Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have found several hundred different chemical substances in tap water stored in reusable plastic bottles. Several of these substances are potentially harmful to human health. There is a need for better regulation and manufacturing standards for manufacturers, according to the chemists behind the study.
Have you ever experienced the strange taste of water after it has been in a reusable plastic bottle for a while? It appears that there is a solid, yet worrying reason for this.
Two chemists from the University of Copenhagen have studied which chemical substances are released into liquids by popular types of soft plastic reusable bottles. The results were quite a surprise.
“We were taken aback by the large amount of chemical substances we found in water after 24 hours in the bottles. There were hundreds of substances in the water – including substances never before found in plastic, as well as substances that are potentially harmful to health. After a dishwasher cycle, there were several thousand,” says Jan H. Christensen, Professor of Environmental Analytical Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences.
Endocrine disruptors and insecticide
Professor Christensen and fellow researcher Selina Tisler detected more than 400 different substances from the bottle plastic and over 3,500 substances derived from dishwasher soap. A large portion of these are unknown substances that the researchers have yet to identify. But even of the identified chemicals, the toxicity of at least 70 % remains unknown.
Photo-initiators are among the toxic substances in the water which worry the researchers. These are known to have potentially harmful effects on health in organisms, such as being endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Furthermore, the researchers found a variety of plastic softeners, antioxidants and release agents used in the manufacture of the plastic, as well as Diethyltoluamide (DEET), commonly known as the active substance in mosquito spray.