Water and Plastic Bottles… So much to consider

Some people say the esterols from plastic water containers are worse for you than soda.   This seems absurd to me considering soda is typically sold in plastic or aluminum.   However, not all water is equal, nor is all plastic containers created equal.

Distilled water pulls out too many minerals and oxygen from the body and kidneys.   But it usually has no bacteria.  It usually has a neutral pH.

Bottled water usually doesn’t have the negative effects found in distilled water, but often contains chlorine and fluoride.  Some are reported to be mere tap water.  The real negative effect of bottled water is that bacteria can breed.  The pH can be either acidic, neutral or alkaline depending on the impurities.

R.O. (Reverse Osmosis) water is I believe the best… But make sure you get the kind that fluoride has been filtered out… not all units do.  The high oxygen content does make it a little acidic… which actually tends to inhibit bacterial growth. 

But any kind of water quality can be tainted by the container it is stored in. 

Now a day on the bottom of plastic containers a recycle code can be found.  It is only an imprint so it can be difficult to read at times.     This code indicates the recyclability of the plastic which in part is determined by the resin and chemicals used in the plastic.   The same substance which indicates how easily the plastic can be recycled can also help determine the likelihood of impurities leaching from the bottle into the liquid it stores.

PolyEthylene TerEphtalate, aka PETE or PET.   Most common disposable bottle, usually clear, has a porous surface which allows bacteria to accumulate.   Environmental Science and Pollution Research discovered the leaching a hormonally active chemical in water stored with this plastic.   Because of this, reusing bottles can allow bacteria to breed.  Not suggested for reuse.  Typically curbside recyclable.


High Density PolyEthylene, aka HDPE.  Commonly used for milk jugs, butter tubs, detergent bottles, and toiletries bottles.  Usually this opaque (blocking light) plastic is at risk of leaching.  Typically curbside recyclable.



PolyVinyl Chloride, aka PVC. Most commonly used for food wrap, cooking oil bottles, and plumbing pipes.  Usually a plastic since it contains phthalates which can affect hormonal receptors and development.   NEVER use when heating or cooking food and drink, especially in a microwave oven.   Typically curbside recyclable.



Low Density PolyEthylene, aka (LDPE).  Commonly used for grocery bags, bread bags, food wraps, and squeezable bottles.  Rarely accepted by curbside recycling.


Polypropylene.  Most commonly used for wide necked containers such as yogurt cups and medicine bottles.  Also found in straws, ketchup bottles and syrup bottles.  This plastic generally accepted as safe.  Increase accepted by, and is increasingly being accepted by curbside recycling.



Polystyrene, aka Styrofoam. Used for disposable containers and packages such as plates and cups.   The toxic chemicals leaching from this type of plastic is extremely worrisome.   NEVER let it touch food.. Do not use to heat up water or anything which will be ingested.   Not accepted by curbside recycling.


All other plastics.   Polycarbonate,  BPA Known as the worse of the worse in plastics, etc.  Commonly used in heavy duty plastic products such as: computers, stain resistant storage containers, etc.  But the fact is you don’t know exactly which plastic it is.   I would NEVER use it associated with drink or food in any way.   Not accepted by curbside recycling.


In general, heating or freezing in containers increase the leaching levels. 

When first introduced plastic was considered totally safe.  Now we know differently, but what could be in the other plastics that we don’t know about yet?

SO what should a person use?    My first choice would be glass.  If that isn’t possible, I would only use recyclable plastics #4 and #5 for reusable containers… and #1 in a “one time”, “in a pinch” scenario.

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