A lot of environmentalists has been proposing and strictly implementing the 3R’s- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. However, in the case of recycling the bottles, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38 (Ban the Bottle, 2014). While in reusing the plastic water bottles, it imposes a greater threat to human life especially in health. According to Bumgardner (2018), reusing water bottles allows the bacteria to live and impose danger and threats to human health. Additionally, he states that the real culprits for the safety of reusing any water bottle are the bacteria and fungi that can grow in damp or partially full bottles once they have been opened. These bacteria generally come from your hands and mouth, or any dirt that comes in contact with the mouth of the bottle. Furthermore, manufacturers of single-use water bottles note that as you reuse bottles there may be tiny cracks that develop. Bacteria and fungi can grow in those cracks and be more difficult to remove by cleaning.
Bacterial concerns in reusing plastic water bottles
In an article in a 2007 issue of the journal Practical Gastroenterology, experts pointed out that commercial bottled water manufacturers don’t recommend that consumers reuse their disposable bottles because every day wear and tear from repeated washings and reuse can lead to a physical breakdown of the plastic, such as visible thinning or cracks. Bacteria can harbor in the cracks, posing a health risk (Chan, 2014).
Based on actual stats from tests on athletes’ refilled water bottles, it was found that there were 900,000 colony-forming units of bacteria .On top of that, nasty chemicals could be being released into the water as the plastic breaks down from repeated use (Warner, 2017).
According to Young (2017), it was discovered that 60 percent of the germs are found on the water bottles were able to make people sick that could be Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria. Capping your nearly-empty water bottle traps humidity inside and provides a perfect growing medium. Bacteria are better able to form a colony if they have a place to cling to as they multiply, and the threads on the mouthpiece of your bottle provide a perfect hangout by trapping moisture and providing a safe environment right where you put your mouth (Brady, 2017).
Dr. Bruni Nazario, WebMD medical director, states that if you’re the only one reusing the container, it will still collect germs from your mouth and hands. Nazario said that the human mouth contains thousands of bacteria, and saliva is a natural breeding ground for germs. While for Dr. Josie Znidarsic, family medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, said that pneumonia, staph or strep infections are possible after drinking from a bacteria-ridden bottle. Bacteria make their way on to your reusable bottle in multiple ways, such as touching the screwcap with filthy hands, your mouth on the opening or straw of a water bottle or through the backwash of saliva as you gulp down (Mitchell, 2018).
In line with an article by Copper H20 (2018), there is a current research carried to inquire into the kinds of bacteria that thrive in recyclable water bottles. The researchers found that the reusable water bottles hosted both harmless and harmful bacteria after taking a swab tests from reusable water bottles that athletes drank from and. It includes bacillus and gram-positive rods which are harmless bacteria that thrived in the containers. Dangerous bacteria which can cause strep and staph infections and can be resistant to antibiotics grew on the bottles which include gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci.
Additionally from Copper H20 (2018) , reusable water bottles that have not been washed for a week have been found to host gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci that can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infection, and sepsis, among other infections and illnesses. Different research has also been coordinated to look into the connection between bottled water and pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium that is capable of causing diseases in plants, animals, and human. One such study collected bottled water samples after up to 30 days in storage. The results showed a very significant increase in the size of the bacteria colonies. One more similar study revealed the prevalence of pseudomonas in reusable water bottles and proposed that outbreaks of diseases caused by bottled waters have more to do with contamination than the type of the water source. A further study, which had a time span of eight months and tried out eight different sorts of bottled drinking water, retrieved nine types of pseudomonas from the bottles, included in them p. stutzeri and p. diminuta, both of which are dangerous bacteria.