Bottled water is considered to be one of the safest ways to consume pure, clean water. It is said to be drawn from the freshest springs and goes through a lengthy purification process, but is it possible that all of these precautions may be in vain?
If you've ever taken the time to look at the printed impressions on your water bottle, you will notice various symbols that contain letters and numbers, usually printed within or around the universal recycling symbol. To jog your memory, here's a composite of those symbols:
Looks familiar? Ok, good, let's continue. Let's take a closer look at what these symbols mean for you and your health.
PETE also goes by the name of PET and is commonly used to make soda & water bottles. Sadly, it is one of the most toxic. "The plastic leaches carcinogenic chemicals and endocrine disruptors into the liquid it contains, which is made worse by repeated use and exposure to heat. That’s why plastic water bottles shouldn’t be stored in the sun or used to contain juices or other acidic drinks.
This plastic is also hard to decontaminate, making it prone to bacterial or fungal growth. Proper cleaning requires harmful chemicals that may further enhance leeching or directly contaminate water stored in the bottle." (2016)
Conclusion: Avoid if you can, keep away from heat.
HDPE also goes by the name HDP. High density polyethylene plastic is usually used for milk, water, and juice containers, trash can liners and grocery bags. The hazard is typically low, very sturdy and strong and does not break down in extreme temperatures. It also does not leech any harmful materials into the liquid to cause any hormonal disruption or cancer.
Conclusion: Typically safe to use
PVC also known as 3V is typically found in plastic toys, shower curtains, tablecloths, etc. This plastic causes endocrine disruption. It also contains phthalate which is carcinogenic and a substance that contributes to insulin resistance, obesity, reproductive disorders and fetal malformation.
"Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to these chemicals, but even phthalate-free PVC contains other harmful substances like volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), lead, cadmium and other heavy metals as well as dioxin, a carcinogen." (2016)
Conclusion: DO NOT USE & DO NOT GIVE TO CHILDREN!
Low-density polyethylene is used for newspaper bags, bread bags, produce, plastic bags and those squeezable plastic bottles. It doesn't release any chemicals and is said to be considered typically safe.
Conclusion: Safe, but not the best.
Polypropylene is used for packaged meats, yogurts and most food storage containers. It is durable, heat-resistant and repels any type of moisture, grease or chemical from entering into the contents that it holds. This plastic has a low hazard and is relatively safe.
Conclusion: Relatively Safe
Polystyrene is a Styrofoam and is used for cups and plastic cutlery. This plastic is very lightweight and inexpensive and will hold on to unhealthy chemicals known for toxicity of the reproductive system, as well as carcinogens.
Conclusion: DO NOT USE. If you have any bottles with this label, discard of it.
This category is for all other plastics that do not fit into any of the other categories. This plastic causes endocrine disruption as well as reproductive toxicity. This category also houses polycarbonate, which is known to contain BPA. BPA is bisphenol and can seep into foods causing possible negative health effects of the brain, behavior, prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.
It is also known to interfere with the reproductive system and linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. You may notice on some packaging the label, "BPA-Free." DO NOT BE FOOLED. If BPA is removed, then something else must come in its stead. The replacement is known to cause arrhythmia.
Conclusion: DO NOT USE The safest alternative to plastic for beverage drinking is a glass bottle.
Bauer, B. A. (2016, March 11). Nutrition and healthy eating. Retrieved May, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy- lifestyle/nutrition-and- healthy-eating/expert- answers/bpa/faq-20058331
Here is What You Need To Check Next Time You Buy Bottled Water. (2016). Retrieved May, 2016, from http://dailyhealthpost.com/bottled-water-code/