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  Plastic bottle use over long time affects health

Plastic bottle use over long time affects health

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Nov 3, 2015, 12:15 am IST
Updated : Nov 3, 2015, 12:15 am IST

Using the same polyethylene terephthalate or plastic bottles for storing and drinking water for a year or more is injurious to health.

Using the same polyethylene terephthalate or plastic bottles for storing and drinking water for a year or more is injurious to health.

Experts said it leads to fungal infections, ulcers, skin diseases, hypersensitivity, indigestion, and liver dysfunction. Plastic bottles that are used for a long time accumulate a layer of fungus at the bottom and on the sides. They also smell bad, indicating bacteria growth.

 

General physician Dr Hari Kishan said, “When there is a foul smell coming from the bottle it means that there is bacterial growth in it. Also, the bottles in which drinking water is packaged have very thin plastic and they are to be used and thrown. But we find people using them for months together, which is wrong. One should use the bottles which are available specifically for storing water but they too must be washed once in two days, dried and cleaned properly from inside and only then reused.”

Experts say that even these bottles must be used only for six to eight months and then discarded. The National Test House in Kolkata had conducted test on plastic bottles storing milk, juice and also carbonated drinks in 2014 and it was found that there was a significant increase in heavy metals and phthalate leaching when the temperatures rose to 60 C.

 

General physician Dr Nikhil Mathur said, “Too much use of plastic in everyday life for food, water, juices, carbonated drinks and then reusing these same bottles for storing of water is posing a health risk for the users. The reuse of bottles and also the presence of variety of plastics in our day-to-day life for food is suspected to be one of the contributory factors for the increase in endocrine problems like thyroid and hormonal imbalance.”

While the thicker plastic bottles are stated to be reusable, experts say that the possibility of bad bacteria accumulating in case of not washing properly is always there. Experts also suggest that the drinking water bottles must be kept in lukewarm water and sterilised to ensure that all bacteria are dead. But even if this process is followed, the life of the bottle will not be more than six months.

 

Also, drying the bottle completely before re-using is important. Nutritionist Rashmi Chaudhary said, “Plastics tend to absorb the smell of washing liquids and there are chances of residues remaining if it is not rinsed properly. For that reason, drying of bottles is very important. If the smell persists even drying, then it is important to re-wash and dry it again. Immediate reuse of the washed bottle is not recommended as the residues can lead to contamination of water or the storing material.” Type of plastic 1) Polycarbonate with Bisphenol A used for making water bottles is found to cause impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems according to research carried out by scientists for Environment California. 2) Polyethelyne is used in water bottles and storing of carbonated drinks, which is suspected by scientists to be carcinogenic. Alternate arrangements: 1) Glass bottles for storing water are being recommended as it will not have fungal growth or bad smell. It will also not accumulate any toxic chemicals. 2) Do not store water for too long and practice the healthy option of taking water directly from the source, which could be water filters.

 

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad