The debate between aluminium reusable bottles and stainless steel reusable bottles may never be fully resolved. Some people prefer stainless steel, while others prefer aluminium. Much of this debate started when it was discovered that bisphenol-A (BPA), present in many plastic bottles, could be harmful when consumed. As of 2010, most sources agreed stainless steel bottles are preferred. However, aluminium bottles have their own benefits.
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Stainless steel is the preferred choice for reusable water bottles, according to multiple sources, including Gaiam Life and Pura Stainless. There are several reasons for this. Stainless steel is tough and extremely reusable. Stainless steel does not require any coatings to protect the surface of the metal. And it comes from a mixture of steel alloy with about 10 per cent chromium added for rust resistance.
Aluminium is a common material for reusable water bottles because it is inexpensive and lightweight. Some aluminium bottles have an additional coating on the inside designed to prevent the aluminium from leeching into the liquid, causing the potential for aluminium poisoning. Usually the linings use an epoxy coating to protect the metal, but occasionally the bottles have a coating of plastic instead.
Although stainless steel and aluminium bottles are similar, they offer unique benefits. Stainless steel is tough and dishwasher safe. It will not dent when dropped. There is no worry about stainless steel bottles containing BPA because they have no plastic coatings or parts. Aluminium bottles are cheaper. They provide the same health benefits as stainless steel bottles without the higher price tag. Aluminium is also lighter, which makes it easier to carry.
Aluminium is harder to care for than stainless steel. The addition of an epoxy resin to protect the liquids from metal poisoning generally means the bottles must be hand-washed. Aluminium may also have a shorter life than stainless steel because of the thinness of the bottles. Stainless steel bottles generally cost more and do not come in as many style options as aluminium bottles.
There are two potential dangers with the use of aluminium bottles. The first occurs when the epoxy lining on the bottle wears off. This exposes the metal to the liquid inside, which can potentially cause exposure to too much aluminium than is safe for consumption. High exposure to aluminium is thought to lead to a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. However, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment conducted a study in 2007 that found aluminium exposure does not cause Alzheimer's disease. Another risk of aluminium bottles is the risk of BPA exposure. According to research done by the Consumer's Union, BPA can potentially increase the risk for reproductive problems, cancers and diabetes. When subjected to extreme heat, the lining in aluminium bottles may leech BPA into the water.
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