Ah, the old healthiest water bottle material debate. There have been multiple debates in the health sphere about what kind of water bottle is the best to use.
There are lots of opinions and we’re going to deep dive into the nitty gritty of the top contenders.
What’s the Healthiest Water Bottle Material?
For serious water bottle health enthusiasts, four types of water bottles rank top of the list: copper, stainless steel, glass and BPA-free plastic. By assessing the pro’s and con’s of each, it becomes clear which contender is superior.
Copper Water Bottles
Copper is an abundant natural trace metal and mineral which our bodies need to function optimally. Since the discovery of copper’s multiple health benefits, many individuals have deigned to drink their water from copper bottles.
This mineral assists with functions such as creating enzymes, producing energy, transforming melanin in the skin, as well as building collagen and elastin (both of which aid in repairing and maintaining healthy connective tissues).
We do not make copper inside our bodies and rely on our food and environment to give us our adequate daily copper intake.
This all sounds very promising in terms of copper water bottles. The only issue is that too much copper can cause toxicity in the body! Your daily copper intake should not exceed 10-12 mg.
A copper water bottle or even copper pipes will leach small quantities of copper into your water, except when it has a pH that’s lower than 6. When the water pH is more acidic than 6, a toxic amount of copper ions leach into the water.
This is a danger for those who drink bottled water, sugary beverages (including fruit juices and vegetable shakes) or acidic tap water in their water bottles. Copper also has a tendency to accumulate in the body over time, leading ultimately to liver damage and contributing considerably to the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes.
Bottled water and possibly your tap water are usually too acidic for using in a copper water bottle. Even your skin (when 100% optimal) has a pH of 5.5, meaning that touching your copper bottle will also leach quantities into your skin.
Copper also has had a destructive impact on our environment, contributing to environmental issues such as livestock poisoning, toxic waste water and acid rain. Out of all the 12 million tons of copper manufactured annually, only ±15% of it is being recycled and the rest is being dumped as waste into our environment.
In conclusion, copper is not one of the safest choices when it comes to choosing a water bottle, unless you are highly deficient in copper and your water is not acidic.
- If you are deficient, additional copper in your water is a plus.
- Copper helps to protect the body by being involved in many processes that keep you healthy (as long as you do not exceed 12mg per day).
- Many enjoy the flavor of copper bottled water.
- Copper is a recyclable material.
- Water bottles made of copper are temperature insulating, meaning they will stay hotter or colder for longer.
- Copper does not corrode as easily as other materials and is highly durable.
- Does not break when dropped.
- What you’re drinking remains invisible to you.
- The lids of copper water bottles are often still made of plastics which can release gaseous toxic compounds when exposed to mild heat.
- Reacts with Vitamin C, fruit juices, vegetable juices and other acidic compounds that have a pH of 6 or less to release tons of free radicals and copper ions.
- Extended exposure to copper will result in severe liver peroxidation, organ damage and possibly even dementia.
- Copper waste contributes to vast portions of environmental destruction and pollution, destroying soil fertility, poisoning livestock and promoting acid rain.
- Copper is non-renewable and at the rate it is being mined, copper mines will not sustain beyond 2025.
Stainless steel water bottle sales have sky rocketed in recent years, as the word is spreading about stainless steel’s marvelous properties.
This metal alloy does not leach chemicals into your water, but it does have a tendency to release iron, chromium and nickel into acidic or alkaline beverages. That means that it will leach out these three heavy metals into liquid that does not have a neutral pH of 7. Most water falls well above or below this ideal number.
Stainless steel does not acquire corrosion, oxidation or rusting, lasting for impressive spans of time. Good grade stainless steel also discourages microbial growth.
One of the primary issues with stainless steel water bottles is that they are often marketed as stainless steel, and lined with aluminum, BPA or a similar plastic alternative. These other linings are toxic for us, leaching harmful compounds into our drinking water (particularly on a hot day).
It’s vital to opt for a water bottle made of 100% food grade stainless steel to avoid these other side effects. Many common stainless steel water bottles will also come with lids made of plastic. 100% food grade stainless steel water bottle lids are also available.
Stainless steel comes with other benefits too. Producing stainless steel requires far less water on average than creating plastic bottles do. Your stainless steel water bottle is also re-usable, refillable and will not get tossed into the trash for decades, unless you damage it profusely.
Stainless steel can also be recycled. It does not contribute to pollution, nor does it leach into the ground water to form toxic waste when you throw it away. The manufacture of stainless steel itself does produce pollution however, although the quantities are far less than that needed to make plastic.
In conclusion, stainless steel water bottles are a good choice if you have 100% neutral water, provided they are not lined with other destructive materials such as aluminum or BPA.
- Stainless steel does not alter the taste of water or other fluids.
- Does not break when you drop it.
- 100% food grade stainless steel does not contain harmful additives or plastic compounds which can leach out into your water.
- Stainless steel does not absorb anything from your water.
- It has a life span which can easily make up decades, provided you do not go out of your way to damage the bottle.
- Stainless steel discourages bacterial growth.
- The conditions required to corrode stainless steel are rare and it virtually never corrodes.
- 60% of all stainless steel can be recycled.
- Since stainless steel lasts for an incredibly long time, far less stainless steel water bottles will land at the dump or go to get recycled.
- The production of stainless steel is healthier for our environment than the production of plastic.
- Stainless steel manufacture requires less water and other resources than plastic manufacture.
- In the long run, stainless steel is cost effective, as you will never have to replace a stainless steel water bottle.
- Stainless steel water bottles will leach iron, chromium and nickel into any alkaline or acidic substance it comes into contact with, which happens to be most drinking water.
- Stainless steel manufacture still emits volatile compounds into the atmosphere and pollutes the ground and rain water.
- Pouring hot liquids into stainless steel will warp it’s shape.
- The lids of stainless steel bottles are still made of or lined with plastic and other carcinogenic estrogen-imitating plastic compounds.
- You can’t see what you’re drinking.
Glass is another health conscious water bottle material which leaves no trace of anything in your drinking water. It is by far the safest of all water bottles to use.
Unlike plastic and stainless steel bottles, glass bottles do not allow for any chemical, metal or plastic contaminates. Glass bottles also do not erode or affect the flavor of your water.
Glass can be 100% recycled, leaving no traces left and doing so does not result in a loss of purity. It also happens to be biodegradable without damaging the soil or environment.
The reason many people do not like glass is because it can shatter when dropped. Once you’ve broken glass into a liquid, that liquid should be disposed of immediately. Tiny shards of glass can cut you, both on the inside and the outside. This is one of the few cons of using glass and can be avoided if you take care not to drop your bottle!
Glass manufacture also releases nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and volatile particles into the air. These particles can easily enter the lungs and cause a large amount of damage for those working in or living near glass production sites.
In conclusion, glass bottles are the safest to use if washed regularly and not dropped.
- Glass is 100% recyclable without losing quality.
- It does not affect the flavor of your water.
- Glass does not leach any BPA or other plastic compounds.
- Entirely non-reactive.
- Bottles made of glass last a long time, provided they are looked after.
- 100% biodegradable.
- When it drops, it breaks. Glass shards are very harmful to ingest and are capable of deeply cutting your skin.
- Glass manufacture pollutes the environment and causes increased incidence of respiratory diseases in areas that manufacture it.
Over the last couple of years, health awareness about the toxic effects of Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA.
This compound is found lining plastic bottles and occasionally other types of containers. BPA is infamous for causing endocrine disruption when ingested, as well as mimic estrogens in the body and ultimately causing prostate or breast cancer.
Awareness of this health threat has pushed manufacturers towards the development of BPA-Free plastic bottles. While these bottles do not leach BPA into their contents, they still contain a whole host of other plastic compounds.
These plastic compounds, such as Phthalates, are also endocrine disruptors and xenoestrogens (meaning they also mimic estrogen). An example of a common plastic phthalate found in every plastic bottle without exception is PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate.
All these plastic compounds leach into your water and gas off in your vicinity when exposed to mild heat, acids or alkaline substances.
To top this all off, BPA-Free plastic bottles often use some kind of alternative to achieve the same function as BPA. The alternatives, BPS and BPF are generally just as toxic as BPA, both also altering our hormonal balance.
The last fact about BPA-Free plastic bottles is that just because it does not contain BPA does not make it any less eco-savvy. Using BPA-Free Plastic bottles is the same as using a regular plastic bottle, in the sense that they are both toxic, convenient, and thrown away in short spaces of time.
1-3% of all plastic thrown away gets recycled, and of the remaining possible 97%, 10% of it lands up in the ocean. The rest of it sits in landfills, slowly pervading the environment with plastic compounds. The world’s plastic production is currently so large that a few million tons wind up in land fills each week.
It also takes ±700 years for plastic to decompose, which is actually just a scientific guess. Since the creation of plastic was more or less 100 years ago, nobody has actually lived long enough to verify that it will decompose at all.
Out of all the materials one can manufacture with, plastic is one of the most resource heavy. It takes 3 times more water to make a plastic bottle than it does to fill one. Due to the large demand in plastic, the amount of pollution it’s manufacture emits far exceeds that of glass and metal.
In conclusion, BPA-Free Plastic bottles are just as toxic as regular plastic bottles, making them unfit for using as a water bottle as well as a health hazard.
- Plastic bottles are convenient.
- You can see the contents that you’re drinking.
- They’re highly affordable compared to other kinds of bottles.
- It possibly takes 700 years to decompose.
- Contains hosts of Phthalates and other plastic compounds.
- Will still disrupt your endocrine system as well as contribute to breast and prostate cancer.
- BPA alternatives BPS or BPF are just as toxic as BPA.
- Plastic takes a significant toll on our environment, promoting the desecration of wild life on land and in the sea.
At the end of the day, glass appears to be the best! Do yourself a favor and get a couple of safe, eco-friendly glass bottles.
Last modified: September 22, 2022