Reusable water bottles! They’re chic, trendy and a must for anyone who works out regularly, lives in an arid climate, worries about the environment, wants to know where their water came from or just to make a statement. The problem lies in knowing which ones are safe to use and which ones aren’t.
Plastic & Polycarbonate
Plastic and polycarbonate (another type of plastic) water bottles have gotten a bad reputation over the years because of the potential harm of leaching chemicals from the bottle into the water. Like with much of the news, there are studies claiming they harm and other studies claiming they don’t. There’s also some claims about you shouldn’t reuse plastic water bottles because chemicals release from the plastic as the bottle gets used over and over, breaking down in sunlight. While none of the studies are conclusive enough to answer the question as to how safe plastics are, as a safety precaution, stay away from those containing BPA for sure.
Metal water bottles come in both aluminum and stainless steel. Both are considered safer to use than plastic although often times, many aluminum water bottles have a plastic lining on the inside, so you are still being exposed to the plastic. Stainless steel bottles are safe if purchased from the right manufacturer. Research who you are buying your stainless bottles from to make sure they are not using an inferior grade of stainless steel that might contain heavy metals as well as other types of metals that might not be good for you.
Glass is probably one of the safest materials to make water bottles out of but it does have the breakage problem. To help with this issue, many companies are making silicone or polycarbonate sleeves that fit over the glass to help protect it from breaking. Glass bottles also have the ease of being one hundred percent recyclable once you are finished with them. One issue with some glass water bottles is they cannot have extremely hot or cold liquids in them, so shop carefully when buying glass if you intend to carry more than just drinking water with you.
Biggest Safety Issue in Water Bottles
One of the biggest unsafe issues with any type of water bottle whether it’s plastic, glass or metal is bacteria getting in the water from less than safe cleaning practices. Water bottles are hard to clean because of their shape. Many people have the tendency to just rinse and reuse rather than properly washing with hot water and soap. While this may not cause any harm for a while, it only takes one batch of bad bacteria to make you very sick.
If you can, run your water bottles through the dishwasher to ensure they get clean. For all types of bottles, get a bottlebrush that fits into your bottle and clean in hot water and with soap to kill the bacteria. Allow the bottles to air-dry completely before using again to ensure that no bacteria are living.
Another way to help make your cleaning easier is to look for the newer models of water bottles that the top and bottom screw off to allow for easy cleaning. This generally solves the small neck issue and allows you really to get into the bottle easily.
Having reusable water bottles not only helps the environment but it allows you to know where your drinking water is coming from. Put a filter on your tap water and you have healthy, clean drinking water to take with you while you’re on the go. Just don’t forget to clean the filter and the water bottles properly to ensure that you don’t get sick from bacteria that likes to like in warm, wet places. Do your homework and buy the water bottle that works best for living a safely hydrated life style.