Freezing Water Bottles. Toxic?

in #sciencelast year

Claims have been made regarding freezing water bottles and their subsequent release of toxins into the water stored therein. The facts behind this scare are definite and prove that the scare was exactly that, a scare. Using Dr. Lamb’s approach, a person must ask the following questions: First, is it “supported by reliable, reproducible observations” and second, can it “be explained in terms of a rational model.” If either of these cannot be accomplished, it is not a dependable claim (Lamb). The claims of a water bottle leaking toxins into the water during freezing was a scare spread through an email hoax over a decade ago. If the first question cannot be satisfied regarding this idea of the bottle releasing toxins, then it can be deemed a hoax.

Tim Parsons set out to find the truth behind the emails. He interviewed Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Rolf Halden, PhD, PE, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the Center for Water and Health. When asked if water bottles emit a toxin when frozen, Dr. Halden says, “There are no dioxins in plastics. In addition, freezing actually works against the release of chemicals. Chemicals do not diffuse as readily in cold temperatures, which would limit chemical release if there were dioxins in plastic, and we don’t think there are” (Parsons). Because Dr. Halden received his masters and doctoral degrees researching dioxin contamination in the environment, he is highly qualified to make these claims (Parsons). However, it is never wise to base a scientific claim solely on one researcher’s knowledge, regardless of where that person received his or her degree.

The American Chemistry Council is another credible source. According to the American Chemistry Council, “Dioxins are a family of chemical compounds that are produced by combustion at extremely high temperatures. They can only be formed at temperatures well above 700 degrees Fahrenheit; they cannot be formed at room temperature or in freezing temperatures” (FAQs). One can properly deduce that if dioxins can only be produced at high temperatures, they would not be produced when freezing, as recognizably stated by the American Chemistry Council.

With two consistent, credible sources, Dr Halden and the American Chemistry Council answering the first question in the negative, there is no reason to ask the second question regarding a rational model. The email suggesting water bottles leaking toxins, specifically dioxins into the water from the bottle can be declared false.


FAQs: The Safety of Plastic Beverage Bottles. (2016). Retrieved October 06, 2017, from

Lamb, J. D. (2003, November 20). Pulling the Pins on Voodoo Science. Retrieved October 06, 2017, from

Parsons, T. (2013, January 10). Researcher dispels Myth of Dioxins and Plastic Water Bottles - 2004 - Stories - News. Retrieved October 06, 2017, from


Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

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