Recycling is good but it is not ideal if you are going to compromise your health and safety. This is particularly relevant if you are thinking about reusing plastic bottles. Bottled water is very popular nowadays and some of its consumers reuse and refill them as a form of recycling. Before they reuse the bottles, they wash it with hot water and soap to make sure they are clean. Nonetheless, cleaning the bottles is not a guarantee that they are safe to use. Whether you want to save or just help protect the environment, it is still important to consider your health and safety before you reuse plastic bottles.
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Reused plastic bottles have high levels of bacteria due to hand and mouth contacts. Thus, this creates humid conditions which encourage the growth of bacteria. Though cleaning the water bottles with soap and drying them may seem okay, it is still not safe to reuse them since washing the bottles are found to damage the bottles’ structure which helps release chemical compounds. Remember that bacteria grow fast in warm and moist environment and washing those plastic bottles everyday is just a simple way of welcoming all those bacteria that you eventually will absorb once you drink from such containers.
While you may absorb bacteria from plastic bottles, your drinks may also be contaminated by reusing these containers. Most plastic bottles contain BPA or Bisphenol A, a synthetic chemical which is known to be dangerous since it imitates the body’s own hormones. This chemical can be detrimental to your health and can lead to serious health problems like brain problems, heart problems and even cancer. When you drink contaminated water, you are likely to experience stomach and gastrointestinal illnesses like diarrhea, cramps, vomiting and nausea. Nonetheless, the severity of drinking contaminated water depends on how long you have been drinking it. Apparently, the longer you’ve been consuming contaminated water, the more serious your health problem can be. This is why it is always smart to check if the food and water containers you are going to buy are free of Bisphenol A.
Some studies also found that reusing plastic bottles can leach toxic chemicals. This is most particular when the bottles are being washed as the moist increase raises the chance of chemicals to develop in the container. Though most bottle companies say their products are BPA free, it does not guarantee safety since most plastic bottles and containers contain harmful chemicals apart from BPA. In point of fact, a testing company CertiChem revealed in their study that most plastic containers may release certain chemicals that are dangerous to health. They tested 450 plastic items and found that 70 percent of them released hormone-like chemicals. These chemicals acted like estrogen once the containers are dish washed or put into microwave. Therefore, when these types of bottle are reused (especially repetitively), the person using them will be exposed to harmful chemicals that bring serious illnesses.
Safe type of bottles
Though most plastic bottles are susceptible to bacteria and harmful chemicals, there is still a type of bottle that is safe to use. This is plastic number 4 which is also called LDPE or low-density polyethylene. This type of plastic is usually used for squeezable bottles and food packaging. LDPE plastic bottles are reusable as it is found to be less toxic than other plastics. People consider it safe for use as there are no harmful chemicals found in such plastic type. Nonetheless, it is still best not to reuse any type of plastic bottles since most of them should only be used once and are disposable. After all, you must never compromise your health and safety for anything.
What is a much safer option for reusing at home or in the office are stainless steel bottles because they are durable, lightweight, and do not leach any harmful chemicals into your beverages. They are also easy to clean and can keep your drinks cold or hot for longer periods of time.