I often carry a reusable water bottle with me to stay hydrated throughout the day. However, I used to be concerned about toxic chemicals leaching from the plastic into my drinking water. As a health-conscious consumer, I want to avoid exposing myself to potentially harmful substances. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to choose safer reusable bottles and keep my drinking water free of toxic chemicals.
Researching Chemicals in Popular Bottle Materials
The most common materials for reusable bottles include plastic, stainless steel, glass, and aluminum. I researched the potential chemicals used in each type and their associated health risks.
Many reusable plastic water bottles are made from polycarbonate or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Polycarbonate bottles may contain bisphenol A (BPA), which can leach into liquids. Some research links BPA to hormone issues, reproductive problems, heart disease and other conditions. PET bottles are less likely to leach chemicals, but can still transfer antimony into water when exposed to heat or prolonged use.
Stainless Steel Bottles
100% stainless steel bottles are generally considered safe. But some may have plastic or epoxy liners that can contain BPA or phthalates. Low quality steel may also leach trace metals like nickel into drinks.
Borosilicate glass like Pyrex is ideal for reusable bottles. It’s free of chemicals like BPA and phthalates. The inert glass also doesn’t leach metals or impart tastes. But it’s breakable if dropped. Soda-lime glass is more durable but may contain aluminum or lead.
Aluminum itself is harmless to drink from. But some aluminum bottles have plastic linings or epoxy coatings containing BPA. Uncoated aluminum may expose water to aluminum as well.
Identifying the Safest Reusable Bottle Materials
Based on my research, here are the key factors I look for to avoid toxic chemicals in my reusable water bottle:
- 100% stainless steel construction, with no plastic liners or epoxy coatings
- Borosilicate glass bottles that are BPA-free
- Unlined aluminum bottles made of food-grade metal
I avoid polycarbonate plastic due to potential BPA and PET plastic because it can leach antimony over time. Low quality stainless steel and uncoated aluminum may also leach small amounts of metal into water.
Tips for Using Your Reusable Bottle Safely
Here are some best practices I follow to prevent chemical leaching when using my reusable stainless steel bottle:
- Handwash only – Dishwasher heat can degrade plastic liners over time.
- Don’t freeze – Freezing may cause plastic liners to crack and leach chemicals.
- Avoid heat – Heating plastic bottles can increase chemical leaching. I don’t leave mine in hot cars.
- Replace older bottles – Plastic degrades over 1-2 years increasing chemical leaching risks.
- Use only for water – Storing other beverages may cause residual flavors or chemical transfer.
Being mindful of how I clean and store my bottle helps minimize chemical exposure from liners and coatings.
The Healthiest Choices Are Simple and Durable
The best reusable water bottles for avoiding toxins are simple borosilicate glass and stainless steel bottles with no linings or coatings. Choosing BPA-free plastic or unlined aluminum bottles can also eliminate the worst chemicals if glass or steel isn’t practical. With proper care and replacement, these inert materials virtually eliminate the risks of chemical leaching into my drinking water. Using a safe reusable bottle gives me peace of mind knowing I’m making a healthy choice.