How Long Can You Keep Bottled Water?
There is a lot of controversy over the question of how long you can keep bottled water. While the FDA does not enforce an expiration date on bottled water, it is still important to understand how to store it properly.
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Bottled water can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. For safety reasons, if you are going to store your unopened bottles, you should place them in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or kitchen cabinet. This helps to keep the bottled water fresh for longer periods of time. If you are storing them in the fridge, however, make sure you keep them in a container that can be sealed. Otherwise, the water will mix with the air and start tasting strange.
Although bottled water is generally safe to drink after it has reached its “best before” date, it can be harmful when exposed to excessive heat, chemicals, or sunlight. Because of this, you should never store your bottles in hot, humid areas such as on a rooftop or in a car trunk. You should also avoid storing bottled water near sources of strong odors or chemicals.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the shelf life of bottled water, but recommends that you consume sparkling water within one year of purchase and non-carbonated water within two years. However, it is not uncommon for bottled water to degrade before the two-year limit, especially if it is exposed to heat or humidity.
When you find that a bottle of water has gone bad, you should discard it. Not only will it have an off-taste, but it may contain a variety of contaminants. These can cause a range of health problems. Some include heart problems, reproductive problems, neurological issues, and cancers. In addition, it can weaken your immune system.
It is not uncommon for a contaminated bottle of water to contain particles from plastic. Over time, these particles can leach into the water, and if a lot of water is consumed, they can contaminate your body.
Besides these risks, it is important to realize that if bottled water is left in the sun or at an abnormally high temperature, it can develop mold or algae. It can also contain harmful bacteria, which can cause respiratory, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular disorders.
Although there is no clear answer as to how long you can keep bottled water, most companies print a “best before” date on the labels of their products. They usually have a shelf life of two years from the date of manufacture. Despite this, the plastic in these bottles can degrade much earlier than the two-year limit.
The plastic used to make the bottles is often made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which can leak into the water and cause it to become contaminated. The best options for reusable water bottles are those that are BPA-free. Other containers, like stainless steel, are less likely to be contaminated with chemicals.