Most of us don’t think twice about refilling our plastic water bottles. After all, it’s all in the name of personal hydration—plus, it’s eco-friendly! And there’s absolutely nothing harmful about a simple bottle of water, right? (Just make sure you’re not leaving your bottled water in a hot car—here’s why.)
Wrong! That plastic water bottle could actually do your body more harm than good. Why? You can thank Bisphenol A (commonly known as BPA), a chemical used to manufacture plastics, for your water woes. This harmful chemical can leach into the water and quickly grow dangerous bacteria in the bottle’s cracks. (It’s another good reason to stay away from straws, too.) And the health consequences are pretty serious.
Researchers have linked BPA to a wide range of health issues. This includes certain endocrine disorders that affect both male and female fertility, increasing the risk of certain hormone-dependent cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer, as well as a tie to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women.
FabrikaSimf/ ShutterstockScience just proved it, too! In a study conducted by Treadmill Reviews, researchers tested water bottles used by athletes for a week and found that the bacteria count reached more than 900,000 colony-forming units per square centimeter, on average. Get this: That’s more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Plus, 60 percent of those germs were able to make people sick. Gross!
To hydrate without harm, smart drinkers should avoid re-using disposable bottles. Instead, you should recycle them after drinking up once; or, better yet, invest in a BPA-free plastic bottle or one made from glass or stainless steel. Not only will doing so benefit your health, but you can help the environment, too. Learn how often you should wash your reusable water bottle.
If you need another reason to pass on the plastic, here’s the scary reason why water bottles have an expiration date.