Faced with the summer heat that pushes us to hydrate more than ever, many of us are tempted to refill the plastic water bottle we have just finished. A habit that is certainly ecological, but which is harmful to long-term health, according to various studies.
This is no longer a surprise: disposable bottles indeed contain plastic microparticles (much more than in tap water) which can be toxic to the body, according to various studies, such as the one recently published by The Guardian. The most common plastic used to make disposable water bottles is polyethylene terephthalate (or PET), recognizable by its number 1 printed inside a triangle and displayed on the packaging. Containing endocrine disruptors accused of modifying the proper functioning of our cells, it is accused of causing irritation of the skin and the respiratory tract, but also problems of menstruation and miscarriages in women, even of reducing fertility or cause cancer.
The major problem with reusing plastic water bottles is that over time the chemicals in that plastic mix with the liquid we put inside, a phenomenon known as chemical leaching. . Once the bottle is opened, the water quality will only deteriorate. By analyzing the water contained in these plastics, we can notably find antimony, a potentially carcinogenic metal, comparable to arsenic, according to an article by the Toxicology-Chemistry Association relayed by Futura Sciences. The longer the water is kept in this container, the more toxic materials contaminate it. And it’s even worse when the bottle is exposed to heat.
Another concern: plastic bottles can contain harmful bacteria. And filling them more than once is the guarantee of an even greater growth of germs, with deleterious effects on the body. Not to mention the bacteria present in our mouth that we deposit on the neck every time we bring it to our lips. According to a study identified by Le Dauphiné, there are thus, in a bottle reused many times, more bacteria than on a dog’s chew toy or the siphon of a sink… Appetizing.
Plastic water bottles
Even reusable plastic water bottles, solid and more ecological, would be risky because they promote the passage of toxic agents in the water, according to a study by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, published in the scientific journal Journal of Hazardous Materials. After only 24 hours, they indeed found nearly 400 chemical substances in the water contained in these gourds, including “some potentially harmful to health”, warns Professor Jan H. Christensen, co-author of the study. On the menu (not edible), for example: diethyltoluamide (or DEET), a powerful repellent present in mosquito repellent sprays, or photo-initiators, deemed carcinogenic or classified as endocrine disruptors, according to a press release from the University .
A real risk for the body, plastic bottled water has fortunately become a public health issue in recent years. As a result of the law passed in December 2019 which provides for the gradual banning of single-use plastics by 2040, bottles of still water have been banned by decree in school catering services since 2020. This is a start.
To stay hydrated without risk, it is therefore best to throw away the plastic water bottle when finished. Or better, both environmentally and economically: buy a glass or stainless steel water bottle!