is plastic bottled water safe

03 Feb. 20

Is Plastic Bottled Water Safe to Drink?

The bottled water trend exploded back in the late 1990s and it hasn’t turned back since. While we know more about the potential impact of water bottle plastics now than we did then it hasn’t slowed down the number of those buying bottled water from the grocery store. Why? Because many see it as superior to regular tap water. What you need to answer is whether or not this actually is true. So before you head off to the store and purchase a large case of bottled water, you first need to know – is plastic bottled water safe and better for you than filtered water at home.

Is Plastic Bottled Water Safe?

Before we head to – is plastic bottled water safe to drink, let’s have an overview of what plastic bottles are made of:


Short for Bisphenol A, this is a specific chemical used in most plastic containers designed to help maintain the structural stability of the plastic. Basically it prevents it from falling apart. That means you have a chemical applied not only to the outside of your plastic water bottle but the inside as well.

It should be safe, right? Having a chemical application on plastic water bottles wouldn’t be approved if it wasn’t safe, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, it can be safe, but no, it’s not always safe. When a water bottle is exposed to heat (such as being left in a warm car), BPA will begin to leak into the water. If you’re exposed to this it can potentially lead to the development of cancer. Musician Cheryl Crowe said her cancer diagnosis was due to drinking from tainted water bottles.

BPA isn’t just something that leads to cancer. Because it is found in so many food containers and even in the lining of baby formula, it can lead to all kinds of health issues (especially since it is often found in “microwave safe” plastics). The chemical has started turning up in soft tissue and umbilical cords. So while this chemical can be safe, once it is exposed to heat, all bets are off.


This is a common chemical found in the use of PVC plumbing, although it is used in other plastics as well. It’s designed to help make plastics both durable and flexible without cracking and breaking. However, much like the other chemicals, it can end up in the water with rising temperatures around it. And, as is the case with other chemical applications on water bottle plastic, it can end up absorbed into the water. This may lead to anything ranging from liver cancer to sterility in men. These are all issues you can avoid by not drinking plastic bottled water.


This is short for polyethylene terephthalate. Yes, that’s a mouthful, but PET is often a recycled plastic. If you purchase a water bottle that was made from recycled plastics it likely will be PET. It’s good the plastic is being reused, but a second-generation piece of plastic will never be as durable as the first. Not to mention plastics can be difficult, if not impossible to fully clean. That is why according to a number of researchers and thorough reports, PET can contain anything from saliva to fecal matter within the plastics. While you will likely not become sick from PET, do you really want to be using this kind of plastic in your bottled water? It’s better than the potential of developing cancer, but the possible fecal matter isn’t a great alternative.

What Is Used On Your Plastic Water Bottles

There are some codes printed on plastics that will indicate a number of specifics regarding what plastic you are using. So it is possible to look at your bottle of water to see. There will be the classic triangle recycled logo on your bottle of water somewhere. In the middle of this logo, there will be a number. All plastics fall under one of 7 “plastic codes”. So the number will tell you which your water bottle is.

Code 1 is PETE, or polyethylene and is one of the most commonly used plastics that soft drinks and bottled water come in. So, typically, the plastic you are drinking form will be code one. However, it may be code 3, which is PVC, or code 4 if it is coming from a recycled source. Additionally, it is possible your water bottle might have multiple codes due to the difference in plastic used on the cap and in the bottle itself.

So Is Plastic Bottled Water Safe?

After going through the different potential issues regarding water bottles, you may already know the answer to “is plastic bottled water safe?” Yes, it is approved for use to store water, but that doesn’t mean it is truly safe. In fact, all plastics have an expiration date because after this date the chemicals found within the water can begin to seep into the drinking water. Due to this, it is a better idea to try and avoid any kinds of plastics with your drinking water. Instead, if you do need to buy water for on the go, look to aluminum, cardboard, or some other material that is not coated in chemicals to maintain the structural integrity.

The Best Option is Filtered Water

Plastic bottles are handy. It’s easy to pick one up and to use it on the go. However, there are a number of potential problems regarding plastic water bottles, especially those that are on the older side. Many have considered the question of is plastic bottled water safe, and while it can be, nothing will ever be as safe (or as refreshing) as filtered water.

So, if you’ve been buying bottled water at home to improve the water quality, now is the time to give Quality Water of the Carolinas a call. A home water purification system will improve the quality of your water, cut down your exposure to the negatives of plastic, improve your carbon footprint, and save you money over buying water bottles as well. It’s truly the best thing you can do for yourself and the environment.