Are plastic water bottles safe to use?
In a word: Yes. New research shows that plasticizers—the chemicals used to make plastics strong yet pliable—aren’t as big a health risk as people have made them out to be. The biggest concern has involved endocrine disruptors. Bisphenol A (BPA) is probably the most widely known of these, and many manufacturers have stopped using it in products for children. However, other plasticizers are likely to pose more risk than BPA. A large-scale risk assessment conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (which has much stricter standards than the US Food and Drug Administration) found that BPA poses virtually no threat—even to young children.
As for other plasticizers, the research is inconclusive on which ones cause harm and by how much. Leaching can occur with some types of plasticizers, but it involves very small amounts and can take years. According to Neal Langerman, principal scientist and owner of the consulting firm Advanced Chemical Safety, it’s when companies perform accelerated-aging studies on such materials, subjecting the plastic to the equivalent of five to six years’ worth of use, that a small amount of additives leach into liquid stored in the plastic. Langerman said that this is a much smaller amount than would do harm, according to the available data.
BPS, aka bisphenol S, is a compound that some companies use instead of BPA, such as in BPA-free water bottles. The Tritan plastic brand, made by Eastman Chemical and used in our large-capacity plastic bottle pick, is one of these compounds. You may have heard some mutterings about Tritan, because of a 2012 lawsuit. Outside research says that the same health effects that researchers see in lab animals with BPA are present for BPS and BPF (bisphenol F, another alternative), as well. But as mentioned above, BPA is fine at the doses people are exposed to. It stands to reason based on this latest research that BPS and BPF are also safe, but only time will tell.