Is It Safe To Drink From Plastic Bottles?

Plastic bottles are everywhere. According to Reuters, 1.3 billion plastic bottles are sold each day, and more than 481 billion plastic bottles are sold each year. And we know these bottles are not good for the environment. National Geographic reported that 80% of all plastic bottles end up in landfills, where they give off chemicals as they break down. Yet, even armed with this knowledge, we all guzzle down drinks — water, soda, energy drinks — from them just the same. Why? Because beverages in plastic bottles are convenient. 

When you're on the go, whether that means picking up multiple kids from practices or going for a hike with friends, bottled water can be your best friend. But some researchers have been wondering — if these plastic bottles are not good for our world, perhaps they aren't safe for us to be drinking from either. Per U.S. News, water from plastic bottles can contain microplastics. In fact the outlet states that, according to a study out of the State University of New York in Fredonia, 93% of water tested from plastic bottles had microplastics swimming in it. 

But are these particles worth us stressing over? Does drinking water out of a plastic bottle really pose a threat or risk to our health? 

Wash your plastic bottles

The Thomas Reuters Foundation points out that we could actually be consuming a lot of plastic via microplastics during the course of a lifetime —44 pounds, to be exact. This number is largely made up of the beverages we consume from plastic bottles and from seafood that has consumed plastic particles discarded in the ocean, which are subsequently passed back to us through our favorite shrimp and shellfish dishes. (That doesn't sound very appetizing or safe.)

But, according to the Cancer Council in Australia, drinking out of plastic bottles should not put your health in danger. The organization explains that plastic bottles are just as safe as any other type of bottle from which you might drink. They further elaborate that, if there's any leaching or microplastic particles in your beverage, they are probably miniscule. However, they also point out that, if there is one potential health risk associated with plastic bottles, it's the environment these bottles can create for bacteria and fungi to grow if you reuse them and do not clean them out frequently. So, definitely break out the soap, hot water, and some elbow grease with each use.