Reusing plastic water bottles is bad for you?

I’ve heard this a couple of times recently, that refilling cheap plastic water bottles can cause “something” to leech out of the plastic and into the water.

Is there any truth to this? What is it that’s supposed to happen? If true, how long can you keep a bottle before you should discard it?

(I searched and couldn’t find a previous thread on this, but if it’s out there, please linky-link.)


Snopes says no.

I hope not, I reuse all the time, 7-8 refills per bottle.

I’d say the biggest danger to resuing plastic bottles is bacteria growth - which is avoidable by washing things and not storing water for weeks at a time. Fill a bottle up in the morning the water will still be drinkable by nightfall. If it’s been in the bottle long enough to turn green or some other color don’t drink it.

It’s a misprint. Re-using plastic bottles is bad for the bottling companies.

You may as well refill your water bottle with tap water. That’s what you bought in it the first time. The only “leeching” going on is the bottlers sucking money from your wallet.

If you leave a plastic bottle full of tap water in your truck for six to eight months, and then take a sip, the water will taste funny. Lesser times, not so much.

The snopes article is not very useful here: it is referring to the bottles breaking down over time and releasing DEHA into the contents.

The current worry is over a compound called bisphenol-A or BPA for short. Try doing a google search for “BPA plastic”.

The stuff is only supposed to leach out of certain types of plastic. Bottles and containers said to be free of both BPA and phthalates are the ones with numbers 2, 4 and 5 in the recycling triangle.

There is reputable science behind the idea that long term build-up can could cause reproductive problems in both men and women, based on studies of mice and rats.

AFAIRemember, all the plastics-industry-backed studies show no danger, and all the others say, “there could be a problem, give us lots more money so we can be more sure”.

Daily Telegraph article here. .

But why would re-using a bottle present any greater chance of leeching than buying a new botle each time.
I would have thought that the majority of leeching would occur on first contact with water on the plastic and reduce with each subsequent use.

Also, it is anybody’s guess how long the water resides in the bottle between first fill and first drink. After being refilled I’d expect it to be consumed relatively quickly, a few days at most. After that, who would want it?

From what I’ve heard, the problem is in freezing the bottle with water inside. It’s supposed to be the freezing that lets the chemical leech out. Just what I’ve heard, take it for what it’s worth.

You’ve obviously never tasted Santa Barbara tap water. It’s nearly undrinkable. I had a huge carbon filter installed on my house so that my water doesn’t taste like chlorine. Bottled water may be from a tap but at least it’s filtered.

Brand new bottles are going to be very smooth and undamaged on the inside. As they age, are washed, dented etc, small scratches and imperfections will increase in number. Also, UV light will cause most plastics to break down over time into their component monomers.

Such locations are the places where a dissolved compound comes out of solution and vice versa.

Depends on the brand and the bottle. Spring water comes from a spring. Filtered water has been filtered. Remineralized water has had minerals added. Imported water is from outside the country. None of those are the same as tap water.

Whether the difference in taste is worth the cost is entirely subjective.

Maybe because the water would expand, damaging the inside surface, and due to scratching of the inside by ice crystals.