What migrates from your bottle to the water you drink

What migrates from your bottle to the water you drink

Ideal health is largely a product of lifestyle choices, and a significant part of an optimal and healthy diet is drinking healthfully. This is especially true when it comes to meals and hydration while on the go out in nature, since you often need to bring your water with you. The problem is that water bottles can “leach” substances into the liquid they are holding. The process of elements in the bottle material itself migrating into the water, and being consumed by you, is known as “leaching”. Leaching wouldn’t be a problem if the things entering into the water were neutral or beneficial for the body. But that’s not always the case.

There are two important factors here. 1) What is leaching into the water? 2) How much leaches into the water (and that is often affected by the temperature of the water)? To be completely fair, many compounds that are tolerated, or even good for the body at low levels can still produce toxicity at higher levels. Take iron for example. Everybody needs iron in their diet, but every year, people overdose and die from ingesting supplemental iron tablets. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!

Keeping this principle of toxicity in mind, let’s now compare the elements that leach into glass and plastic water bottles.

  • Elements that leach from glass into the drinking water: Ag, Al, As, B, Ba, Ca, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Fe, Ga, Ge, K, La, Li, Mg, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, Se, Sn, Sr, Ti, U, V, W and Zr
  • Elements that leach from plastic into the drinking water: Sb

At a surface level glance, when you don’t know what all those letters represent, you may easily come to the conclusion that plastic must be safer than glass, but that would not be correct. This study showed that for glass bottles, maximum allowable concentration values as defined by European authorities were not exceeded even after 1 week of leaching at 80 °C. Safely within the established safety limits.

For a reference point on temperature, 45 °C is the critical temperature limit where leaching substantially increases for many elements. A water bottle left in a car on a sunny summer day can easily reach this temperature.

“Yes, but what about plastic bottles?” The only element which leaches out of the plastic and into the water is Sb, also known as Antimony. Antimony is quite toxic! “Sb concentrations observed in water after 1 week storage at 80 °C reach almost four times the maximum admissible concentration values for drinking water” established by European authorities. Due to the the leaching of toxic antimony from water bottles, a different study concluded that “the use of alternative types of plastics that do not leach antimony should be considered.” Why not just go for a safe, non-toxic gratitude bottle instead?

Justin N. for Gratitudebottles