Does Bottled Water Go Bad?: Why There Are Expiration Dates on Water

You reach for bottled water after an intense workout session and notice that the water has an expiration date on it that states the water expired 6 months ago. Should you be concerned? The short answer to this question is: no. However, before you go stockpiling water with little concern about this expiration date, it is important to understand why there are expiration dates on water to begin with. What you find out may surprise you.

Furthermore, once equipped with the knowledge of why there are expiration dates on water bottles, you are going to want to know best practices with handling expired water to ensure you are keeping yourself safe and healthy for the long-run. Then you will be able to make the best, most informed choices when deciding on which bottled water brands you want to purchase from in the future. Lastly, you will benefit from knowing how to reduce your exposure to plastic and how to find water bottles that don’t contribute to the plastic epidemic or increase your vulnerability to develop any health risks associated with plastic consumption.  

How Does Bottled Water Go Bad? 

While you do not need to be concerned about drinking spoiled water, you need to know why bottled water has expiration dates to understand the implications of drinking expired water. As it turns out, it’s not the actual water quality you need to be worried about, it’s the plastic that the water is contained in. Typically water is bottled in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for retail bottles and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for water cooler jugs. What’s alarming about these types of bottles is that plastics contaminant the liquid bottle once expired or exposed to excessive heat, including exposure to sunlight or hot cars. The toxic chemicals that are contained in this plastic will enter the water, not only affecting the taste of the water but also creating serious health implications for the consumer, as well.

To keep you safe, many bottled water companies will print a two year expiration date on the bottle, although there’s really no precise way to predict exactly when the plastic will leach into the water. The two year expiration date is more of guess of when the water bottle is most likely to have been exposed to heat or when it’s starting to degrade, however, the unfortunate reality is that most water bottles are exposed to excessive heat within days of being purchased, especially if it was purchased in the summertime. Because of this, you could be exposed to dangerous chemicals way before the water reaches its expiration. To understand the implications of consuming plastic bottles exposed to heat, it is important that you understand just how they can affect your health so that you can make more informed decisions pertaining to water bottle purchases in the future. 

How Does Bottled Water That Goes Bad Affect Your Health?

In the scorching heat you may think you’re doing your body a good service by reaching for a bottle of water to rehydrate and replenish. However, did you know that a study done at Arizona State found that the hotter the day, the less time it took for water to become contaminated from toxic plastic chemicals? So really, you may not be doing your body much of a service at all. In fact, you may be causing it harm. That is not to say to stop drinking water altogether if you can’t find access to high-quality water in safe drinking containers. You need water to survive. However, it does mean that making more conscious choices on what water bottles to drink from can positively affect your health. Maybe instead of reaching for whatever water you can find, you plan ahead and bring your own reusable water bottle instead.

To further persuade you to think ahead about what container you’re putting your water in, you need to understand just what the health consequences are when consuming plastic. Health implications that can result from overexposure to plastic include:

  • Increased risk of developing a metabolic disorder, including obesity
  • Developmental and reproductive effects, such as decreased fertility
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Developing cancer
  • Impaired immunity
  • Birth defects in children exposed to plastic 

Unfortunately, there are many more health consequences that can result from plastic consumption. Therefore, it is essential to your health and well-being that you do everything you can to minimize plastic exposure, starting with the type of water bottles you use to drink water from.

Best Practices for When Your Bottled Water Does Go Bad

Some of the best ways to reduce your exposure to the toxic chemicals that can be introduced into your system, is to look at the ways in which you are utilizing plastic right now. While you may not be able to completely eliminate plastic out of your life, starting to limit your exposure can do wonders for your health right now. One place to start is to look at what products you use to package your food in or what toys your children are playing with. Replacing paper bags with glass containers or choosing more wooden toys is an effective way to reduce the plastic in your home. Even if you can’t afford to make this switch, simply waiting until the food is cooled before placing it in plastic containers will significantly reduce the amount of plastic leached into your food. 

Another way to decrease plastic in your life is to drink out of glass or aluminum water bottles. Because water bottles are one of the most susceptible ways to introduce toxic chemicals into your body, it is imperative that you find healthier alternatives that can serve your well-being instead of harming it. Fortunately, there are bottled water companies that utilize better, more cleaner ways of bottling water. Drinking from these water bottles instead of plastic ones will help your body get back to a healthier, more equilibrium state. 

Don’t settle for drinking out of plastic bottles that can harm your health. Investing in high quality bottled water with containers that can be reused is not only better for your health but will also save you money in the long-run. Find a healthier bottled water alternative today. Your body will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ Does bottled water go bad?

Water is a natural substance and does not go bad, however the plastic water bottle will degrade over time and begin to leach chemicals into the water, which is why it is always important to choose BPA free bottled water.

✅ How long can you keep bottled water?

The recommended shelf life is two years. The U.S. Food and Drug administration which regulates bottled water does not require a shelf life be listed but due to degradation of plastic over time, especially in heat we recommend two years for still water and one year for sparkling water.

✅ Is it safe to drink old bottled water?

The FDA does not require a shelf life on bottled water but plastic bottles can leach hormone like chemicals that increase over time. Always choose BPA free bottled water to mitigate the risk of toxic chemical exposure. The recommended shelf life of still water is 2 years.

✅ Can you tell if bottled water is bad?

Plastic water bottles are slightly permeable, and can leach chemicals into the water over time. This is particularly a problem in non-bpa free plastic and water bottled in milk jug plastic. If your water has a strange taste or smell we recommend you discard it.

✅ Does bottled water last forever?

Since water is a naturally occurring substance it has an indefinite shelf life, however due to the fact that plastic water bottles leach chemicals into the water overtime we recommend a 2 year shelf life for still water.

✅ What is the shelf life of unopened bottled water?

The recommended shelf life of still water is 2 years and 1 year for sparkling. The FDA does not list shelf life requirements and water can be stored indefinitely however bottled water plastic leaches over time and can effect taste.