Can your water bottle kill you?
It’s an established tradition in urban Bangladesh to reuse plastic soda and juice bottles in storing water for later use. Unfortunately, this tradition is leading to several dangerous illnesses no one anticipates.
1. Bottles made of “safe plastic” called polyethylene terephthalateare supposed to be reused only once. If they are reused more than once, they can leach chemicals, including DEHA, which has the potential to cause cancer and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) which can disrupt your hormonal system.
2. Plastic is porous, so when you’re drinking from it, you may be taking in a lot of micro-organisms that can cause common but dangerous bacterial diseases such as strep throat and stomach infections.
3. Degrading plastic bottles in landfills harm the Earth by leaching and promote global warming.
So… how do we keep ourselves safe?
Instead of storing water in disposable bottles, ask your parents to buy easily available litre bottles made of hard plastic as these are easier to clean and safer to reuse. Do the same for school. Don’t use disposable water bottles in school, as your friends may sometimes ask for water and this can again allow for bacterial transfer. Use plastic flasks which have easily removable caps or flip-up spouts. Don’t buy those with mouthpieces, as they can trap microbes well.
Some people keep personal water bottles in the house to keep in easy reach. Learn to avoid this, it can add to health risks as it reduces your chances of moving around.
If you don’t want to give up soda and mineral water bottles, wash your bottle well with warm water every time after use. Letting them sit can provide time for bacteria to reproduce.
Follow these simple guidelines and you can save yourself from a lot of dangerous illness you definitely don’t want to deal with. Strep throat can prevent you from being able to eat solid food, and may become extremely dangerous if you don’t recognize the symptoms and treat it immediately. It is frequently mistaken as tonsillitis.
Take care of yourself!