EXTRA: Reusing plastic water bottles ...

EXTRA: Reusing plastic water bottles could make you sick

There are 35 comments on the WTSP Tampa Bay story from Jul 12, 2007, titled EXTRA: Reusing plastic water bottles could make you sick. In it, WTSP Tampa Bay reports that:

St. Petersburg, Florida - Every day people work hard for a healthy body. And during those workouts, it's important to double or even triple your water intake.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WTSP Tampa Bay.

First Prev
of 2
Next Last
Margaret

Archer, FL

#1 Jul 13, 2007
Does this mean if the disposable bottles are washed in hot soapy water and well rinsed you can still get sick? Would this cause bladder infections?
murph

Clearwater, FL

#2 Jul 13, 2007
Last year the U.S.A. used 16,000,000 barrels of oil to produce water bottles. That should make you preeety preeety preeety sick.

For every gallon of water bottled, 2 gallons of water were need to make the bottles.
Mary Burrell

Clearwater, FL

#3 Jul 13, 2007
What about the plastic bottles you buy in the store that are not disposable?
LOIS KELLEY

Spring Hill, FL

#4 Jul 13, 2007
gee, thanks, I ALWAYS reused mine, I would refill and freeze for next use. guess they all go in the recycle box.
Brandon

Tampa, FL

#5 Jul 13, 2007
Wow, I must be dead, considering that I used the same disosable plastic water bottle for over a year and never washed it. I refilled it about 3-4 times a day, as well.

What bothers me about this story is that it creates a fear of something but isn't real specific. They do say that 10 CFUs are acceptable, but what is the minimum number to cause sickness in a significant amount of people? I would like to see some research on this, and I would also like to see some actual cases of people who have become sick from this.
June

Bradenton, FL

#6 Jul 13, 2007
This really concerns me as my husband and I freeze the bottles of water and drink it as it melts. We carry it around the Parks when we go for a cool refreshing drink...and save money. However, I did notice that there appeared to be particles floating the water and I thought the bottle had begun to break down.

My concern is also for the cups we buy and use and re-use. Hard plastic, see thru colored plastic and even stainless stell (like from Starbucks). The Parks offer cups that can be refilled and they have a reticulated straw in them, impossible to clean, just rinse. How safe are they?

Thank you.
Valerie Boey

Tampa, FL

#8 Jul 13, 2007
I talked to Hugh at Thorton Labs with some of your questions. Here are the answers.

-Since a disposable bottle has a thin neck and ridges in the body, it's difficult to clean it completely. So even if you wash it, it may not be clean.
-The minimum count of not to get sick is 200 cfu's. However, it depends on the bacteria. If it's fecal coliform, it would be 100 cfu's.
-Whether you freeze a bottle or dry it out and reuse it, it won't kill the bacteria.
Brandon

Tampa, FL

#9 Jul 13, 2007
After readings June's post I had a thought... If you are reusing water bottles and you feel fine, why even think about it? Whereas if you are constantly sick and can't figure out why, maybe discontinuing to use them and seeing if you get better would be a good idea. But after reading through the article I have more questions:

I previously wondered what the minimum level of CFUs needed to increase risk of illness is.

Are they testing the CFUs on the plastic or in the water (from what I read, it seems they are testing the plastic?

What is the transfer rate of the CFUs to the water, or, ultimatly, to the human drinking out of the bottle? Basically, just because there is a large load of bacteria on a water bottle does not mean that it will all be transferred to the human drinking from it.

And, once again, what is the rate, or even the suspected rate, of people getting sick where their reusing water bottles is the primary suspect for the cause of the illness?
Brandon

Tampa, FL

#10 Jul 13, 2007
Valerie Boey wrote:
I talked to Hugh at Thorton Labs with some of your questions. Here are the answers.
-Since a disposable bottle has a thin neck and ridges in the body, it's difficult to clean it completely. So even if you wash it, it may not be clean.
-The minimum count of not to get sick is 200 cfu's. However, it depends on the bacteria. If it's fecal coliform, it would be 100 cfu's.
-Whether you freeze a bottle or dry it out and reuse it, it won't kill the bacteria.
Thanks!

That's some pretty good data there, but I will still be re-using my bottles. Sorry, but with the extremes I have taken it too, I really don't see a danger. I will admit that I rarely get sick, hardly ever even cold, so I may just have a strong immune system.
maida

New Port Richey, FL

#11 Jul 15, 2007
you had a very interesting story; too bad you said to THROW THE EMPTY BOTTLES AWAY INSTEAD OF RECYCLING THEM!!! Recycling needs all the help it can get.
Tom in Englewood

AOL

#12 Jul 15, 2007
Do not throw away your old bottles. Recycle them. The landfills have enough items that can be recycled. When I am walking on trash day, I see a lot of stuff at curbside that should be in a recycle bin. If you go to EPCOT, be sure to see Circle of Life in The Land attraction. It will scare you and educate you.
Don Miller

Lutz, FL

#13 Jul 15, 2007
Your reporter gave people TERRIBLE advice by saying the water bottles should be thrown out - BIG MISTAKE - they should be re-cycled. A plastic bottle can take 1,000 years to degrade. Millions of these bottles end up in the trash every day. You are now part of the problem - lets see a correction to your BAD advice - make it BIG and make it NOW.
Ronald Lewis

Clearwater, FL

#14 Jul 15, 2007
The bottles should not be thrown away. They should be recycled!
Kelly Green

AOL

#15 Jul 15, 2007
I am in disbelief that in 2007
your station actually suggested that people should THROW AWAY their water bottle after one use. I agree that they should not be used more than once, however the responsible thing to do would have been to show Valerie toss her empty bottle into a recycling bin rather than a trash can. It's hard enough getting Floridians to go green...we really need your help since you enter many people's homes each day.
Dave

Spring Hill, FL

#16 Jul 15, 2007
I was suprised to hear: "Disposable bottles should be thrown away after one or two uses." Please recycle your water bottles! Even in St. Petersburg which still lacks curb-side recycling, you can take them to many drop-off centers. Don't throw them in the trash!!!!
Kelly Green

AOL

#17 Jul 15, 2007
I am in disbelief that in 2007
your station actually suggested that people should THROW AWAY their water bottle after one use. I agree that they should not be used more than once, however the responsible thing to do would have been to show Valerie toss her empty bottle into a recycling bin rather than a trash can. It's hard enough getting Floridians to go green...we really need your help since you enter many people's homes each day.
Kim

Spring Hill, FL

#18 Jul 15, 2007
According to MSNBC (read the entire story at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5279230/ ):'

Only about 12 percent of "custom" plastic bottles, a category dominated by water, were recycled in 2003, according to industry consultant R.W. Beck, Inc. That's 40 million bottles a day that went into the trash or became litter. In contrast, the recycling rate for plastic soft drink bottles is around 30 percent.' So, instead of buying all this plastic and tossing it, just use water bottles that are designed to be cleaned and reused. And please recycle your plastic single-use bottles if you buy them.
Naturalbill

Saint Leo, FL

#19 Jul 15, 2007
Mercy! Plastic is one of the major culprits in contributing to our stream of endless waste and your article says"THROW THEM AWAY". Can you say RECYCLE? Please, if we recycle plastic it can greatly reduce our footprint. Get a stainless steel sports bottle and reduce waste, save money and be healthier.
Beth Connor

Palmetto, FL

#20 Jul 15, 2007
You missed a huge educational opportunity with this interesting story today. Resusing plastic bottles by washing is a good idea but the best idea for the used bottles is recycling. How about a story about how many bottles end up in our beautiful waterways and how much oil is used to make them?
fla4daboids

AOL

#21 Jul 15, 2007
Valerie, I see people all over Tampa Bay have been taking your advice and throwing their water bottles away, on Gandy Beach, at Northshore Park and in Tampa Bay. Save the US 18 Million Gallons of oil a year by recycling your plastic bottles. You'll also be helping the environment and the appearance of our parks and waterways.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

St. Petersburg Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
homeless Sun looking 3
Moving to st pete Sat New new 21 1
Looking for personal loan of $5000? (Jul '13) May 26 Arnoldma 23
News Gary Gazlay is retiring after 35 years of teach... May 24 Jayne Marie 1
St. Pete Beach float party , have fun ! May 22 Stop the war on fun 3
Do you need a loan? (Nov '13) May 5 James310 2
To My Fellow New York Transplants , Behave Your... May 1 douno 2
More from around the web

Personal Finance

St. Petersburg Mortgages