Good Question: Can Water Bottles Be Toxic?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

I received an e-mail from a viewer asking specifically about reusing plastic water bottles. The viewer wants to know if plastic water bottles left in cars and other warm places can release toxins into the water that cause cancer.

Good question.

The questions surrounding the reuse of plastic water bottles. Like the bottles themselves, the information gets recycled and redistributed.

Viral e-mails claiming that reusing water bottles can cause cancer have been making the rounds for years. Some say that freezing the water bottle or leaving it in a car where it gets hot releases a toxin that is known to be cancerous to humans.

So, is it true?

Yes and no.

Dr. Rolf Halden of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health set the record straight in 2004. As for a frozen water bottle releasing dioxins that cause cancer, Halden says it's an urban legend. He says thre are no dioxins in plastics and that freezing actually works against the release of chemicals.

But, according to Halden, there is some danger with reused water bottles that have been exposed to heat.

He says another group of chemicals sometimes added to plastics are environmental contaminants. If you heat the plastic, you could increase the leaching of these chemicals from the container to the water.

Ingesting environmental contaminants is never a good thing when it comes to overall health and wellness.

If you have a Good Question, send it to me at or find me on Twitter . I'll answer your Good Question every Thursday on KAKE News at 10.

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