Consumer Tips \ Healthy Skeptic

Are Used Plastic Bottles Safe for Drinking Water?

"Oh yeah I've read something on the Internet about that, that the plastic in the bottle breaks down and you shouldn't reuse it. So especially for these guys I'm not going to do it. "

This is one I hear often: The concern that disposable bottles, when reused, break down and release cancer-causing chemicals. You may have heard it too, thanks to widely-circulated rumors on the Internet.

One email message, for example, warns of "poisoning" from "repeated" washing and rinsing.

Another claims that drinking water from bottles left in a hot car can cause breast cancer.

And yet another says that freezing bottles can release toxic substances called dioxins.

It turns out that all these claims are false.

While there's no evidence that re-used plastic bottles are toxic or cause cancer, there is a real risk you should be aware of: they can harbor bacteria and potentially make you sick if they're not cleaned properly.

That means washing them after each use with hot soapy water—ideally using a scrubber—and letting them air dry.

It's best not to use the dishwasher, as this may melt or otherwise damage the plastic.
So go ahead and refill that water bottle without fear. Just be sure to clean it first. You'll be saving some money and perhaps helping the environment too.

This entry last modified on: January 25, 2013 2:29 PM

Comments: (2)

I keep 4 bottles half filled with water in my freezer. We fill them with added water when using--this gives us cold water to sip on for several hours. The bottles are easy to fill from the tap, a large water container, a filtered water tap, etc. We replace the bottles in the freezer as used with other half-filled bottles. I then wash the bottles in hot, soapy water (they are the 1st thing in my dishwater), rinse well and let air dry upside down in the dish drainer. I have about a dozen bottles on hand--some in the freezer, some in the dish drainer, etc., etc. Also, we wrap (and scotch tape) a paper towel around the lower half of the bottles when using--this keeps the condensation from dripping all over anything. This has resulted in my family drinking a lot more water throughout the day--we also now grab a bottle to take with us instead of stopping to buy a soda, etc. while on the go.

Thank you so much for this! I haven’t been this moved by a blog for a long time!I am waiting for your next post too.
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About the Video

Are reused plastic bottles hazardous to your health? Our Healthy Skeptic separates truth from rumors.


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