Why do old polyethylene bottles smell?

Mr Neville Steven Percy spbcnsp at ucl.ac.uk
Fri Aug 5 19:11:47 EST 1994


landel at helios (Carlisle Landel) writes:

>I unearthed an old carboy yesterday, and was considering using it for
>RO water storage (we've been having problems with our system, and
>I wanted to stockpile some).  I noticed that it smelled funny inside.
>Only water has ever been stored in it, as far as I know.  It is the
>same smell that your polyethylene water bottle that you'd use for
>hiking (the nalgene bottles we steal from the lab and other people
>buy from the outfitter stores) gets with age.  The question is, what
>is that smell, and does storing water in it cause degredation of the
>water quality?  Just curious.

>Of course, I'll not store water in it, because anything I can smell 
>probably goes into the water.

Quite right, too!

There was recently a documentary on over here, concerning all that gunk in the
drinking water and the drastic fall in the male sperm count over the past few
decades.  This is generally attributed to oestrogens, but the programme featured
one group who were getting the same effect off their UltraPure double-distilled,
and they eventually found that _nonyl-phenol_ leaches out of the plastic of
at least whatever labware _that_ lab was using, and has either a partial
activity, or a breakdown product with partial activity equivalent to an 
oestrogen.

Probably not a fatal problem for us folks, but little kids who haven't done 
their developing yet could be in trouble.
							Nev   (:>

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(Mad Cow Disease)       Neville Percy ;  spbcnsp at ucl.ac.uk          _.=~-.--=~
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