Bottle water
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Your Bottle of Water Expired. Is It Still Safe to Drink?

I  have joked in the past about expiration dates printed on bottles of water — such as in this article posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 — wondering exactly what happens to water when it expires. Does it curdle? Will it completely evaporate? Does the water eventually get watered down? Should you stock up on powdered water — just add water to hydrate it — instead of liquid water?

Your Bottle of Water Expired. Is It Still Safe to Drink?

The short answer is that water is generally safe to drink after it expires. The likelihood that you will get sick — or even die — from consuming expired water is negligible at best…

…but regardless, there are still concerns to be associated with “expired” water.

Antimony and Bisphenol A

Higher levels of antimony — a trace heavy metal — apparently leach into the water from the plastic of the bottle when the temperature increases, as mentioned in the aforementioned article. If you leave a plastic bottle of water in such environments as a hot car or in a warehouse with little to no climate control where cases of the water could be stored for an undetermined period of time, you could be at a higher risk of contracting lung, heart, and gastrointestinal diseases; and one form of the metal — known as antimony trioxide — has been classified as a possible carcinogen.

Bisphenol A — better known as BPA — is a chemical found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins which can mimic estrogen in the body. Bisphenol A is safe at the very low levels which occur in some foods based on review of hundreds of studies by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States; but the agency has banned it for use in conveyances of drinkable liquids specifically designed for use by babies and children.

“Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. They may also be used in other consumer goods”, according to this article — which also gives advice on how to reduce your exposure to bisphenol A if you are concerned about your intake of the chemical — written by Brent A. Bauer for the Mayo Clinic. “Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA.”

Dust, Microbes and Funky Taste

“If you’ve ever left a glass of water out overnight and taken a sip the next day, you probably noticed that it tasted a little funky”, according to this article written by Patrick Allan for Lifehacker. “You might suspect that the water started to spoil, but this video from the DNews YouTube Channel explains that the funky taste is actually because the water was exposed to air, making it slightly more acidic and become the home of things like dust and microbes. It’s probably still safe to drink for another day or so as long as it wasn’t outside, but it will continue to get more gross over time.”

At least 14 outbreaks associated with bottled water have been documented since 1973, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; but there have been no known outbreaks since 2010.

Additional information and details pertaining to bottled water is outlined in this document from the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States.


As long as bottled water is stored in cool dark places — out of direct sunlight or high heat as two examples — it can be safe to consume for a very long time. Ensure that it is stored away from pesticides and gasoline; and that each bottle is not compromised.

Raise that bottle of water and drink up — even if it is expired. I would advise that you do not treat milk similarly, however.


Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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