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Drinking Warm Water Could Pose Health Risks
- Updated: September 23, 2014
Researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences discovered that drinking warm water from plastic bottles can cause health problems. In a new study, a team of researchers examined 16 bottled water products in China, which sat at 158 degrees over a four-week period. They discovered that as the water warmed, levels of antimony and BPA increased.
Plastic bottles are made from a material called polyethylene terephthalate. When heated, chemicals are released to include antimony and bisphenol A (BPA). According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), low levels of BPA commonly found in water and other beverage bottles is not a huge concern although the impact of the chemicals are still being studied.
However, officials with the Mayo Clinic, along with officials from a number of other reputable health organizations, disagree. They state that BPA can have negative effects on children’s health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer chimes in by stating that antimony should be avoided since it is considered a carcinogenic agent.
Lena Ma, UF soil and water science professor and lead researcher, along with her team, created a “worst case scenario” for human consumption that consisted of storing 16 brands of bottled water at 158 degrees for four weeks. Because just one of the bottles of water exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standard for antimony and BPA, it appears that storing bottled water in warm temperatures is not a big deal.
However, Ma said that additional research is needed to determine if all brands of bottle water test the same. In addition, bottled water containers are not the only thing warranting more research. She stresses that other beverages packaged with polyethylene terephthalate plastic need to be looked at to include acidic juice, milk, and coffee. Remember, pure water was the only thing tested so the results associated with acidic juice could be entirely different.
What Ma and her team of researchers did find was that as temperatures rose during that four-week period, levels of antimony and BPA increased. In other words, if bottled water is stored for any great length, there could in fact be concern. As a warning, Ma advised people to never store bottled water in a hot garage for weeks or even in a hot car all day during the hot summer.
The problem in China is that because of poor water quality, it is common for citizens to keep bottled water in cars for weeks at a time. According to the latest Chinese statistics, approximately 9.6 billion gallons of bottled water was consumed in 2011 alone, making China the largest market for this particular commodity.
In comparison, US citizens drank 9.1 billion gallons of water that same year. The International Bottled Water Association points out that drinking hot water on occasion is not dangerous but doing it on a regular basis could pose health risks.