Is It Safe to Drink Hot Water in Plastic Bottles?

Is It Safe to Drink Hot Water in Plastic Bottles?

Imagine a cold winter day, and all you want is a sip of hot water to warm up. In this case, plastic water bottles are what you’ll always find. But is this a safe practice? Is it harmless, or could it be potentially harmful?

With the increasing reliance on plastic in our lives, the answers to these questions have become more critical than ever. In this article, we’ll explore the safety of drinking hot water from plastic bottle.

Is It Safe to Drink Hot Water in Plastic Bottle?

Many of us have grown so accustomed to the convenience of plastic water bottles that we hardly give a second thought to the potential hazards they might present.

One of these is the safety of drinking hot water from plastic bottles. Now, you may be wondering, why hot water specifically?

Here’s why: heat has the potential to affect the plastic material, causing it to leach chemicals into the water.

So, is it safe?

Well, it’s not a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. The safety of drinking hot water from plastic bottles largely depends on the type of plastic used in manufacturing the bottle.

Plastics are identified by their resin identification code, often found at the bottom of the bottle. For instance, plastic #1, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), is the most commonly used for disposable water bottles.

PET is generally safe for use; however, it can leach antimony, a metalloid, when exposed to high temperatures.

On the other hand, plastic #7, a category that includes polycarbonate, is known to leach Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that can mimic the body’s hormones and may lead to negative health effects. The use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups is already banned in several countries.

The leaching of these chemicals, while often in minute quantities, can increase with the temperature of the liquid inside the bottle. The heat acts as a catalyst, accelerating chemical reactions and facilitating the migration of chemicals from the plastic into the water.

That being said, it’s important to note that different studies present varying conclusions on this matter, and it’s an area of ongoing research.

However, from a precautionary standpoint, it might be better to avoid the practice of storing and drinking hot water from plastic bottles, particularly those made of polycarbonate or PET.

It’s always a good idea to use containers that are confirmed to be heat-resistant and free from harmful chemicals for your hot drinks. Stay informed and stay safe!

Ranking Plastics Based on their Safety

Plastic Resin CodeType of PlasticCommon UsesRelative Safety
1Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)Single-use bottled beveragesLow
2High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)Milk jugs, cleaning product containers, shampoo bottlesHigh
3Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)Pipes, toys, furnitureLow
4Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)Bread bags, squeezable bottles, frozen food packagingHigh
5Polypropylene (PP)Yogurt containers, syrup bottles, medicine bottlesHigh
6Polystyrene (PS)Take-out containers, egg cartons, disposable cupsLow
7Other (including Polycarbonate)Various (includes BPA-containing and bio-based plastics)Varies

While no plastic can be considered 100% safe, some are less likely to leach harmful chemicals than others, particularly when used correctly.

Your safest bets are usually HDPE, LDPE, and PP, but bear it in mind that, it’s not just about the plastic’s type, but how you use it. Heat, wear and tear, and the age of the plastic all contribute to its potential to leach chemicals.

What Happens to Plastic when Heated?

Plastics, as you might know, are made up of long chains of polymers – complex molecules with a repeating structure.

They’re what give plastic its flexibility and durability. However, these chains aren’t impervious to change, especially when subjected to heat.

When plastic is heated, its molecular structure can start to break down, causing a process called leaching. This essentially means that the bonds between the different molecules in the plastic can start to weaken and break, allowing small amounts of the chemicals that make up the plastic to escape into any liquid that’s in contact with the plastic.

Now, we’re not saying that heating a plastic bottle turns it into a chemical soup. The amount of leaching can vary greatly depending on the type of plastic, the temperature, and the duration of exposure.

It’s worth noting that certain types of plastic are more prone to leaching than others.

For instance, plastics containing Bisphenol A (BPA), a commonly used chemical in plastics, can leach this substance when heated. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor and could interfere with the body’s hormones.

Additionally, Phthalates, another class of chemicals used in plastics to increase their flexibility, can also be leached when plastic is heated. Phthalates have been linked to a variety of health issues, including hormonal imbalances and developmental problems in children.


Wrapping up our discussion on the safety of hot water in plastic bottles, it’s clear that we need to exercise caution. While the risks associated with some plastics are greater than others, the potential for chemical leaching under heat is a common concern.

Until more conclusive research is available, it may be best to sidestep potential risks by choosing alternatives like glass or ceramic for hot drinks

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