Brass Healthier Than Plastic For Storing Water

One of the easiest ways you can avoid the top 10 toxins that can harm your health is to avoid using containers made of phthalates, chemicals used in making plastic food wraps, containers and bottles. That even includes Nalgene water bottles I once used until I discovered they leached Bisphenol A (BPA) too. Those concerns prompted me to review news of recent experiments that found brass water containers may offer protection from many water-borne diseases.

Scientists compared water contaminated by live E. coli bacteria that was contained in both brass and earthenware containers over three time intervals: six, 24 and 48 hours. Surprisingly, the amount of E. coli in brass conmtainers dropped dramatically. So much so, after two days, E. Coli levels dropped to undetectable levels.

Why does brass eliminate bacteria? Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper, and pots tend to shed copper particles in water. Copper interferes with the membranes and enzymes of cells, often causing death. Still, the amount of copper a human would drink in 10 liters of water stored in a brass container wouldn't even account for the daily recommended level of that mineral in a healthy diet.

Not surprisingly, brass containers easily outperformed plastic bottles that didn't inactivate E. coli.

Nature April 8, 2005

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