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Author Topic: Refilling a waterbottle is dangerous?
Hammerhead
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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For some reason my brother says he saw something on the news that said its dangerous to refill a waterbottle because you can get some kind of really dangerous bacteria from the plastic if it gets hot (??). Does anyone know if this is true? Personally I think he is full of it since I cant find anything online about it.

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DawnStorm
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I've refilled many a water bottle and I've lived to tell about it.

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Warlok
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Is he maybe talking about filling them from an outdoor hose or something where bacteria might get intorduced? Where is this bacteria supposed to come from? Seriously? The plastic itself is suppposed to 'creat life' if it hits the right temperature?

Warlok

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Interesting - the Volvic bottle on my desk is full of tap water - I drink about 5 re-fills for every bottle I buy. The label on the back says Do Not Refill. No explanation is offered, so I asked around at work, which is essentially chock full of water chemistry experts, and the verdict was not good - coliform reactions are apparently very high on water samples from re-used water bottles, thriving on saliva and food particles.

Also, the International Bottled Water Association says packaging is intended for single use only and that if you feel you must reuse a bottle, wash it with soap by hand and let it dry thoroughly.

Didn't know that. I'd be wary then with small children, but I think most adults can handle a few extra coliforms during a routine day. >ahem<

>drops Volvic bottle into bin<

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rodh
Deck the Malls


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There was recent article in Readers' Digest about this. It related to the breakdown of the plastic or something as the bottels were intended for 1 time use only.
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StarlandVocalBand
The Red and the Green Stamps


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You know, there's a great Web site that has information about these kinds of rumors.
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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Indeed, though it mentions nothing about coliforms and nothing about why the companies themselves have warnings on the bottles.

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StarlandVocalBand
The Red and the Green Stamps


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The OP and others were speculating about the "dangerous plastic toxins", though, which the Snopes page addresses quite thoroughly.

Of course, a reused water bottle can become contaminated if it is not washed and dried thoroughly--just like every other plastic container.

As to why the companies tell you not to re-use the bottle--could it be because they want you to buy another?

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Red Squirrel
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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This doesn't affect me- I always drink out of a paper bag

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Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I reuse water bottles all the time, and soft drinks bottles. If I'm worried about contamination I use Milton to sterilise the bottle. I take juice, milk or soft drinks to work in reused bottles (it's cheaper to buy a 2 litre bottle of fizzy drink and decant some into a smaller bottle each day).

I think you just have to use some common sense about keeping the bottles clean.

Heck, when we had kettles at work, the first person into the office each day was "water carrier" and had to go fill up a 2 or 3 litre squash bottle from the drinking water tap in the washroom. We didn't replace the bottles until the plastic developed a greenish hue (but we boiled the water before using it and we're all still alive to tell the tale).

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LibrarianJen
We Three Blings


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At the risk of sounding *really* stupid, who's Milton, and how does he sterilize bottles??

Before you laugh, please understand I have not had any coffee yet today.

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Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
At the risk of sounding *really* stupid, who's Milton, and how does he sterilize bottles??
It's the fluid used in sterilisers for baby bottles. We also use it at the animal shelter for sterilising dishes used by potentially infectious animals in the isolation section.

I've also used very dilute hypochlorite bleach for sterilising reused water bottles, but it tends to be highly fragranced and taints my drink.

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bomas52
The Red and the Green Stamps


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The hazard in refilling bottles comes from the bacterial growth in the bottle (from the backwash)which will grow no matter how well you wash your bottle (unless sterilized). Our employees, here, fill their bottles directly from the bottled water taps. Most of the bottles being refilled have small openings. Being that we had a preponderance of female employees, there was soon a lipstick ring on all 4 of the water coolers. Ergo, the obvious additional source of contamination even if you wash your bottle.
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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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One thing about offices that I find disgusting is the water cooler. In my old office he had a water cooler, and one day it fell to me to change the bottle and there was mildew and blue green mold all on the inside of the dispenser. GROSS. I did not change the bottle, but there was also nothing I could do to clean out the the dispenser. I got a paper towel and removed the obvious slime, but that still leaves millions of spores, hyaline, and all the fungus goo that was in the tubes and pipes. I told the office manager that the cooler was all moldy and I don't know what happened after that, but I never drank out of the cooler again.

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bomas52
The Red and the Green Stamps


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On the same line with the water coolers: I used to work in a nursing home where we had water coolers on the counters of the nursing stations. If you are not familiar with nursing homes in the US, suffice it to say the residents are not the cleanliest or sanest (lots of dementia). Many often have fecal matter under their finger nails and would wheel around in their wheelchairs and stick their finger into the hole in the water dispenser. Imagine how quickly you stop drinking form those. So again, you don't know what's going into you bottle to fester.
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lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by rhiandmoicha torosa:
One thing about offices that I find disgusting is the water cooler. In my old office he had a water cooler, and one day it fell to me to change the bottle and there was mildew and blue green mold all on the inside of the dispenser. GROSS.

I've always wondered just how much bacteria water coolers harbour. We have one at home, and every three or four bottles, I flush is with a very dilute bleach solution. It's not perfect, because I then have to rinse it our using tap water, but I figure it's better than not cleaning it at all.

lj

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I don't think writing DO NOT REFILL on their bottles is a ploy to make you buy more mineral water Starland', I think they rely on the millions they spend on advertising to do that - I suspect that the re-filling over again of bottles does cause contamination but the fact that few people are likely to bother sterilising them, rather leave them at the bottom of footwells or knapsacks, means that the human risk is large enough for the water company to cover their asses with a cryptic warning on the label.

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Frenchy
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Probably, but
quote:
thriving on saliva and food particles.
would mean you drink FROM the bottle. What if you make sure the neck of the bottle doesn't touch anything when you refill and you drink out of a glass?
Is the risk still big enough to worry? (I refill my bottle a few dozen times before chucking it away). [Eek!]

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I wouldn't worry about it, especially if you don't drink from the bottleneck, you are probably at greater risk of coliform contamination from a dozen other sources during an average day - here in the UK it was days before they noticed an aquifer pumped for spring water had been flood contaminated by a sewer - people drinking their water that day got more than they bargained for! [Wink]

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tagurit
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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So, what about glass? Is it ok to refill a glass bottle with tap water? Color me stoopid.

tag

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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Then why do they sell all those plastic sports bottles that are specifically made to hold water or other drinks many times over?

Pogue

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Jaeger
We Three Blings


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I'm going to have to go from memory on this, I couldn't find any accessible links.

There was a study done early in 2003. I think that the study was in Singapore - it was heavily reported here, but it may have been an overseas study. It consisted on testing bottles that had been reused for bacteria, fecal matter and so on.

The result showed that after a few uses, bottles that had not been designed for reuse were pretty nasty, even when they had been washed out between uses. Bottles designed for reuse (such as Pogue's plastic sports bottles) are made of a different material and were OK if washed normally.

The deciding factor was the material and how thoroughly they were washed (which is also influenced by the design of the bottle).

So PET bottles are NOT safe, and that's why the manufacturer's say not to reuse. Glass bottles and other types of plastic are safe if cleaned properly.

Incidentally, sales of sports bottles shot up here after the report came out.

Sorry I couldn't find the link, but I think it was around March 2003. Unfortunately, the Straits Times makes you pay to see their old archives, and I don't love you all that much. [Smile]

- Jaeger

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hooded_angel
The Red and the Green Stamps


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actually the straits times report was based on the report mentioned in the snopes archive. i remember coz there was a sudden rush to get sports water bottles and most stores ended up running out of stock. [Razz]
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