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Every morning I bring with me a small PETE (from some searches it seems to be the same as PET plastic) bottle (an ex coke bottle) containing hot tea.

  1. Is it safe to store hot liquids, especially, tea in this type of container?
  2. Is possible, under these conditions, that the bottle releases some harmful substances?

Thanks in advance.

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There are a lot of really cheap insulated travel mugs out there. If you're worried, just get one and avoid the issue - and it'll keep your tea hotter, too. –  Jefromi May 18 '12 at 14:44
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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The answer to your first question is basically the answer to your second question with associated risk analysis (i.e., if yes, is it worth it?).

So to answer your second question, yes it does seem likely that most plastic containers release compounds that mimic estrogen under some conditions. Furthermore, many of the compounds that are released from plastics have not been fully tested, so the absence of specific information on their risk is not evidence of an absence of risk.

Since it does appear that these plastics can release harmful compounds under certain conditions then the answer to your first question of is it safe, boils down to "are you replicating an environment where enough endocrine mimics are released to cause harm?"

Given the lack of research on all of the ways in which plastics leach and the fact that there is evidence that endocrine disruptors do not follow normal dose-response curves, I personally would conclude that the risk exceeds the inconvenience of having to find a non-plastic container to transport your tea.

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thanks! I think this is the argument i was searching... I'm not an expert on endocrine system, but I will surely consider your point. In fact I can't alas exclude the risk... –  iRubens May 22 '12 at 6:56
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Live and learn, I was writing about PET causing cancer, but that's a hoax, apparently.

Some plastics can stand heat better than others, so try to be on the safe side, and let the liquid cool to 50°C (122°F) before storing it.

No, it won't release any harmful substances.

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I'd like to read some counterarguments scattered around the internet but i can't find anything. Then I think your it's a good answer, thanks! :) –  iRubens May 18 '12 at 12:16
    
I think a lot of those bottles do say "not for reuse" - do you happen to know why? –  Jefromi May 18 '12 at 13:35
    
@Jefromi, I guess for the simple reason that it forces you to buy another one :-) It also explains why the hoax is so forceful, I believed it until today. –  BaffledCook May 18 '12 at 14:25
    
@Jefromi maybe its in reference to glass soda bottles, which used to be returned to the factory, washed, and reused. –  derobert May 18 '12 at 17:27
    
@Flimzy, when will the anglo-saxons start using the metric system? –  BaffledCook May 18 '12 at 22:50
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