Why drinking water from plastic bottle could be harmful

New Delhi: A recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has caught the eyes of many in the medical fraternity due to the alarming results described in it, and is being widely discussed by many on social media.

According to it, “The exposure to the micro-nano plastics from regular bottled water was at the level of 105 particles per liter, which is two to three orders of magnitude more than the previously reported results merely focusing on large microplastics.”

This means that in every liter of water stored in plastic bottles, researchers found over 100,000 nanoplastic molecules, Medscape mentioned in an article. It states, “Because of their small size, these particles can enter the bloodstream, cells, and the brain, thus posing potential health risks.”

To confirm what the risks are and how to avoid them, we speak to Dr S A Rehman, General Medicine, Associate Professor, Noida International Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital.

What are the potential health risks associated with drinking water from plastic bottles?

Due to chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates that dive into the water, particularly when the bottles are exposed to heat or sunshine, Dr Rehman explains, plastic water bottles may be harmful to your health.

He continues, “Endocrine disruptors including BPA and phthalates are scientifically connected to challenges with development, reproduction, and hormone imbalances. Water that is contaminated by microplastics may cause inflammation and harm to cells.”

Referring to the research, he adds that chronic exposure to nanoparticles may increasethe risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disorders, however he reminds, the long-term effects are still being studied. “Limiting the amount of plastic usage and using filtered tap water can help lower your exposure to these dangerous particles”, he adds.

Direct and long exposure to sunlight, according to Dr Rehman, can increase the chance of developing cardiovascular disorders, such as cancer, and other harmful health outcomes. He favours the use of reusable glass or stainless steel containers instead as they can reduce these dangers and encourage improved general health.

Are there any alternatives to plastic water bottles to ensure safe and convenient hydration?

Dr Rehman mentions a number of safer and more practical options when it comes to consuming water. “Stainless steel bottles preserve the quality of the water, are strong, and contain no BPA. Because they are non-toxic and do not leach chemicals, glass bottles are still another great choice. Eco-friendly alternatives include sustainable and biodegradable plant-based or bamboo bottles.

“You can avoid using single-use bottles by installing a high-quality water filtration system at home, which guarantees access to clean, safe drinking water,” he recommends. These substitutes not only improve individual health, he stresses, but also lessen the harm that plastic waste causes to the environment.

Furthermore, he insists that spreading awareness to others through leading by example will help more people to make the switch from plastic bottles to safer options. “Include prompts to routinely consume eight glasses of water a day or more. People can lessen their use of plastic and encourage better hydration practices for the environment and themselves by implementing these adjustments,” he says.


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