Bottled water is the safest drinking water choice for many, but for how long does it continue to be safe? Does it have an expiration date?
Most bottled water brands put expiration dates on their bottles. These dates are typically two years from the water’s bottling date. But what would happen if you drank water from an unopened bottle past its expiration date?
The United States Food and Drugs Administration establishes that bottled water has an infinite shelf life no matter what its expiration date indicates. However, this depends on various conditions, like how it’s bottled and where it’s stored.
Bottled Water Safety Depending on the Bottling Type
Nowadays, there are many eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bottling, such as glass, aluminum cans, and cardboard boxes. However, plastic, namely polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), remains the primary water-bottling material.
In the case of plastic bottling, the expiration date doesn’t refer to the water inside but to its packaging. After two years, the plastic starts losing its quality and may leach chemical components into the water.
So, if you’re storing bottled water in plastic containers, you should consume it before its expiration date.
The case is the same for water bottled in cardboard boxes or bag-in-box designs. Even if these bottling types don’t leach toxic chemicals, the box quality will degrade over time and affect the water’s taste.
This is why aluminum cans or jugs are better for bottling water than plastic or cardboard, as they last up to fifty years.
But glass is superior to any other type of bottle. If you store water in glass bottles, you need not worry about its expiration so long as you store it properly.
How to Store Bottled Water Properly?
According to the International Bottled Water Association, we should store bottled water away from sunlight and in a cool environment. This applies to all types of bottled water regardless of the package type.
However, it’s particularly important for water bottled in plastic, as sunlight and heat are especially damaging to water stored in plastic bottles. Even the safest form of plastic, PET, can become a health risk in such conditions.
A 2007 study shows that antimony leaches into water stored in PET when the temperatures hit 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Antimony is a carcinogenic contaminant, so you don’t want to take that risk.
These findings further reinforce the idea that bottling water in glass containers is the safest option. Glass bottling also helps preserve the taste and texture of mineral-rich water, whether it’s mineral or spring water.
How Long Does Opened Bottled Water Last?
Opened bottled water preserves its taste and quality for four to six days as long as it’s capped tightly and stored in a fridge.
If you can’t put your opened bottle in a fridge and if you don’t cap it tightly, you run the risk of contamination. When an opened water bottle is exposed to sunlight, it may even grow algae.
So, consume your opened bottled water as quickly as you can and make sure you are storing it in a cool environment.