Bottled water has been the rage for a while now – it’s convenient, easily accessible and if you believe advertisers, much healthier for you than tap water. Unfortunately, we are coming to realize that bottled water isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! In fact, researchers are finding out that some bottled water can actually be harmful to your health. We have known for years now that water bottles are slowly killing our environment and our landfills are overflowing with plastic. Now we are finding out that water bottles might be slowly killing us as well.
As consumers, the first thing we need to be aware of, is what type of plastic our drinking water is stored in. There are various plastics used for water bottles, and some are much safer than others. Before you purchase any food or drink item packaged in plastic, you need to be aware of what type of plastic it is stored in, and whether it is safe. Everything should carry a label on it as to what plastic is it made of but most of us have no idea what those labels mean. Here is the breakdown of the different plastic labels, and what you need to know:
• PC/Other – This plastic should be avoided, if at all possible, and is likely the most dangerous of all the plastics. They have been known to leak a lot of chemicals into both food and beverages.
• PS – Polystyrene is typically used in disposable takeout containers, egg cartons, plastic utensils and Styrofoam cups. It can release carcinogenic chemicals when it is heated and should not be used repeatedly.
• PET/PETE – This is the most common type of plastic used for consumer products, such as bottled water. It is only intended to be used once and any repeated use can lead to bacterial growth. This type of plastic also has the potential to leach heavy metals and chemicals into its contents which is a serious health concern.
• LDPE – Not commonly used for water bottles, but it has been known to leak chemicals into other packaged foods.
• PVC/3V – This type of plastic has the potential to cause hormonal imbalances. If there is an alternative plastic available, experts recommend using that instead. This plastic is commonly found in food wrappers, pet toys, children’s toys and cooking oil bottles.
• PP – This is a relatively safe plastic. It doesn’t melt when heated and is a good barrier against chemicals, grease and moisture. It is commonly used to pack syrups and yogurt.
• HDP/HDPE – This plastic is a much stiffer plastic than the PET/PETE plastics and is commonly used for detergent bottles, milk jugs and even some children’s toys. This is one of the safest plastics available, so if you need to purchase something in plastic, definitely look for this label.
Of course, the safest bet is to avoid plastic water bottles altogether! Consumers can get just as good or even better quality water from a drinking water filtration system in their home. If you like the convenience of having a water bottle on the go, purchase a safe, reusable bottle and refill it with filtered water, right from the tap. You will be saving money, saving the environment and maybe even saving your health in the process!