By Allie Byrd
University of Georgia
In freezer, use plastics designed for freezingOther plastic bottle concerns focus on whether the bottles should be used in the freezer. Again, Andress said, studies in this area are not yet conclusive. “We would not automatically expect freezing to cause a problem unless the plastic itself goes through some breakdown,” she said. “But repeated freezing and thawing of plastic not intended to be used that way could lead to structural breakdown.” Until research studies determine an actual health risk related to plastic water bottles, there are ways to reduce your family’s health risks, she said. Although pre-filled water bottles in the grocery stores and vending machines are not deemed chemically unsafe if used repeatedly, they are not intended to last structurally through prolonged re-use.
Use pre-filled bottles onceAndress discourages repeated use of these bottles. Above all, she recommends using plastic bottles only as the manufacturer intended. If you do choose to buy and use a polycarbonate plastic bottle for water and other liquids, Andress says to take steps to reduce any microbiological risks. Wash the bottle with warm soapy water every day. Use a clean bottle brush to clean in and around the bottle neck. Scrub the lids with a bottle brush, too. Rinse well and allow the bottle and lid to air dry.
(Allie Byrd is a writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)