Health: Is mineral water from the supermarket really bad?

Health: Is mineral water from the supermarket really bad?

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Can mineral water also go bad? What is to be considered?

Can mineral water actually go bad and endanger health? After all, there is a best before date on the water bottles that are commercially available. Indeed, consumers should pay attention to certain aspects.

Best before

Water cannot go moldy because mold needs protein and sugar to grow and water does not contain it. However, there is a best before date on water bottles. We explain why stale water can cause infections with bacteria and germs.

Shelf life does not mean that something is automatically bad if we consume it after this time. For water in plastic bottles, "shelf life at least one year" is generally valid, for glass bottles it is two years. But is the water bad afterwards and a health risk?

Why does water become acidic?

Because water does not contain protein or sugar, it cannot rot or ferment. When stored open, water absorbs CO2, which creates carbonic acid. This lowers the pH a little and the water tastes a bit acidic. This is not a problem for health.

After two days in the open air, microbes, especially bacteria, multiply. They particularly stick to the edge of the bottle. Viruses and bacteria can spread even if several people drink from a bottle - for example, this is a good way to catch a cold.

Germs in the open water

Open water can contain a lot of germs that cause infectious diseases. These include adenoviruses, which particularly affect the upper respiratory tract, noroviruses, which cause diarrhea, shigella, which cause infections of the large intestine, and coli bacteria, which also damage the intestine, and giardia lamblia, which inflame the small intestine.

Unsanitary environment

However, the greatest dangers do not arise from the water itself, but from unsanitary environments around the water. So microbes like legionella live in so-called biofilms, and these often arise on the walls of water pipes and especially on rust. The biofilm consists of the waste products of various microorganisms that feed on rust. Legionella has ideal conditions at temperatures of around 20 degrees to around 55 degrees.

Shelf life of closed mineral water?

What happens if the specified best-before date is exceeded when the water bottles are closed? You can be safe. The German Mineral Water Information Center assures: “Unopened water in glass bottles is more or less stable indefinitely.”

What about plastic bottles?

With plastic bottles this is not entirely harmless. In the long run, substances from the plastic could dissolve in the water and over time, air penetrates the bottles and changes the taste of the water. Especially when the bottles are in the heat, substances from the plastic can penetrate into the water. Furthermore, hormone-like substances can form in the long term from the plastic bottles, the effects of which on health have not been adequately researched.

Tap water is as high quality as mineral water

In Germany, tap water is not only a cheap alternative to the mineral water purchased, but also a good one. It is strictly and often controlled in this country. Purchased mineral water can contain a number of substances such as lead and arsenic compared to tap water. The following also applies to mineral water: Many types of water performed well in the test - but there are negative exceptions.

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

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