Water Industry News

Urban Legends about Plastic Bottles

In August 2001 Perrier, the world's leading bottle water company, moved away from the iconic trademark glass bottle, which for almost 100 years has set the design standard in mineral water packaging. The company launched a ˝ liter format in PET plastic.

PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic resin and a form of polyester. PET is the type of plastic labeled with the code “1” on or near the bottom of bottles and containers and is commonly used to package soft drinks, water, juice, peanut butter, salad dressing, oil, cosmetics and household cleaners.

Manufacturers use PET plastic to package products because of its strength, thermo-stability and transparency. Customers choose PET because it is inexpensive, lightweight, reseal able, shatter-resistant and recyclable. Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) can be used to make many new products.

The only concern with the reuse of plastic bottles is that people can easily spread and ingest bacteria by re-using bottles without properly washing them or allowing them sufficient time to dry.

Urban legends about plastic bottles:

“Avoid freezing water in plastic bottles so as not to get exposed to carcinogenic dioxins”.

Scientists agree that there are no dioxins in plastics additionally freezing actually works against the release of chemicals as they do not diffuse as readily in cold temperatures.

“Reusing plastic water bottles (PET) can cause them to break down into carcinogenic compounds (diethylhydroxylamine or DEHA).”

According to the IBWA the basis for this claim was a college student's master’s thesis that was not subject to peer review. DEHA, as mentioned in the paper is neither regulated nor classified as a human carcinogen. Further, DEHA is not inherent in PET plastic as raw material, byproduct or decomposition product. DEHA has been cleared by FDA for food contact applications and would not pose a health risk even if present.