Colbert, MD, author of Toxic Relief
Some bottled waters
contain more toxins than tap water and are not as closely regulated
as tap water. Two of the biggest bottled water brands, Dasani and
AquaFina, are reprocessed tap water from cities around the country.
About 1/4 of all bottled waters are from tap water.
problem with bottled water is that it comes in plastic. Studies
continue to show that plastic is not as safe as people believe.
very worst plastic is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), it is a known
carcinogen that emits pollutants from the moment it is created until
long after it is discarded. Studies show that PVCC leaches vinyl
chloride and other pollutants, thus disrupting the hormonal balance,
causing fertility problems and damaging cells, organs, and tissues.
Another common ingredient in some plastics, bisphenol A, is used in
reusable water bottles. It can change the course of fetal
development and cause abnormal chromosome loss or gain, which leads
to miscarriage or disorders like Down syndrome. It has also been
linked to obesity.
Nalgene water bottles and 5 gallon bottles also contain bisphenol A
(number 7 bottles) Studies show the chemical leaches into the water
at room temperature.
water bottles are made from a plastic called PET or PETE
(polyethylene terephthalate) This kind of plastic is considered
safer than PVC, but it has been shown to leach plasticizer chemicals
called phthalates into the water when used repeatedly or when water
is bottled for too long. Phthalates disrupt the production of fatty
acids and interfere with the production of sex hormones. They may
be safe if used within a few months of the date the water was
bottled – check for an expiration date.
Avoid bad plastics
containers or bio-based plastic (made of all natural products like
starch, cellulose, and raw rubber) The safety of plastics will
continue, for now the safest plastic to use are PET or PETE as long
as they have not been heated and are not old or reused.
or PETE: used to bottle soda, most bottled water, cooking oils,
juice, salad dressing, peanut butter, and other foods.
HDPE: milk jugs, one gallon water bottles, some bottled foods
cling wraps, Reynolds Wrap, Stretch-tite, Freeze-tite (used by
many grocery stores for meats), four ounce Wesson Cooking Oil,
Appalachian Mountain spring water, some plastic squeeze bottles
food storage bags (like Glad and Ziploc)
deli soup containers, most Rubbermaid containers, cloudy plastic
baby bottles, ketchup bottles, other cloudy plastic bottles
Styrofoam, some disposable plastic cups and bowls, and most opaque
“Other” resins, usually polycarbonate, which contains bisphenol A:
most plastic baby bottles, five gallon water bottles, clear plastic
“sippy” cups, some types of clear plastic cutlery, inner lining of
bioplastic called polylactic acid
Use and Storage of Bottled Water
Reusing your water
bottle is terrible for your body; studies show dangerous levels of
bacteria accumulate on and in the bottle as you reuse it. The water
may become so contaminated that, if it were tap water, cities
wouldn’t use it!
Keep your bottled
water away from cleaning compounds, paints, gasoline, or other
household or industrial chemicals. Do not store it in the garage or
in direct sun light.
Dangers of Plastic Water Bottles
Whether you buy
bottled water or conscientiously tote some from home, you'll want to
avoid swallowing chemicals along with it. Particularly for small
children, whose bodies are developing, it's best to steer clear of
plastics that can release chemicals that could harm them in the long
term. Below, the plastics not to choose (check the recycling number
on the bottom of your bottle) and those that are safer:
Plastics to Avoid
#3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) commonly
contains di-2-ehtylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), an endocrine disruptor
and probable human carcinogen, as a softener.
#6 Polystyrene (PS) may leach styrene, a possible endocrine
disruptor and human carcinogen, into water and food.
#7 Polycarbonate contains the hormone disruptor bisphenol-A, which
can leach out as bottles age, are heated or exposed to acidic
solutions. Unfortunately, #7 is used in most baby bottles and
five-gallon water jugs and in many reusable sports bottles.
#1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or
PETE), the most common and easily recycled plastic for bottled water
and soft drinks, has also been considered the most safe. However,
one 2003 Italian study found that the amount of DEHP in bottled
spring water increased after 9 months of storage in a PET bottle.
#2 High Density Polyethylene
#4 Low Density Polyethylene
Choose tempered glass or
opaque plastic made of polypropylene (#5) or polyethylene (#1),
which do not contain bisphenol-A.
Best Reusable Bottles:
kleankanteen - (except with Ionized
water, it destroys the ORP and pH - use glass)
*Sniff and Taste: If there's a hint
of plastic in your water, don't drink it.
*Keep bottled water away from heat, which promotes leaching of
*Use bottled water quickly, as chemicals may migrate from plastic
during storage. Ask retailers how long water has been on their
shelves, and don't buy if it's been months.
*Do not reuse bottles intended for single use. Reused water bottles
also make good breeding grounds for bacteria.
*Choose rigid, reusable containers or, for hot/acidic liquids,
thermoses with stainless steel or ceramic interiors.