Is it safe to drink water in plastic bottles?

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A simple yet complicated answer to this question would be ‘Yes and No’

Yes, Plastics are not that simple to Judge. 
First we need to identify plastics. For that we use ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System, often abbreviated as the RIC, is a set of symbols appearing on plastic products that identify the plastic resin out of which the product is made.

The following table would give a comprehensive details on different types of plastics.

Now take a look at your plastic bottle. You should find a number to identify your material. Something like this

A detailed Discussion:

  • RIC 1 (PET) : The composition is Polyethylene Terephthalate. It is mostly used for soda bottles, water bottles, beer bottles, salad dressing containers, mouthwash bottles, and peanut butter containers. Some consider it safe, but this plastic is known to allow bacteria and flavor to accumulate. Studies have found levels of antimony (a toxic chemical) leaching from water bottles that have been placed in heat for prolonged times. So better to use it for ‘one time use only.’
  • RIC 2 (HDPE) : The composition is High density polyethylene. This is mostly used for milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, detergent bottles, motor oil bottles, yogurt tubs. It is usually opaque. This plastic ‘is considered safe’ and has low risk of leaching. frigidaire eptwfu01 refrigerator water filter
  • RIC 3 (PVC) : The composition is Polyvinyl Chloride. This is used to make food wrap, plumbing pipes, shower curtains, pool toys and detergent bottles. These contain phthalates, which are linked to numerous health issues ranging from developmental problems to miscarriages. It also contains DEHA (Bis(2-ethylhexyl) adipate) which is carcinogenic on prolong exposure. These plastics are not at all safe for use.
  • RIC 4 (LDPE) : The composition is Low Density Polyethylene. They are used for squeezable bottles, shopping bags, clothing, carpet, frozen food, bread bags, and some food wraps. It can be found translucent or opaque. It is flexible and tough but breakable. This is considered to be safe.
  • RIC 5 (PP) : The composition is Polypropylene. These are used in yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, and medicine bottles. Most PP are microwavable safe and dishwasher safe (does not indicate a safe practice, just an indication of the plastic not melting due to heat). This is considered to be safe.
  • RIC 6 (PS) : The composition is Polystyrene. They are used for compact disc cases, egg cartons, meat trays, and disposable plates and cups. Styrene is considered as an carcinogenic, long term exposure to small quantities of styrene can cause neurotoxichematologicalcytogenetic and other carcinogenic effects. These are not at all safe.
  • RIC 7 (Other) : It’s a mix bag of plastics that includes polycarbonate, which contains the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA). These are used to make sunglasses, iPod cases, computer cases, nylon, 3- and 5-gallon water bottles, and bullet-proof materials. This ‘should be avoided’ as it contains hormone disruptors like BPA, which has been linked to infertility, hyperactivity, reproductive problems, and other health issues. ge water filter


Since bottles are usually made of RIC 1 and 2, use RIC 1 for single use only while RIC 2 can be used for multiple use.

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