Bottled Water: Summer Tip

Do you enjoy bottled water? Here's a surprisingly simple tip for keeping your water bottles bacteria-free during fun summer outdoor time.

Dr. Greene’s take on bottled water…

I came across an interesting article in the June 3, 2003 Boston Globe. “Water bottles are not all created equal.” The article quotes Ryan Jordan, a biofilm engineer, who explained that softer plastic bottles can create a safe haven for bacteria and lead to infections when people head off for summer fun at picnics, hiking trails, and campsites. After relating a number of tips for keeping water clean, the article makes a profound, off-hand statement.

Surprisingly, the main cause for infections on the trail is not bacteria or parasites in rivers, streams, ponds, or water bottles. Instead, the problem comes when people enjoying the outdoors don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom!

This is especially true before preparing or eating a picnic meal or an outdoor snack. Soap and water may not be practical on the go, but alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers are portable, healthy, effective ways to get the hands clean even without soap and water.

What a great tip for enjoying the sun or the stars or summer family fun.

Published on: June 09, 2003
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

How possible is it to get sick from well water?

Hi Kathy,

Water can be contaminated with bacteria or toxic substances like heavy metals or pesticides. This is true for well water and water found in lakes, streams and rivers. In many developing countries, poor sanitation leads to serious water issues. In countries with higher standards for handling human waste, the greater concern is for industrial waste being improperly handled.

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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