Friday 18 February 2022

‘Reusable plastic bottles release hundreds of chemicals’

‘Reusable plastic bottles release hundreds of chemicals’

Tap water stored in reusable plastic bottles has hundreds of different chemical substances stored inside.

That’s according to research from the University of Copenhagen, which has found there may be a darker reason for the strange taste to water that has been kept in a plastic bottle for a while.

Chemists from the University conducted an experiment to find out how many chemicals were found in the bottles after 24 hours.

Professor Jan H. Christensen, working on the project revealed: “There were hundreds of substances in the water – including substances never before found in plastic, as well as substances that are potentially harmful to health. After a dishwasher cycle, there were several thousand.”

Most of the substances found in the bottles have not been identified by the chemists, with the toxicity level of 70% remaining unknown.

One of the agents released from the bottles was Diethyltoluamide or DEET, which is the active substance in mosquito spray.

Washing the bottles after use actually led to the release of more chemicals.

Second researcher Selina Tisler explained: “What is released most after machine washing are the soap substances from the surface. Most of the chemicals that come from the water bottle itself remain after machine washing and extra rinsing.

“The most toxic substances that we identified actually came after the bottle had been in the dishwasher - presumably because washing wears down the plastic and thereby increases leaching.”

The researchers did caveat their findings with a statement that they could not be sure that all substances found are of harm to human health, as they were unaware of what they were.

However, Selina Tisler did conclude: “The problem is that we just don't know – and in principle, it isn’t all that great to be drinking soap residues or other chemicals.”

Study results were published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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