Are stainless steel water bottles slowly poisoning you and your loved ones?

Has this ever happened to you?

You made a health conscious decision, but later found out that it wasn’t healthy at all.

Don’t you hate that feeling of being misinformed or mislead? I do!

Unfortunately, this is the situation with many stainless steel bottles; they can be dangerous and harmful to your health. This is often happens when you are not properly informed.  I know, common sense suggests that stainless steel bottles should not have any health risks, but this is not the case.

Why do we love stainless steel bottles?

Unlike glass, stainless steel bottles don’t break as easily, so we feel save safe getting these bottles for our kids.

Stainless steel water bottles are in style and as consumers we think they are the healthiest containers for our water and drinks.  So we don’t see any danger in using stainless steel bottles and therefore, buy them without questioning their quality.  Marketers and manufactures capitalize on this situation. They make these bottles shinny and visually attractive on the outside. But inside, the very part that touches your water, it’s a different story…

What is the problem with stainless steel bottles?

There are many hidden dangers making stainless steel bottles hazardous to your health. It is easy to pick up the wrong bottle if you don’t know what to look for.

To make this problem even worse,  you can find ‘Hazardous’ stainless steel bottles in high end stores, as well as in natural/health food stores.  We often trust the quality provided by these stores without questioning the quality of the product.  Inferior bottles sold in these stores are often just as expensive as top quality bottles, which is amazing, but true. So, again we think that the price is an indicator of quality, but this is not always the case.  Price is not an indicator of quality. It is an indication of the store’s margin as well as marketing and advertising expenses.

Fortunately, this problem is easy to solve. All you need is a little more knowledge and you are good to go.  Well then, the solution is simple. Get informed so you can make the right choices.  Let’s get to it.

What you need to know in order to avoid buying the wrong stainless steel bottles.

There are many obvious shortcomings of Stainless Steel Water Bottles, such as stainless steel on the outside and plastic on the inside. But there are many more subtle hidden dangers that are not so obvious.  You really need to examine the bottle and look carefully for these hidden dangers. 

So what should you look out for?

Below is the list of things you want to avoid:

Some manufacturers use plastic for screw tops.  Those plastic tops often have hazardous chemicals such as BPA, phthalates, lead, or other toxins.

In addition these plastic caps with use, release tiny shavings of plastic as you screw and unscrew the bottle cap.  These plastic shavings end up in you drink and in your stomach.

A stainless steel exterior with an aluminum liner:  these bottles often say ‘Stainless steel exterior’. When you read this, it is an indicator that something is wrong with these bottles.  Always check the fine print.

Aluminum on the inside of the bottle, covered with a clear plastic film is hard to notice at first glance, but as you use the bottle, you will see this plastic lining gently peeling off into your drink. Again, read the fine print.

A stainless steel interior that is not food grade:  if the label does not indicate ‘food grade stainless steel’, chances are it is not.

The above described “stainless” steel bottles should be avoided. Put them back on the store shelf.

So what then should we be looking for?

Quality stainless still bottles usually have:

100% food grade stainless steel interior.

No clear plastic lining inside of the bottle.

If there is plastic on the cap, in must be free of BPA, phthalates, lead, or other toxins.

Preferably no plastic parts that are in contact with your drink.

Most of these things are clearly labelled by manufactures because they are great selling points.  If nothing is mentioned, chances are that the stainless steel bottle you are looking at is hazardous to your health.

You can find better quality bottles in natural or health food stores. Store owners and buyers from these stores are usually better informed than employees of high end stores. Your best bet is to speak to someone in the store who knows the product and who you can trust.  Again ask all the questions and read labels carefully.

My personal preference

I am a big fan of ‘Clean Canteen’ bottles. They have a 100% food grade stainless steel interior. And, you have a choice of stainless steel screw tops for all of their bottles; for water as well as thermos, (insulated) bottles.  I would rather not use any plastic in my food and drinks at all.  I am also sure that Clean Canteen is not the only company that produces top quality stainless steel bottles so look around and make your choice.

We recently purchased insulated bottles, which are great for coffee, tea and a cold summer drinks. We chose the plastic tops with stainless steel on the inside.  So our drinks don’t come in contact with plastic. Our drinks are contained in 100% food grade stainless steel.  How cool is that?

Here is the link to Buy Green.com (aff) we purchased our stainless steel bottles and bunch on other nice stuff there.

Whether you buy the Clean Canteen bottles or other ones, make sure to check all the points mentioned above, so you get something that is not hazardous to you and your family.

You need to make a right choices

If you recently purchased a “stainless steel” bottle, and after reading this article, realized that you made a mistake, get rid of it! Your health is more important than the money you spent!

So now you know that not all the stainless steel bottles are created equal.  You need to make a right choices.

Do you have an experience with good or bad stainless steel bottles?

If you have anything to add, please let us know by leaving comments below.

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Tania Belkin

28 Comments

  1. Thoughtful and provocative article. From now on I’ll check the inside of the bottle as well as the outside. I guess things are not always what they appear to be…Thanks for the tips!

  2. I had no idea there were so many things we should be careful with regarding these products. Thanks for letting us know about it.

  3. I don’t trust any stainless steel made in China since the quality varies widely. You don’t know HOW pure the steel is or what is in it. If it is poorly forged you could have heavy metal and impurities leaching into your drinking water. For this reason I totally avoid bottles made in third World countries that have ZERO regulations!
    Your best bet are the Liberty aluminum bottles made in the USA. They are coated and have really nice lids.

    Also, glass is making a huge come back since it does not leach smells or flavors in your beverage.
    Here are some of the popular glass bottles being used instead of stainless steel water bottles –
    Mason and Kerr Jars with screw wide mouth tops
    http://www.betrulyyou.com/category_11/glass-water-bottles.htm
    http://www.bottlesupglass.com/about-bottlesup/our-bottles/

    • Tania Belkin /

      Hello Chris,

      I am with you. I don’t trust products that come from China, period.

      I love glass containers, I prefer to store my food in glass.

      I have some glass bottles with stainless steel tops, that I periodically use for drinks. My only concern that most of the wide mouth bottles have a plastic lid. I don’t like plastic leaching in my drink.:)

      I was under the impression that Clean Canteen bottles are made in the US. Do you have different information?

    • @Chris: I also never trust on any steel bottle. As it’s harmful for health if liquid put in it for long time.
      Susie Maya recently posted…Subzero Water Bottle Parts- What’s In It?My Profile

  4. Read this. BEST article I have read on buying water bottles. Stainless Steel bottles don’t fair well at all. Many of the China bottles have been recalled. Pass this on –

    http://canarypapers.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/digging-to-china-and-back-the-search-for-a-good-water-bottle/#comment-2411

  5. Hi again Tania. Hope you don’t mind me sending you another message. I’m thinking of buying a glass bottle instead and I was wondering what I need to look out for please? Just BPA free and no plastic lid, or are there other things I need to consider too? Thanks. :-)

  6. Lauren /

    Hi. I found your article incredibly helpful. I was wondering what you would advise using for a lunch storage box please? I don’t want to use my plastic one again and went to the shops today to look for something more appropriate, but they were all plastic or stainless steel with plastic inside. I want to make good choices but it’s all a bit confusing. I want to buy a new container this week and really need some guidance please because I’m not sure what to buy. I currently have a bad habit of putting sandwiches and things in a sandwich bag and then carrying my lunch in a carrier bag. I want to buy something plastic free and safe, that isn’t too expensive. All I’ve seen in the shops is basic plastic storage boxes and more expensive versions like the nude food movers lunchbox (BPA free), sistema to go, etc. and insulated lunch bags. Is using a normal e.g. insulated bag a good choice please and is there something else I could use instead of plastic sandwich bags? I live in the UK and would happily buy online if there’s something reasonably priced and appropriate. I just don’t know what to look for and am confused. I also looked for some kind of glass container without a plastic lid that I could store food in, but all they had were glass jars.

    Looking forward to receiving your response and thanks in advance. :-)

  7. Cecilia /

    I found this article very very helpful. A few months back a bought a steel bottle from a concert I went to – mainly at the time it was just because it had the artists name on it.
    Since then I’ve felt a bit odd about drinking from it mainly because ive never drunk from stainless steel and was scared it was harmful.
    Luckily, the band is very environmentally aware and cares about well being so I JUST checked the bottle and found it was made by Klean Kanteen. I feel so much better now and it’s great because I swear the water tastes nicer and stays crispy cool in this stainless steal bottle. Thank you!

  8. William /

    Hi Tania,

    I found your article quite interesting and helpful. However, I feel you are condemning aluminum bottles and liners completely. Aluminum bottles can be a great alternative to stainless steel ones. especially in salt water environments or for cooking uses. Stainless bottle lined with aluminum that are food quality are great, as are solid aluminum bottles; of course if they are made right.

    ALL commercial aluminum soda and beer cans are plastic lined. not necessarily a bad thing, it prevents bacteria from grabbing hold, though I don’t care for that in an aluminum water bottle for the reasons you outlined. The plastic lining in a bottle used for hiking now makes it toxic to boil water in, so pointless to bring along. I would also like to point out that some water bottles have plastic caps, but inside is a metal lining; think the old US military canteens. they have no plastic contact with the internal liquids, all metal surface contact. The plastic cap acts to protect the metal. If the metal gets dinged then it greatly effects its ability to seal in liquid.

    I really did like your article but it just seemed to be a little one sided and wanted to mention those few things in case your readers didn’t know.

    Cheers,

    William

  9. Allan Kaplan /

    Good info, but many typos!

  10. Sassan /

    I try to live healthy but recently I understood that I can’t as a livingbeing on earth to escape the polosion and poison in Air, food and water, espacially developed and increased since 1900 until now and it will continue for unexplained reason to contaminate. I bought a Klean Kanteen insulated bottle and first time opening the cap I recognized a bad smell very like Besin/Gasolin from the cap. The smell is strong so I almost tasted it in mouth every time I smell it to see if the smell is gone. I don’t think anywhee on the planet earth specially in developed societies/cities that people are dependent of buying to survive, I can find a healthy product since our everything is manupulated by soneone else who directly/indirectly poison us. I buy stainless steel to escape from plastics but simultaniously I have to buy alot of food that are inside plastics as an example cheese, milk, bread…… So I think I am fooling myself to look for a healthy life on earth.

  11. John /

    Which zojurushi bottles are the safest? Could you take a look for me? Thanks

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