Water Bottle Safety

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I buy a bottle of water at the gas station and quickly empty it because the warm sun has made me thirsty this season. Is it safe to refill it? What about washing it in the dishwasher? Will that make it leach carcinogenic compounds into my water like that email from my mom said it would? Should I just recycle it after its designated one-time use?

When I saw the emails about the carcinogens leaching into my water from my re-used water bottle, the first thing that popped into my head was, “baloney.” It took me a while to find the proof and the story behind it, but I did:

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Medical (Bottle Royale)

The idea that carcinogens leached into water bottles from the plastic they were made of was the basis of a study that was flawed and hadn’t gone through peer review before the media snapped it up. If there is no risk of cancer, what about bacteria?

U of MN Food Safety: Water Bottle Safety

There IS a risk of bacteria and germs with water bottles that are reused. The study referenced above was performed on water bottles from taken from 75 elementary school students, however. If you regularly wash your hands and bottles, you’re probably safer than most.

I’m from the school of “A Little Dirt Won’t Hurt,” but I realize that is probably not the best recommendation I could make to people. Can you reuse a water bottle without getting cancer? Yes. Can you get sick from it? Maybe. Should you worry so much about it that you’re washing the bottle with a bottle brush after each use? If you do, just buy a new bottle of water. It’s not worth the hassle if you’re going to be scared of getting diseases with each sip.

For me, I’ll keep reusing the Gatorade bottles and washing them in the dishwasher. If I contract a horrible disease, I’ll keep you updated.


4 Responses to “Water Bottle Safety”

  1. vh Says:

    Thank you for the tip. I like to research myths myself.

  2. vh Says:

    PS a lot of bottled water is just cleaned tap water.

  3. judy Says:

    Every once in a while, when I think of it, I’ll put a little dish soap and some warm water in the bottle, put the cap on, and shake it up and down a few times. Then I rinse it several times, until no more soap rinses out. Then I reuse the bottle with either tap or filtered Brita water, secure in the knowledge that if I don’t think about the germs, they don’t exist. 🙂

  4. vivian Says:

    I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer and have had to have a mastectomy. There has been no history of cancer in my family, I am the first one. There could be many reasons why I contracted cancer and none of my family have. I have to wonder about plastics because I have used plastic drink bottles for many years and I use plastics in the microwave. But in our society we are also exposed to pesticides and hormones in our food as well as preservatives and gasing to keep food fresh. We also have artificial sweetners like aspartamane that seem to be a little suspect in the ‘what’s good for you’ department.

    I have thought for a long time that the food we put in our mouth has a big impact on our health. Wouldn’t it be ironic if all the fruit and veg I have eaten over the years (which I thought was good for me)that have been artifically fertilised and then sprayed to keep the pests away, then treated again with chemicals for a longer shelf life had something to do with my breast cancer.

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