First it was your favorite cocktail and now it’s your cool, arguably bacteria-fighting water bottle, but the news is not looking good for copper-made drinking vessels. According to a report published in the New York Post, your shiny copper water bottles could actually be making you sick.
Earlier this summer, news broke that the pretty mugs that Moscow mules come in might actually cause food and copper poisoning. Indiana state health officials issued a warning to consumers that any food or drink that has a pH balance of below 6 — vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice (the yummy ingredients that make up a Moscow mule) all fall under that category — should not come in contact with copper.
Brace yourself: It could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even jaundice.
“High concentrations of copper are poisonous and have caused foodborne illness. When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food,” the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division stated.
And now, that warning has made it to the cool new water bottles you’ve been seeing on Instagram feeds and in wellness stores.
These Ayurvedic bottles have been lauded for their health benefits since they splashed onto the scene about a year ago. Copper H2O, one of the most highly-reviewed brands, claims it has anti-bacterial properties, slows down aging, eliminates toxins in your body, and boosts your brain power, and says its powers date far back to Indian medicine.
However, as the New York Post notes, those claims have not been substantiated in studies.
“I don’t see anything in the medical literature about [these benefits],” Dr. Terry Gordon, NYU School of Medicine Environmental Medicine Professor, says. “In water pipes or soil, yes, but there’s just no data on water bottles or copper pots.”
But it goes far beyond questionable benefits. Not only may they not be good for you, they could also be damaging to your health. As the report points out, high levels of copper in your water—which can naturally seep into the water through the vessel you drink it from, especially if you leave the drink in the bottle overnight—can potentially cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and at worst, lead to death.
To make sure you’re not harming your body, Gordon says, do not let drinks sit in the bottle overnight. And no matter what you do, never put acidic juices (like orange juice or grapefruit juice) in the bottle. That’s a surefire recipe for stomach troubles.