Last updated: 8/16/2021
Scientists from Nanjing University in China and the University of Florida conducted a study on the effects of storing bottled water at 3 different temperatures: 39°F, 77°F, and 158°F to mimic the temperatures of a refrigerator, a standard room, and the inside of a car on a hot summer day. The researchers then checked the levels of 2 substances commonly found in plastic water bottles:
- Antimony: A toxic heavy metal that studies show poses both acute and chronic health effects in drinking water
- Bisphenol-A (BPA): A synthetic compound believed to be an endocrine disruptor
During their experiment, Chinese researchers monitored how levels of antimony and bisphenol changed after 1, 2, and 4 weeks at the respective temperatures. Here’s what they found.
As the temperature rose and time passed, increasingly high levels of antimony were detectable in the bottles of water. Seventy-seven degrees, in particular, saw the release of antimony increased by almost twice that at the cooler temperatures. However, at 158°F – the inside of a car on a typical summer day – antimony concentrations increased by 319-fold compared to the levels of the bottled water at the refrigerator temperature. The BPA levels also rose at this temperature but not to high concentrations.
Dangers of Antimony in Water
Short-term exposure (days or weeks) to high levels of antimony in water (above 30 mg/L) can lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Chronic, long-term exposure to the substance may cause more serious health issues. According to a 2009 study from Birmingham City University in the UK, antimony may play a role in the lung, heart, and gastrointestinal diseases.
Antimony is present in bottled waters because it is used as a catalyst in PET production. And, as you saw in the research above, temperature increasing can cause antimony leaching. That being said, antimony concentrations in plastic water bottles are usually below regulated values.
Dangers of BPA in Water
Some of the dangers of BPA are that it can mimic estrogen in the body and may have a correlation with liver and prostate cancer as well as migraines and miscarriages. BPA is used in the production of plastics and is found in single-use water bottles and other types of plastic food packaging.
Infants and children are particularly susceptible to the dangers of BPA because their bodies are less developed, making it more difficult for them to remove BPA from their bodies. Too much exposure to BPA can cause negative effects on the developing brain of children.
How to Avoid BPA and Antimony
Now you know why antimony and BPA are bad for you. The next step is understanding how you can keep those dangerous substances out of your body. As previously stated, antimony and BPA are commonly found in single-use plastic water bottles. Therefore, it is wise to avoid drinking from single-use plastic bottles after they’ve spent hours in the sunlight or in a hot car. The hotter a plastic bottle is, the more BPA and antimony is likely to leach into the water within. The best way to avoid drinking antimony in water or BPA in water is to replace single-use plastic bottles with reusable water bottles made of BPA-free plastic, glass, or stainless steel.
Reusable water bottles are not only healthier for you, but they are better for the planet. They can also be filled with filtered water that is often better for you than water from a plastic bottle. A great example of this is quenchWATER+ found in Quench Q-Series bottleless water coolers.
quenchWATER+ is made through a 5-step filtration system that purifies tap water then adds back hydrating minerals like magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Those hydrating minerals, known as electrolytes, can hydrate you faster and give you the energy you need to take on everyday activities. Click here to learn more about the filtration advantages you get with quenchWATER+.
Ready to make the switch from single-use bottles to safer, reusable ones? Quench supports you in that decision. To ensure you and your colleagues are never far from a water bottle filling station, Quench offers bottleless water coolers for the workplace. Quench bottleless water coolers install virtually anywhere and can connect right to your building’s existing water line. Moreover, Quench systems filter tap water on-site using advanced filtration and sanitization technologies, like reverse osmosis, ultraviolet sanitization, and antimicrobial surface protection. So, when you fill your reusable, BPA-free drinkware with a Quench bottleless water cooler, you drastically reduce the risk of exposure to dangerous contaminants.
Ask your employer for Quench bottleless water coolers today. Check out our resource library for downloadable infographics and information sheets.