If you’re drinking water from reusable plastic bottles, you may want to think again about your choice of vessel. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen discovered hundreds of chemicals in tap water that was being stored in reusable soft plastic bottles.

Many of the chemicals are known to have harmful effects, including endocrine-disrupting substances, and the researchers were also shocked to discover substances that had never before been found in plastic.

Here at Herculean Strength, as part of our regular updates on how to protect yourself against the chemical assault of the modern world, we’ve already cautioned you to reduce your reliance on plastic, and this new research is further compelling evidence why you should do so.

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Reusable plastic bottles: hundreds of chemicals leach into water stored in them

reusable plastic bottles
An illustration from the study which illustrates how chemicals leach into drinking water in plastic bottles

In the new study, published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, researchers from the University of Copenhagen investigated levels of chemical migration into water stored for 24 hours in new bottles, used bottles and bottles washed in the dishwasher.

The researchers discovered more than 400 plastic-related compounds in the water, as well as more than 3500 dishwasher related compounds in the water stored in bottles that had been through the dishwasher.

The most likely explanation for why the bottles in the dishwasher had the most chemicals is because the dishwasher wears down the plastic and increases the chance for chemicals to leach out of it.

The study noted that “Typically, the dishwashing process enhanced the leaching of plastic related compounds, and even after additional water flushing, the average peak intensity of these compounds was only reduced by half.”

“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 Christensen, a professor of environmental analytical chemistry at Copenhagen’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, in a university release.


3000 tonnes of microplastic falling on the Swiss Alps every year!


Perhaps you’re one of those people who likes to put out their tongue to catch snowflakes, but after reading a new study on microplastic pollution, you may want to think again.

In a new study, researchers from Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands have estimated that close to 43 trillion miniature plastic particles land in Switzerland every year.

The team of researchers wanted to determine exactly how much plastic is falling back to Earth from the atmosphere. They focused on a small region located at an altitude of 3,106 meters, situated at the tip of the mountain “Hoher Sonnenblick” in the “Hohe Tauern” National Park in Austria. There has been an observatory there since 1886.

Each morning, the researchers collected a portion of the top layer of snow and carefully stored it. They then collected the microplastic particles and, using European wind and weather data, traced each particle’s origin.

The researchers discovered that most microplastics entering the atmosphere come from densely populated and urban areas. Around 30 percent of the microplastics found on the mountain top come from just 124 miles away, an area consisting of mostly urban regions.

Click here to read more about this shocking study!

Among the most worrying chemicals detected were photoinitiators, which are known to have endocrine-disrupting effects and have also been linked to increased cancer risk.

A majority of chemicals detected are currently unknown to chemists, suggesting there is an unclear level of toxicity for at least 70 percent of the chemicals in reusable plastic bottles.

The researchers found plastic softeners, antioxidants and release agents, as well as diethyltoluamide (DEET), otherwise known as the active ingredient in mosquito spray. The researchers were unsure why DEET was found, but suggest that it could have been formed through a reaction with the plasticizer compound laurolactam.

One significant issue with many of these compounds is that there are no toxicity data available for them, meaning we just don’t know how bad they are for us. This concern has also been raised recently with regard to PFAS, a ubiquitous class of greaseproof chemical. New research suggests PFAS can accelerate the growth of cancer in mice.

“We care so much about low levels of pesticides in our drinking water. But when we pour water into a container to drink from, we unflinchingly add hundreds or thousands of substances to the water ourselves. Although we cannot yet say whether the substances in the reusable bottles affect our health, I’ll be using a glass or quality stainless steel bottle in the future,” Dr. Christensen concludes.

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