Water bottles increase risk of germs

Scientists have raised an alarm over the impact refillable plastic water bottles could have on health, saying, drinking water or other liquids from it may result in ingesting harmful germs.

According to a new research, an incredible amount of bacteria — including E. Coli and salmonella — may be lurking in and on the water bottle. Laboratory tests by Treadmill Reviews, a Minneapolis- based firm, analysed 12 water bottles used by athletes and not washed for a week and found they had such high levels of bacteria that drinking from them would be like “licking a toilet seat.”

The researchers tested four types of re-usable bottles: A slide-top, screw-top, squeeze-top and straw-top. The researchers evaluated the amount of contamination in terms of “colony forming units,” or CFUs, of bacteria per square centimetre and their findings revealed that the bottles contained an average of 300,000 CFU of bacteria.

That’s six times as much bacteria as one could find on pet’s food bowl. And much of the bacteria was the kind that makes people sick. The slide-top bottles contained the highest amount of bacteria: A whopping 933,340 CFU.

They also had the most gram-positive germs which have been linked to skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning. Squeeze-top bottles were next with 162,000 CFU followed by screwtop vessels with 160,000 CFU.

These also housed 99 per cent of the harmful bacteria. Straw-top bottles were the clear winners with only 25 CFU. But that’s only two CFU less than the average home toilet seat. It is thought that these are safer because water drips down to the bottom of the straw rather than hang out at the top attracting moisture-loving germs.

“Based on our test results, we suggest opting for a straw-top bottle, both for the prevalence of bacteria and the lack of harmful germs,” according to the fitness Website. They suggested that stainless steel water bottles are a better choice than plastic which may also contain Bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA, a chemical that can lead to cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses.

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