Reusable water bottles contain an alarming number of bacteria, according to a new study conducted by WaterFilterGuru. The study found that such bottles are home to as much as 40,000 times more bacteria than an average toilet seat.
The researchers collected samples from various types of reusable water bottles, including spout lid, screw-top lid, stray lid, and squeeze-top lid, and found two types of bacteria: gram-negative rods and bacillus.
The study revealed that gram-negative bacterial infections are resistant to antibiotics, and some types of bacillus bacteria can cause gastrointestinal infections. The researchers compared the number of germs in reusable water bottles to objects in homes and found that the bottles carry twice as many germs as such objects and four times more than a computer mouse. Moreover, the bottles contain 14 times more bacteria than a pet’s bowl.
Associate Professor Keong Yap, a clinical psychologist and an expert on hoarding disorder at the Australian Catholic University, said that reusable water bottles are objects that can be relied upon, unlike people who can hurt us. He compared such bottles to the objects children use to soothe anxiety, which also have a high chance of harboring bacteria.
Dr. Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, explained that while the bacteria in reusable water bottles are present in large numbers, they are not harmful to human health. He added that no one has ever reported being sick due to a water bottle, and similarly, taps do not pose such a threat.
Dr. Andrew Edwards, a molecular microbiologist at Imperial College London, noted that the human mouth harbors different kinds of bacteria, so it is not surprising that drinking bottles also carry such bacteria.
The study suggested that people wash their water bottles daily with hot-soaped water and sanitize them once a week. It also found that bottles with a squeezed top tend to be cleaner, with one-tenth of the number of bacteria as those with a screw-top or straw-fitted lid.
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