Should You Drink from Aluminum Water Bottles? The Benefits and Health Risks


You’re well aware that bisphenol A or BPAs are often present in plastic water bottles. You’ve heard it’s safer to sip from a metal bottle, so you’re considering getting an aluminum one.

Do you have to concern yourself with health risks with an aluminum bottle?

Yes, using aluminum bottles may have health risks. For instance, some aluminum bottles have small amounts of BPAs even though they’re not made of plastic. Also, getting too much dietary aluminum could cause blood-brain barrier neurotoxicity and skeletal problems, but only in infants.

In this article, we’ll expand on the above health risks associated with drinking from aluminum water bottles. We’ll also share some benefits of these bottles.

By the time you’re done reading, you can decide if you’d rather use an aluminum bottle or one of an alternative material. Let’s begin. 

What Are Aluminum Water Bottles?

If you’re the type who doesn’t like a heavier water bottle, then get one made of aluminum

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It weighs a lot less than stainless steel, giving an aluminum bottle a lighter weight profile overall.

You’ll also find you spend less money on an aluminum bottle compared to one made of stainless steel. 

To keep your bottle looking its best, you cannot wash aluminum in a dishwasher. Instead, to clean it, you’ll have to do so by hand. 

You’ll also have to take precautions not to drop your bottle. While aluminum weighs less than stainless steel, it doesn’t hold up nearly as well to physical impacts.

If you drop the bottle, you’ll dent it. That’s not to say that stainless steel bottles never dent. It just doesn’t happen as easily compared to bottles made of aluminum. 

Are These Bottles Made Completely of Aluminum?

When you buy an aluminum water bottle, you have the expectation that the entire bottle is crafted from aluminum.

While the bottle itself does indeed have an aluminum shell, inside, there’s a lining of a different material.

That material? More often than not, it’s plastic. Other times, manufacturers make this liner from enamel, epoxy, polymers, or resin. 

Why does an aluminum bottle need a liner, you ask?

The metal itself is an alloy that’s considered non-neutral. This means aluminum will react to what you pour into it.

Depending on the liquid, different things can happen. For instance, the taste of aluminum can get into certain drinks. When you take a sip from your bottle, you’ll taste only metal. 

Another problem common to aluminum bottles is sometimes the smell of metal may leak into your drinks.

With a liner, that no longer happens. You’re also safeguarded from unpleasant tastes tainting your favorite beverages. 

Your liner isn’t invincible, but it’s less likely to crack or break. That’s because it’s not made of the inflexible polyurethane you find in many plastic water bottles.

Still, as we said before, that doesn’t give you license to toss your aluminum water bottle in the dishwasher. You’ll likely damage the liner.

On that note, watch which sponges and cleaning instruments you use for your bottle. If you scratch the liner, it won’t work as well. That puts you at risk of metal smells and tastes when you use your aluminum water bottle. 

What Are the Benefits of Aluminum?

Now that you know a bit more about aluminum water bottles, we can discuss the benefits, of which you’ll find many. 

Weighs Less

As we mentioned earlier in this article, compared to stainless steel, aluminum weighs far less.

If you enjoy camping, hiking, and doing other active things with a water bottle in tow, you need a lightweight bottle. A heavier one will weigh you down. 

With aluminum, there’s no need to worry about that. You can tote this bottle just about anywhere.

If you bring a bottle with you in your purse or work bag, an aluminum one won’t add too much weight. That means fewer shoulder aches at the end of the day. 

Not as Expensive

Who doesn’t like saving money?

Aluminum is an extremely common material, and as such, it doesn’t cost as much as a stainless steel water bottle

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This does depend, of course, on the size of the bottle and the manufacturer. Still, you’ll often end up spending less on aluminum. 

Doing a bit of digging on Amazon, you’d typically pay between $10 and $20 for a plastic reusable water bottle. For stainless steel, the price starts at about $20.

Some more expensive stainless steel bottles might set you back more than $40. Then there are aluminum bottles. These cost between $10 and $30. They’re somewhat more expensive than plastic, but not by much. 

Doesn’t Rust

While many manufacturers tout stainless steel as anti-rust, that’s not necessarily true.

The metal can indeed get rusted with time, leaving you with nasty deposits around the rim or inside of your bottle. Drinking rusty water isn’t the safest thing in the world, nor is it appetizing.

Aluminum bottles generally won’t rust. There’s no need to worry about rusty water with one of these bottles. 

Recyclable 

Our favorite perk to drinking from an aluminum water bottle?

Once the bottle has reached the end of its lifespan, you can recycle it. That’s not the case with stainless steel.

Most machines cannot crush this tough metal, so you can’t bring an old stainless steel bottle to a recycling facility. They won’t accept it.

What does your aluminum water bottle become once you’ve recycled it? Lots of things! It can get new life as cans. Sometimes, it also goes into appliances, rebar, car parts, and bike parts.

Plus, aluminum recycles forever. The metal’s quality never degrades during the recycling process, so you can keep making it new things as many times as needed. 

What about the Health Risks?

To provide a balanced view, we also have to discuss the health risks associated with drinking from aluminum water bottles.

No, one of them isn’t developing Alzheimer’s. There’s a long-standing myth that using cookware or drinkware made of aluminum can lead to this serious disease.

That’s not true. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association has gone so far as to say there’s no connection between the disease and using aluminum bottles or cookware.

That’s not to say other health risks don’t exist, because they do. For instance, there’s the matter of the material used for the water bottle liner.

If it’s enamel, polymers, or resin, these materials pose few if any health risks. However, if manufacturers make the aluminum bottle liner out of plastic, there’s a chance your bottle could contain BPAs. Even epoxy resins may have BPAs.

BPAs can affect children, infants, and even fetuses. Research on the topic has proven that those with high levels of BPAs in their systems can have issues with prostate glands, their behavior, and brain health. 

On the note of babies and children, aluminum water bottles can cause other health problems. If infants get too much dietary aluminum in their system from aluminum bottles or other sources, they could suffer the effects.

These include changes in the blood-brain barrier, such as increased neurotoxicity. Also, infants may have changes to their skeleton.

Should You Stop Drinking from Aluminum Water Bottles?

Does this mean you can never drink from aluminum water bottles?

You certainly shouldn’t give them to infants or children if you’re concerned about the health risks. Also, if you have any aluminum bottles in your home, you’re going to want to check the liner material. If it’s plastic or epoxy resin, then throw out the bottle.

You can continue using aluminum bottles if you prefer, just make sure you have a liner made from a safe material. If you’re still concerned about health risks, then you can always make the move to a stainless steel bottle.

While these bottles cost and weigh more, they’re often perceived as safer. Since this metal doesn’t change the smell or taste of the liquid within, there’s no need for a liner. You get a bottle made completely of metal.

If you want, you can even switch away from metal bottles entirely. Bamboo and glass bottles contain no BPAs; just to be sure, check the materials of the lid to ensure they’re not plastic. With no changes to the taste or smell of your liquids, these bottles are ideal for safe sipping. 

Conclusion 

Aluminum water bottles don’t cost or weigh as much as stainless steel. They also don’t rust.

The biggest perk is how you can recycle aluminum as many times as you want with no degradation to the quality of the metal. 

However, aluminum can leak a metallic flavor into your drinks, affecting the smell and taste. For that reason, these water bottles often have a liner inside.

If you get a bottle with a plastic or epoxy liner, you could put yourself at risk of consuming BPAs. Yes, even though you probably made the switch to aluminum from plastics to avoid BPAs, they’re still in these metal bottles.

If your aluminum bottle has no plastic or epoxy liner, then you’re likely in the clear.

Some children have had health effects tied to too much dietary aluminum, so closely monitor usage if you’re sticking to these bottles. Otherwise, stainless steel, glass, and bamboo make for safe, healthy alternatives.

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