What You Always Need To Check For Before Buying Bottled Water
Marilyn Caylor 2/22/2017
These days, it's not uncommon to meet people who will only drink bottled water. In fact, the popularity of bottled water has gone through the roof in the past couple of decades due to perceived health concerns about tap water. Yet, bottled water may not always be the healthier alternative we think it is.
It turns out that bottled water comes with a dark secret that you need to know about.
The vast majority of bottled water that is sold in gas stations and grocery stores comes in single serving sized plastic bottles, or large gallon jugs. By now we've all heard about BPA (bisphenol-A) and how this chemical mimics estrogen, which has a negative impact on our children's health. But, the dangers of drinking from plastic water bottles doesn't end with just this one chemical.
Have you ever looked at the bottom of a plastic container, and noticed a triangle that is accompanied by numbers or letters? Well, this identification system is your clue to determining whether or not your water is actually safe enough to drink.
#1 - PET or PETE (High-Density Polyethylene)
PET is the most commonly used plastic that is found in water bottles. It is meant to be used only once, since repeated use increases the chances that harmful substances can leach into your water. Bacterial growth can also get out of hand if you keep re-using the same water bottle. So when you're done drinking the water, recycle the bottle and move onto the next one.
#2 - HDP or HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
HDPE plastic is pretty much the safest type out there. It's the stiff type of plastic that is used to make gallon sized water and milk jugs. It won't wear down very much after repeated use, and it also won't leach chemicals in your water. Whenever possible, buy bottled water that comes with the HDPE symbol!
#3 - PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
You may be more familiar with PVC from the inexpensive PVC piping that you can get at your local home improvement store. However, this has been dubbed the "poison plastic" because it's prone to leaching pretty much all of its toxins. Thankfully bottled water isn't made from this material, but you should be careful about drinking tap water that may have come from PVC pipes. That includes keeping pets and kids away from it, too!
#4 - LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
LDPE plastic is used to make shrink wrap and the plastic that your bread is packaged in. It's a relatively safe type of plastic that is also found in squeeze bottles, like mustard or ketchup.
#5 - PP (Polypropylene)
Polypropylene is tough but lightweight, which is why it's used in food packaging products. It can be found in straws, yogurt containers, and potato chip bags. It's considered safe for re-use, but unless you're drinking water out of an empty potato chip bag, then this type of plastic isn't really something you have to think twice about.
#6 - PS (Polystyrene)
Fast food restaurants commonly use clamshell take-out containers that are made from polystyrene. Convenience stores also offer foam polystyrene cups at the soda fountain. It's not found in bottled water products, but you do have to make sure you don't reheat the takeout containers in the microwave, as polystyrene can leach chemicals at high heat. To be on the safe side, you probably shouldn't drink hot coffee or tea out of foam cups either.
#7 - Other (BPA, Polycarbonate, and LEXAN)
This type of plastic isn't just one specific kind, but if they're in this category, there are health risks associated with it. It will leach toxins into your water, and oddly enough it can be found in officer cooler water bottles. So unless you enjoy gossip, don't hang around the office water cooler and definitely don't drink from it!
Wow - I didn't know that drinking bottled water might be harmful to our health. Don't forget to check the bottom of your bottled water the next time you're at the store!