More about bottles – stainless wins over aluminum

I found out more information about reusable water bottles since there seem to be more questions than answers regarding that issue. They would make such good holiday presents…if only one knew which one to get!

I asked a biologist (who just happens to be related to me) about the bottles and he essentially discouraged me from getting one with aluminum or one without a wide mouth. Sorry, SIGG. He doesn’t seem to be as skeptical about Nalgene, as some people are.

Here are some points he made about water bottles and water in general:

  • Why use aluminum when they make bottles out of titanium even lighter and stronger than aluminum and, perhaps, could be better choice.
  • As far as the sport bottles buy only wide-mouth stainless or Nalgene, which can be washed in a dishwasher with high temperature water or hot tap water with a detergent and bristle brush every day. This will prevent contamination with bacteria and viruses. Soap and water is a marvelous way of keeping healthy without sanitizers (sort of like brushing your teeth to prevent tooth decay).
  • There is NO good answer as to the safety of the water bottles. The plastic used in bottled water is basically the same as used in any food and also in hospital materials.
  • The purchased water is usually slightly more pure than tap water, if it originates from distilled tap water as is used in the soft drink industry (Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola make their own purified tap waters).
  • It contains no chlorine as in tap water, thus will not leech any plastic chemicals into the water. However, if you refill with tap water, you are introducing any materials found in your municipal water supply into the bottles and could, perhaps, maybe leech some plasticizers into the water.
  • More concerning is bacterial contamination from your initial use and an inability to properly clean the bottles after the use. So reuse more than a couple of times is not a good idea, some folks reuse bottles once and never let them dry out or leave open for a period without the cap on.
  • If you want to refill the bottles, use distilled water, not tap, and refill only once or twice.
  • The amount of dangerous chemicals (eg. carcinogens) is probably less than you intake breathing the air in New York or other big cities. The biologist I talked to said he was more worried about the junk in food (preservatives and hormones and pesticides) than in a little contamination from a plastic bottle of water.