Researchers are warning against drinking water from plastic bottles if they have been sitting in a warm environment for an extended period of time.
Plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate. When heated, the material releases the chemicals antimony and bisphenol A, commonly called BPA, into the water.
While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said BPA is not a major concern at low levels found in beverage containers, it continues to study the chemical’s impacts. Some health officials say the chemical can cause negative effects on children’s health. Moreover, antimony is considered a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization.
A research team studied chemicals released in 16 US brands of bottled water kept at 70 degrees centigrade for four weeks, in what researchers deemed a ‘worst-case scenario’ for human consumption. They found that over the four-week period antimony and BPA level in the water increased, though not significantly. Though only one brand exceeded the accepted health standards for BPA levels, the researchers pointed out that this could be the result of stringent rules in place for manufacturing plastic bottles to hold drinking water. Tests with other brands, and in other places, were needed before any conclusions could be reached said the research team.
Meanwhile, the researchers warned against leaving bottled water in a hot garage for weeks on end or in the car all day during the summer. Even more attention should be given to other drinks packaged with polyethylene terephthalate plastic, such as milk, coffee and acidic juice,” the research team said, adding “We only tested the pure water. If it is acidic juice, the story may be quite different.”