Allergic to Bottled Water: When You Have an Allergy to Plastic Water Bottles

By Kristen Chandler

Allergic reactions to plastic water bottles

Approximately one in 13 children suffers from food allergies. The “Top Eight” (eggs, milk, soy, peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts and wheat) account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions. Then you have the rarer allergies like those to cinnamon, coffee and corn. It’s not surprising that most food allergy families prepare most of their meals at home. People who suffer from food allergies, especially those with severe allergies, can’t accept just anything from anyone.

So, imagine you’re away from home and you get really thirsty, and someone hands you a bottle of water. You accept it and drink some, but a few minutes later your lips begin to burn and tingle and possibly swell. But is it actually possible for someone to be allergic to bottled water? While it is rare, aquagenic urticaria, or an allergy to water, does exist. However, most allergic reactions people have while drinking water from a plastic bottle are usually the result of an allergy to the plastic and not the water itself.

What Causes an Allergy to Plastic Water Bottles?

With food allergies, it’s usually difficult to pinpoint what in the food causes the allergic reaction. Sometimes people are allergic to the food itself, and sometimes it is the protein in the food that causes the allergic reaction. Where an allergy to plastic water bottles is concerned, it is usually the chemicals found in the plastic that are responsible for the allergic reaction.

Most plastic containers, toys, etc. contain chemicals. These chemicals are used to make the plastic either softer or harder as needed, and also to prevent contamination. However, these chemicals can be just as bad as the contamination they are meant to block.

The two most common chemicals found in water bottles are Phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Polystyrene foam (PS) is also used in plastics, but the former two are more likely to be found in plastic water bottles. Also, both Phthalates and BPA have been known to get in the way of hormone production. Disrupted hormone production can reduce fertility and eventually lead to breast, testicular and prostate cancer. Since food allergies affect the immune system, both Phthalates and BPA could cause an allergic reaction or an increase in reactions among food allergic children.

How to Understand Recycling Labels

On recyclable plastic water bottles, you’ll find a triangle with a number in the center. This triangle is usually found on the bottom of the bottle. The number represents not only what the plastic will be recycled into but more importantly what the plastic is made from.

Below is a graphic briefly explaining plastic recycling codes. You can read the full article associated with this graphic here.

understanding plastic water bottle recycling codes

Avoiding Allergic Reactions to Plastic Water Bottles

In order to prevent an allergic reaction to plastic water bottles, of course consider using glass or stainless steel containers instead. But if you do go with plastic, look for BPA- and/or phthalate-free bottles. Also, keep in mind which plastic recycling codes mean what. Numbers 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE) and 5 (PP) are the best choices. On the other hand, try to avoid numbers 3 (PVC), 6 (PS) and 7, which are the most likely to contain BPA or phthalate. Number 1 (PET or PETE) is a moderate hazard. The chemicals contained in this plastic can break down and leach into the product contents over time.

Prolonged storage or exposure to heat can speed up the chemical breakdown process in plastic. Therefore, you should not store bottled water in places it could be exposed to heat, like in garages or the trunk of your car. Plastic water bottles should not be microwaved either.

Do you have an allergy to plastic water bottles? If so, we would like to hear from you. Leave us a comment below!

Also, we love to connect with our followers on social media. You can find My Kids Food Allergies on Facebook and Twitter. We are also on Pinterest and on Instagram as @mykidsfoodallergies.

SharePin on Pinterest1Share on Facebook11Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter

25 thoughts on “Allergic to Bottled Water: When You Have an Allergy to Plastic Water Bottles

  1. I’m 74 and only in last year I have had issues from plastic water bottles. Causes red dry lips and cracking. Took me months to determine the plastic water bottles. Within a few hours of drinking condition starts.

    1. I’m 73 and finally realized that my chapped, dry red lips, in the shape of a circle from where I drink the water, is caused by the plastic water bottle. Now I’m trying to get Reid of the “chapped” area but nothing seems to work. Even a prescription cortisone. What helped you?

    2. What have you done to heal the chaffing, tingling etc? Did u see a doctor? I have the same issues been drinking from plastic water bottles everyday. Thank you.

    3. I experienced the same symptoms from water bottles and reusable hard plastic straws. Took forever for me to figure out the connection. I swab the chafed area with prescription strength mupirocin ointment (2%). My dermatologist also suggested using an over the counter hydrocortisone as an alternative.

  2. This time of year only. I drink water all the time from bottles. My lips tingle and get puffy and feels like an itch. Skin peels off easy.

  3. I get what I call fever blisters from drinking from plastic drink/water bottles. Can feel the reaction within 5-10 minutes of first drink. Don’t drink from them anymore

  4. I’m 56 and started drinking bottled water two years ago and I sweat every day could it be effecting my hormones? It just started one day and hasn’t stopped after a heat type stroke. ?

    1. Good question, Candi. I would think you’d need to be drinking bottled water every day or at least very often for that to be the case, but it sounds like something worth discussing with your doctor.

    2. I am 69 years old. Started drinking lots of bottled water and I have a very dry taste in my mouth. Lips burn and tingle and even get a sore throat. It doesn’t seem to happen if I drink out of a plastic cup only water bottles. Dr says to keep bottled water close by but I feel like ive been walking in a dessert.

  5. I have a severe soy allergy and was told that plastics contain soy, does anyone know which bottled water is safe to drink?

    1. Hi, Rhonda. That’s interesting. I personally hadn’t heard about plastics containing soy, but I’ll definitely look into that. Do you happen to have an online source of information on that? I’ll also check with our team to see if anyone can help answer your question. Thank you for your comment!

  6. I caugh everytime I drink out of plastic bottles and do not do this if I drink out of a can so ususal drink my clear sodas out of alumini instead of plastic but when buy but like others my lips also get extra dry. Was just wondering if I was the only one experience this kind of problem. 62 female

    1. I am so grateful, Cheryl, for you comment. I have been having the awful problem of having my tongue tingle and swell up a little and then I would cough when I drank out of plastic water bottles. I have tried several different brands to see if I could find an answer, but I didn’t find a cure. Then, this evening, I tried the cold tap water in a glass jar. Nothing bad happened. Then I thought that it could be the bottle causing my cough instead of the water. My search has brought me to this site and to your question.

  7. I get reactions from the plant plastic bottles, like Dasani. Even if I put tap water into the bottle and if it’s in there a short time, like a half hour, I get reactions. My joints get swollen and achy. Other plastic seems to be ok so far. I did call up the company to inquire as to what plant they use and they said sugar? I am allergic to soy so I wonder. I also recently discovered I’m allergic to polystyrene. I get swollen, cracked skin from that and the outer layer of skin gets chapped…but it’s on my hand from contact.

  8. Every time I drink from bottled water I start to get really stuffy and my throats gets sore, it’s kinda hard to swallow. It’s very subtle and I often get tonsillitis and it has similar symptoms. But now I’m sure bottled water is the problem now, all other plastic has not affected me in anyway.

  9. Whenever I drink Milo’s sweet tea from a 20 oz. bottle I immediately get a numbing sensation in my upper lip. I’m thinking it might be the bottle because I used to buy the gallon jugs and pour it into a glass with no problems. I’m 40 years old, and my only known allergies are aspirin and shrimp. I also once had a very bad reaction to corticosteroids, but I don’t know if it was a real allergy. I should note that I am on several psychotropic medications for bipolar disorder.

  10. My mom is allergic to plastic water bottles. She figured it out years ago. She is older now and is a widow. She doesn’t like to cook for just herself so she eats a lot of frozen meals for lunch. Her arms and neck have been itching so bad for quite a while now that she practically scratches her skin off and she does tear her skin. Nothing seems to help. She just realized the other day that most of the frozen meals she eats at lunch have plastic bottoms. She is now going to try and find food not in plastic that she can eat easily for lunch. We are both pretty sure that is what has been causing her itching since it didn’t start until she became a widow and started eating frozen meals. Too bad it took us so long to figure it out.

  11. DR. I am having a problem with frequent urination. I urinate 3oz. to 12oz. at least one time per hour around the clock. I am 72 and this started over a year ago. I can’t last much longer. “Help”

  12. I drink alot of bottled water because I thought it was safer than tap water and I have to drink lots of water and never had an issue until just recently. I know alot of plastic containers can be dangerous also because of heat etc. But my issue is after I drink the water my throat feels sore. I do have food allergies which include dairy and wheat.

  13. I noticed a different sensation in my throat perhaps a dryness in the throat, some sensation from drinking bottled water from the supermarket, I checked it’s PET 1 – market in a Triangle on the bottle – so I don’t trust drinking bottled water anymore !
    Seriously – have to drink natural water – You really need to know your details – Even with a well – is the pipe lead or what is carrying the water from the well to the pump and to the tap? Is everything setup todate? Then get proper glass storage bottles or at least BPA Free

  14. I’m age 75. In last 2 years developed allergy to some plastics. The water bottles have immediate effects on my lips. Start to tingle and get very dry . Within hours get very dry and chapped and crack. Now have noticed that handling some plastic bags cause severe irrational on hands, with immediate redness and itching. Example. Bought some bolts at hardware store in small plastic bags. It seems the cheapest plastic bags for effect on hand irration. Clear cellophane wraps are killers. Severe hand irration in minutes. Hard plastics seem to be ok.

  15. Recently started sinking smart water after my glass water bottle broke. I’ve noticed every time I drink from the smart water bottle that I get a scratchy, sore throat. I’ll def be going back to a reusable bottle.

  16. 83 years old. When I drink bottled water I immediately get hives and excruciating itch on fore arms and belt line. Took me a long time to narrow it down. What alternatives are there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *