Many people spend a lot of money on plastic water bottles each year, so it’s only natural for those of us who do to want to reuse them. After all, not only does it seem to save us money, but it also helps us to recycle. Every year, millions of people fail to recycle their plastic bottles, and the bottles end up filling up our landfills. But is reusing plastic water bottles good for our health? As it turns out, some say it’s not good for us at all.
One of the main concerns when reusing a plastic water bottle is the build-up of bacteria on the bottle. Sometimes, you can make the bottle sanitary by washing it properly with hot water and soap. If you see any kind of dirty build-up in the bottle, it is best to let it soak in bleach overnight, but be sure the bottle has been rinsed thoroughly before using it again.
Another concern many have in regard to reusing plastic water bottles is how the bottle’s chemicals will react to elements such as heat and cold. Some people have come to the conclusion that when plastic bottles are exposed to extreme temperatures (placed in the freezer or left in the backseat of a car on a hot day, for example) they begin to release toxins called dioxins that can cause various types of cancers. On the other hand, many researchers and even the Food and Drug Administration have claimed this is simply untrue. According to the FDA, extensive testing has proven that plastic bottles that are meant to come in contact with food and beverage are safe and do not release dioxins.
Bottom Line: Reusing your water bottle probably won’t cause cancer, but if not properly cleaned, it can expose you to unhealthy bacteria. If the bottle is not meant to be used over and over, it’s probably best to use it once or twice and recycle it.