Does Water Expire? Here’s Why You Should Care

Drinking it is a little more complicated

Even if you prefer reusable water bottles, you probably always have some bottled water on hand, perhaps even stocked up in case of emergency (as you should). Are you wondering if water expires? In spite of the fact that you might think of bottled water as a nonperishable food, it actually doesn’t last forever.

When was the last time you checked the expiration date or sell-by date on your bottled water? Is it possible for water to go bad? Make sure you don’t drink stale water by reading this article.

Does water expire?

It is technically true that bottled water expires. A sell-by date on dairy products or eggs is pretty self-explanatory, but you might be surprised to find a time stamp on bottled water.

Though the reasoning for the expiration date is outlined below, the FDA does not actually mandate an expiration date on bottled water and says it is fine to drink bottled water past its expiration date if it has been stored properly-unlike these foods you should not eat past its expiration date.

The FDA and EPA believe tap water will last approximately six months when stored properly, since it is not as highly regulated as bottled water.

Is it okay to drink expired water?

How long does it take for bottled water to go bad? In reality, it’s not the water quality you should be concerned about. In retail bottles, it’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and in water cooler jugs, it’s high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Technically, it’s the bottle that goes bad, not the water.

It is possible for these plastics to leach into the liquid of the bottle once expired, and especially when exposed to heat, including sunlight and hot cars or storage trucks, says holistic health expert Amy Leigh Mercree. Plastic material contains toxins that enter the water.

Not only can this affect the taste of water, but it could also pose a serious health hazard. “It disrupts the endocrine system, causing reproductive symptoms, cancer, neurological problems, and immune system damage.”

Water can also accumulate odors and other nasty accompaniments from outside due to the porous plastic. When stored improperly, bottled water can also grow mold or algae in rare cases.

You should be able to drink bottled water as long as it has been stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

How long does it take for water to expire?

Mercree notes that most bottled water companies print a standard two-year expiration date on their bottles. The water in the bottle can’t be precisely predicted when it will no longer be drinkable, but Mercree says the longer it has been in circulation, the more likely it has been exposed to heat or degraded.

Despite the fact that companies print dates on water bottles, the FDA maintains that bottled water does not have to have an expiration date or shelf life—just be cautious.

Can you get sick from drinking old water?

It is possible to get sick from contaminated or exposed bottled water, but it is pretty rare. It’s safe to drink bottled water as long as you don’t expose it to extreme heat or keep it too close to household chemicals, and you refrigerate it once it’s opened.

Keep an eye out for these other non-food items that had expiration dates you weren’t aware of. Discover more about food expiration facts, such as how long does wine, butter, and salt last?

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