’re refilling contain so many germs you might as well lick your toilet. Yep, you read well, and here are the reasons.
Standard plastic water bottles are often hard to clean (they weren’t designed for multiple uses). This can make them prime areas for bacterial growth, as the University of California states. A testing on refilled water bottles that had been used by an athlete for a week revealed that the highest number of bacteria found on one bottle contained over 900,000 colony forming units per square cm on average, more than your standard toilet seat. And worse still, researchers found that a whopping 60% of the germs found were capable of making you sick. Microbiologists have confirmed it, saying that plastic water bottles can transmit dangerous diseases like the norovirus if reused.
Plastic bottles may leak chemicals into the water when reused, especially if cleaned in a high-heat environment like your dishwasher. Hot water encourages the chemicals to release at a staggering 55 times faster than normal. Most plastic water bottles are marked with a “1” signifying they’re made from polyethylene terephthalate, which Harvard University says may contain antimony, a chemical that may cause cancer. More rigid bottles, like the type which contain water or fruit juice, are marked with a “3”, which signifies they’re made from polyvinyl chloride. Such bottles contain phthalates, which may be linked to reproductive health problems. But that’s not all. As well as the fact it’s clearly disgustingly unhygienic, Good Housekeeping have discovered there are a bunch of nasty chemicals from the plastic which get released as it breaks down with frequent use.
Although people often reuse water bottles to get the most out of the container and lower contributions to landfills, this may be counterproductive. The act of washing the water bottle for reuse eats up natural resources and puts soap and detergent into municipal water supplies. This may be just as bad as sending the bottle to a landfill, according to Columbia University’s Health Services.
So what’s the solution? Instead of reusing the plastic bottles, it’s best to drink from them once and then recycle, but if you must refill your plastic one, then we advise to buy BPA-free plastic bottles or glass bottles with protective frames, as well as stainless steel bottles.
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