The Grapevine

Does Bottled Water Really Expire?

The International Bottled Water Association said there is no scientific evidence to suggest that bottled water needs a two-year expiration date. The organizations that represent national and international bottlers, suppliers and distributors said identification codes are placed on every batch of bottled water to manage the stock. 

Storage of bottled water is more important than the best-by date. It needs to be kept in a cool place and away from cleaning supplies that contain harmful chemicals. 

“IBWA advises consumers to store bottled water at room temperature or cooler, out of direct sunlight and away from solvents and chemicals such as gasoline, paint thinners, household cleaners, and dry cleaning chemicals,” the website reads.

In 1987, New Jersey passed a law that required all food items and bottled water to display an expiration date of two years or less. But the law was repealed because they found no evidence. Since then, no such law urging manufacturers to display best-by dates has been passed by the U.S. government. 

Why Old Water Taste Funny

If water tastes funny after leaving it overnight, it does not mean it has gone bad. The water does not contain sugars and proteins, therefore microbes cannot grow inside and cause rotting. 

Water absorbs CO2, converting it into carbonic acid, however, only a tiny portion, about 0.13 percent. A proton is lost in this process, therefore forming bicarbonate and carbonate. This leads to lowering the pH of water, turning it slightly acidic and changing the taste as a result but this does not mean that water has gone bad. 

H2O does not go bad on its own after a breakdown, there are other factors in the immediate surrounding that affect the quality of water, especially if it is left out in the open without being covered. Tap water has chlorine additives that prevent it from going bad for more than a day. 

After that, if water is left outside beyond a day, it can grow algae and host mosquito larvae, which can make people fall sick. Dust that gathers around the house can also be problematic and lead to illnesses. Iodine, chlorine, filtering and boiling can remove the particles and make it clean for consumption again. 

The CDC considers sealed water packaged in plastic bottles the safest to drink, provided it is stored correctly and away from sunlight. This is because plastic bottles release a hormone called bisphenol A (BPA ) when heated. Plastic bottles can also be penetrated by pesticides and gasoline, hence these bottles should be stored away from such substances. 

Water bottles Plastic bottles contain microplastics that people ingest by drinking bottled water. PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay