You fell in love with its design, you were seduced by the idea that you have to be hydrated to perform fully, like athletes, and, even if you are never going to admit it, it convinced you that everyone in the office had one next to their keyboard. Now you feel a vacuum if you don’t have your reusable water bottle on hand, but you start asking yourself questions. What if the canteen plastic has bisphenol A? Does the interior oxidize if it is metal? How often should I clean it? And the most important: is there another one that is better for the Health?
The dilemma of returning to the glass of a lifetime
It is one thing to turn to the canteen for an excursion and another to have it at the office table every day (and macerating on weekends). Intensive use, bad memory and the fact that they are generally opaque containers can cause hygiene to end up leaving you wanting; There are bottles that do not know the touch of soap. If your priority is to maintain maximum cleanliness inside, the best option is the glass lifelong. This material does not interact with water, isolates odors and moisture, and, being transparent, allows you to see any hint of dirt. Experts say that these bottles are the safest, an advantage that must be added that they can be reused infinitely without altering their composition and that they are recyclable – now, their production requires more energy than that of a plastic bottle, so it is not clear that the glass is more environmentally friendly.
The problem of being so scrupulous is that when glass bottles are always intended to contain water it is better that they are not transparent, as advised by the Professor of Materials Science of the Polytechnic University of Madrid José Ignacio Pastor. “The water carries microorganisms that grow with the light. If it is not going to empty every day and is exposed to the sun, the best is a brown or green glass to prevent its growth “, He says. By the way, take the opportunity to warn that “we must pay attention to the cracks in case of fall, because they are spaces where microorganisms are housed and can contaminate the water.”
The opacity of the bottle does not favor the objective of detecting any contamination at a glance, which is the most comfortable. And it is not the only drawback. In addition, this type of container is very heavy compared to those made of other materials, and who wants to see themselves in the subway with the dripping backpack and cursing the idea of having to reach into the bag full of broken glass? more get home? “Some wear a silicone shirt to prevent breakage and confer a certain insulating character”, warns the researcher of the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) María José Fabra. But they still break, so it is worth evaluating alternatives and the inconveniences that come to mind.
I want to run away from bisphenol A, what do I do?
Metal is a good alternative to glass. In fact, The second best option for connoisseurs is the stainless steel canteens. Its success lies in its durability, resistance, hygiene and lightness, although it weighs more in your pocket than glass. “With the thermal insulator they keep the liquids hot or cold much longer than other bottles, and the stainless steel is very resistant to corrosion and wear and tear,” says Fabra. Do not confuse it with aluminum, another metal that deserves to be taken into account; It makes the containers light and is extraordinarily resistant to corrosion, although it can oxidize. But aluminum bottles usually carry an inner coating or a varnish so that the metal does not come into contact with water, and may contain bisphenol A (not all, there are free varnishes of this compound). The problem is when they suffer any breakage the material can migrate to the content, according to the expert in packaging.
It can be shocking information, since not everyone knows that aluminum bottles can contain bisphenol A. What is not a surprise is the presence of this endocrine disruptor – a substance that produces hormonal alterations – in products made with plastic . Hence, this material is viewed with suspicion. Fortunately, to know what type a canteen is made with just looking outside a triangle painted with three arrows that has a number inside. “Bottles that do not contain BPA have numbers 2, 4 or 5 inside the triangle. Those that are considered safe are those made of polypropylene, which has the triangle with the number 5. This material has the advantage of allowing it to be washed in the dishwasher and even sterilized in boiling water, “explains the IATA-CSIC researcher.
When consumption is common, such as that of a liquid container, it may be harmful to use a container that does have the substance. “There could be a cumulative effect that interferes with endocrine functions. The problem would not be the breakage of the container, but its continued use if the compound is in the walls of the container “, says Pastor, who reassures by ensuring that the amounts of BPA found in industrial plastics are so small that they are hardly relevant if used promptly.
In any case, the material that one chooses depends on the taste of each one. What should not be negotiable is the need for good maintenance of the containers. Is easier than it looks like.
A couple of drops of bleach a week
If you make a mess when washing the bottle, Think of your canteen as if it were a glass. Reusable bottles also need to be washed after each use. But you have to do it with conditions. “It is not advisable to use abrasive products or materials, especially in the area of the nozzle and in the closure,” warns Fabra.
Now, the nuances: it depends on the material from which the container is made, the intensity of its use, the environmental conditions and the liquid that is introduced inside. “It is not the same to put milk in a polymer than a juice with a very low pH, and the temperature can also be relevant. The problem of those made of polymers is the possible adhesions,” says Pastor, who recommends, In case of moderate use, wash once a week with a few drops of bleach. It is a sufficient measure to ensure the hygiene of the canteens, whether ceramic, glass, plastic, aluminum or stainless steel.
As for the time to renew the utensil, the formula has no mystery: The more inert the material from which the container is made, the more durable the canteen will be. The secret, in all cases, is in the taste of water, which is the key indicator that your canteen has to pass to a better life. Glass bottles can be reused many times, such as polypropylene bottles, and both can be washed in a dishwasher or put in boiling water. “In this case, the canteens made of low quality polymers such as plastic have to lose,” explains Pastor. But don’t confuse the plastic with the silicone.
Silicone, the same material used in medical prostheses and pastries, is also a winning option. “In addition to being flexible and unbreakable, these canteens are suitable for hot and cold drinks, they are free of bisphenol A, lead, latex and other chemical compounds,” says Fabra. Pardo adds that “they are a good solution among those made of polymers because they are the least degraded by contact with water. It is an excellent material for carrying chains that alternate silicon and carbon, a very resistant chemical bond that holds the temperature “.
You can follow Buenavida on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or subscribe here to the Newsletter.