Reusing your plastic water bottles could have disastrous consequences for your health

Protecting the environment by reusing your plastic water bottles? Be careful, this habit could be harmful to your health. Here is what you should know.

Reusing your plastic water bottles could have disastrous consequences for your health
© Alfira Poyarkova / Getty Images
Reusing your plastic water bottles could have disastrous consequences for your health

In the aim of reducing plastic waste, we're all keen to reuse our plastic water bottles. Whether for sport, work or travel, refilling an already-used water bottle is a common practice. Let's take a closer look at this habit, which we all do to benefit our planet, but which is actually harmful to our health!

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The different types of plastic used for water bottles

PET: Polyethylene Terephthalate

Commonly used for water bottles, PET is a transparent, lightweight plastic that is considered environmentally friendly because it is 100% recyclable. However, its porosity makes it vulnerable to the proliferation of bacteria. Every time you drink directly from the bottle, you deposit bacteria from your mouth on the neck, and even by unscrewing the cap, micro-organisms can contaminate the inside of the bottle. What's more, most of us don't clean the bottle with disinfectants after each use!

HDPE: High Density Polyethylene

The second criminal is HDPE! This is a tougher, more durable plastic used for certain liquid containers, such as laundry detergent or hand soap. Although it's less porous than PET, it's not designed for frequent reuse. When you reuse an HDPE bottle, it can deteriorate over time and cracks can form, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth. This opens the door to minor problems such as mouth ulcers, cold sores...

PC: Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate bottles, marked with the number 7, are designed to be reused. However, they may contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical of serious concern. BPA is associated with endocrine disruption, and many people avoid BPA-containing products because of their potential impact on hormonal balance.

Reusing plastic water bottles is bad for your health Steve Johnson / Unsplash

Read more:Hot water bottles: What you need to be careful of

The dangers of chemicals diluted in drinking water

Reusing plastic bottles can lead to the dilution of chemical substances, such as Bisphenol A, in the water you consume. These substances can migrate from the plastic into the water, especially if the bottle is exposed to hot conditions, such as when left in a hot car. When you drink this contaminated water, you may ingest these chemical substances, posing long-term health risks.

Plastic bottles as a nest for bacteria

Plastic bottles, even those designed to be reused, can become cozy little nests for germs. Bacteria from your mouth and hands settle on the bottle surfaces and multiply rapidly. Every time you reuse the bottle without cleaning it properly, you increase the risk of ingesting these bacteria, which can lead to health problems such as gastrointestinal infections.

The importance of proper bottle cleaning

To prevent the proliferation of bacteria, it's essential to clean reusable bottles properly. Wash them with soap and hot water after each use, and use white vinegar for its antibacterial properties. Be sure to rinse the bottle thoroughly to remove any soap or vinegar residue (especially to avoid the bitter taste of these products).

In conclusion, reusing a plastic bottle may seem convenient, but it carries health risks. To protect your health and the environment, opt for safer alternatives such as glass bottles. By adopting good hygiene practices and avoiding the reuse of plastic bottles, you're helping to preserve your well-being and the planet.

Read more:Never leave your water bottle in the car: It can be a potential fire hazard!

This article has been translated from Oh!MyMag FR.

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