Aluminum, Copper, Paper, Glass or Plastic?: The Great Water Storage Debate

Over the past few years, I’m sure everyone has heard some news about what kind of water we should or shouldn’t be drinking. Purified, alkaline, distilled, natural spring, zero. . .  Which is best? It’s up to you to do your own research and decide. But we do at least know which water NOT to drink, and that’s tap. If tap is all that’s available, it definitely needs to be filtered and/or boiled before drinking.

But one important detail that’s missing in this conversation is how we store our water. The main choices nowadays are mainly plastic or glass, with a few manufacturers using paper, aluminum cans and stainless steel bottles. Centuries ago, the choices were animal skins or clay and copper vessels. Did the ancients use these containers for a reason? Or did they only use them because they had nothing better? Is stainless steel better than aluminum? In this article we’ll get into the pros and cons of each so you can better decide which is best for you.

 

Plastic

Unfortunately, plastic is the norm nowadays, but absolutely not the best option. 1Plastics can release chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that act like the sex hormone estrogen, according to a study in Environmental Health Perspectives. 2According to the Mayo Clinic, chemicals leached from plastics can cause a condition called estrogen dominance, which in turn causes toxic fat gain, water retention and bloating. 3Negative effects on the brain and behavior, and prostate gland issues of fetuses, infants, and children are also some known side effects.

Under perfectly controlled conditions, water can be somewhat safely stored in plastics, 4but factors like extreme heat and cold, or scratched and worn plastics containers increase the likelihood of BPA, PET and other unknown chemicals leeching into the water. These factors can be loosely controlled by us after purchase, but conditions in warehouses and during transport are unknown and wildly unpredictable.

(One thing that’s very important to mention is the thickness of the plastic. Excessive BPA/PET leaching is a problem more often associated with thin plastics used for small water bottles. Thicker, high-quality plastic used for 5-gallon water dispensers is perceived as a better choice for water storage.)

Water stored in plastics shouldn’t be your first option to drink, but in reality it’s often it’s our only option. When faced with the choice of drinking water from plastics or not drinking any at all, the choice is obvious. Drink up until better options are available.

 

Aluminum x Stainless Steel

Aluminum cans and water bottles are generally considered safe, but because 5aluminum is reactive to acidic liquids, some cans are lined with an epoxy resin that contains BPA. While this isn’t a problem if you’re drinking distilled water (water with a neutral pH of 7), it becomes a very serious issue when you think of the acidic pH of canned sparkling water and even canned foods.

Note: (The pH scale ranges from 1-14. Any number under 7 is acidic, over 7 is alkaline. Sparkling water has a pH of 3-4).

Aluminum and stainless steel tops the list as far as durability, but aluminum cans lose a few points due to the fact they can’t be re-closed or properly transported after opening.

Stainless steel bottles (and utensils) are also not 6known to leach any chemicals when in contact with distilled water (remember, distilled = neutral ph of 7), but they are shown to leach chromium and nickel into all foods and acidic liquids, such as fruit juice, milk, coffee, tea, pickle juice and curd.

Lots of research has to be done in order to determine if an aluminum/stainless steel bottle is in fact truly safe for anything other than distilled water, but what is definitely known is the result of aluminum/stainless steel coming into contact with acidic liquids. So is aluminum/stainless steel better than plastic? There are options available proven to be better than both, so this particular discussion is irrelevant. To put it simply, your choice is only as good as your options. Water from an aluminum or stainless steel bottle is better than no water at all.

 

Glass

For reasons of durability and convenience in travel, glass doesn’t seem as appealing as it really is. Despite this, glass can still be a simple yet effective way to avoid the risks of plastic contamination, if utilized right. Glass bottles with some type of protective covering or sleeve lessen the risk of breakage and greatly improves mobility. Larger pitchers are perfect for home or office use. While the major downside of glass is its fragility, the benefits are far more numerous and outweigh the one or two drawbacks.

 

Copper

They may prove a bit difficult to find, but copper drinking vessels, cups and bottles are the absolute best option when it comes to holding water. The benefits are almost too numerous to list, so we’ll just focus on a few of the many benefits.

Why is Copper the Best

Water stored in a copper container undergoes a natural purification process. 7Molds, microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, and harmful algae are eliminated, making the water perfectly fit to drink. 

Copper is a very important mineral essential to human health. It is antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory. Copper essentially aids to neutralize harmful toxins. Our bodies have the ability to make some nutritional elements on its own (called non-essential), but not copper (essential). Therefore, it needs to come from food, such as seafood, meats, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lentils, chocolate, cereals, potatoes, peas or some dark green leafy vegetables. If your chosen diet restricts or inhibits you from eating enough of those foods, drinking water that has been left in copper cups overnight is an easy way to make up for the minerals you aren’t getting.

Helps Improve Weight Loss

Copper regulates and correctly re-adjusts your digestive system to perform better. Copper also aids your body in the break-down of fat and eliminates it more efficiently.

Protects You From Infections

Copper is oligo-dynamic in nature (the sterilizing effect of metals on bacteria), and destroys bacteria very effectively. It is especially effective against E.coli and S.aureus, two common bacteria found in our environment known to cause severe illnesses.

Slows down Aging

For those of us who are concerned about fine lines on our faces, we have a secret weapon in copper. It’s loaded with super-strong anti-oxidants and contains cell forming properties, along with fighting off free radicals, a primary reason for the appearance of fine lines. 

Fights anemia, arthritis and inflamed joints

Maybe the most incredible fact about copper is that it is required in most processes that occur in our body. From cell formation to the absorption of iron, copper is an essential mineral for the functioning of your body. 

 

And the winner is. . .

In reality, it’s not possible to exclusively drink from glass or copper containers for the rest of your life. We’ll have to use one or all of these materials sometime. The best thing to do is be knowledgeable about what you’re using. When using plastic, avoid any temperature changes for the bottle. Heating or freezing water in plastic bottles is strongly discouraged. If using aluminum or stainless steel, only fill them with distilled water and avoid any juices, coffees or teas.

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1 - https://www.npr.org/2011/03/02/134196209/study-most-plastics-leach-hormone-like-chemicals

2 - https://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/how-having-too-much-estrogen-can-make-you-gain-weight/

3 - https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331

4 - https://www.npr.org/2011/03/02/134196209/study-most-plastics-leach-hormone-like-chemicals

 

5 - http://www.isustainableearth.com/green-products/are-aluminum-water-bottles-safe

6 - https://www.happy-mothering.com/02/household/why-were-switching-from-stainless-steel-to-glass-water-bottles

 

7 - https://food.ndtv.com/health/12-amazing-healing-benefits-of-drinking-water-in-a-copper-vessel-1658134