Friday, April 19, 2013

Why Are Reused Plastic Bottles a Health Risk?

Everyday you may drink out of a reused plastic bottle. It is a common domestic practice. Surprisingly this can be a health risk. Many people buy a pack of spring water at the grocery store, and once they drink it, they’ll refill the bottles back up with water or other liquids.

Clean Reused Plastic Bottles Thoroughly

The biggest health risk when you reuse these bottles is that bacteria could develop in the bottle between uses. Bacteria from your mouth is transferred into the bottle each time you use it, which will eventually contaminate the bottle. Make sure to wash the bottles thoroughly with hot water and soap in between uses. Dry them thoroughly as well. It is recommended that you only reuse a plastic bottle once to reduce the risk of bacteria growing.

When to Discard Plastic Bottles

Bottles made from plastic #1 (polyethylene terephthalate) including water, soda and juice bottles are not recommended to reuse. Most bottles sold in the US are made from this plastic because it is lightweight and durable. They are fine for one time use, but when they are in less than perfect condition they can start to become a health hazard. A common question asked by consumers is whether or not freezing a plastic bottle will cause dioxins to get inside the contents of the bottle. The answer is that there is no scientific basis to support that this will happen.

Harmful Chemicals Found in Plastic

In addition to bacteria from your mouth, the plastic itself may have chemicals in them. Chemicals in Lexan (plastic #7) bottles have caused several countries to ban the use of the plastic because it was a health concern. Another dangerous chemical found in plastic is BPA or Bisphenol A. This synthetic chemical interferes with the body’s natural hormonal messaging system. The chemical has been linked to breast and uterine cancer. BPA gets into bottles after wear and tear creates cracks in the bottle.

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