Bottled water can be harmful: Switch to metal water bottles instead

Your water bottle may contain 2,40,000 toxic plastic pieces, finds a new study. Let’s find out if using metal water bottles is better than using plastic ones.

Disposable plastic bottles are easily available and are convenient to carry. But drinking water from such bottles might mean that you are letting thousands of potentially toxic tiny plastic particles pass through your body. A new study has revealed that on average, one liter of bottled water consists of 2,40,000 plastic bits that are detectable. These are known as nanoplastics, which may be harmful to your health. Since there are so many health risks of plastic bottles, you might want to consider switching to metal water bottles to stay hydrated and safe.

The study on plastic bottles was published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. Researchers noted that microplastics and nanoplastics have raised health concerns, with nanoplastics believed to be more toxic. That’s because their smaller size makes them much more amenable, in comparison to microplastics, to enter our body.

What are the health risks of drinking water from plastic bottles?

Drinking from plastic bottles may pose health risks due to potential exposure to microplastics, says general physician Dr Sanjay Kumar. However, more studies need to be done on the harmful effects of nanoplastics on your health, but it is better to avoid plastic bottles.

plastic water bottle
It is not safe to use plastic water bottles. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Here are the health risks of plastic bottles you should know about:

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1. Microplastic ingestion

Plastic bottles may release microplastics into the water, which can be ingested and accumulate in the body over time. These particles may lead to various health issues, as they carry harmful chemicals.

2. Chemical leaching

Plastic bottles can leach harmful chemicals, such as BPA (bisphenol A), into the water. BPA is known to disrupt hormonal balance and has been linked to reproductive issues and developmental problems, says the expert.

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3. Environmental toxins

Plastics can absorb environmental toxins, and when consumed, these toxins may negatively impact health. Long-term exposure to such contaminants can contribute to chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory issues, neurological disorders, and metabolic disorders.

4. Potential carcinogens

Certain chemicals found in plastics, such as phthalates and styrene, are potential carcinogens. They may contribute to the development of various cancers, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and cancers related to the reproductive system. The mechanisms involve the disruption of hormonal balance and cellular processes, increasing the likelihood of cancerous growth, explains the expert.

Should you switch to mental water bottles?

Now that you know that there are many health risks of using plastic bottles, you might want to switch to metal water bottles. They are generally made of stainless steel and copper and considered safer alternatives than plastic bottles.

Here are some benefits of using copper water bottles:

  • Copper is antimicrobial and may have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Drinking water stored in copper bottles can aid digestion.
  • It may boost immunity, which will help you keep your overall health in check.
  • It can promote overall well-being.
drinking water from copper bottle
Using copper water bottles has some side effects. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

But you should use it in moderation due to copper toxicity. Excessive copper intake can lead to nausea and vomiting, says Dr Kumar. Copper may also react with acidic drinks, potentially compromising its safety.

Here are some benefits of stainless steel water bottles:

  • Stainless steel is non-reactive, meaning it doesn’t leach harmful substances into the contents.
  • Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and wear, ensuring longevity.
  • Such bottles are easy to clean and maintain.

Stainless steel water bottles are generally considered the safest option. They are non-reactive and do not leach harmful substances into the contents. But look for bottles labeled as “food-grade” stainless steel to ensure the highest safety standards.

What to keep in mind while drinking water from a metal bottle?

Before you buy a metal water bottle, make sure you keep the following points in mind:

  • Clean the bottle regularly with a brush to prevent the build-up of bacteria or odours.
  • Be cautious with hot liquids to prevent burns and consider insulated metal bottles to control temperature.
  • Ensure the bottle is made from food-grade stainless steel to minimise the risk of contamination.
  • If the bottle has seals or gaskets, replace them if they show signs of wear to maintain a tight seal and prevent leaks.

Always consider individual preferences, needs, and health conditions while choosing a water bottle.