Thirsty? Don't even think about drinking from these bottles, says environmental group

Published May 7, 2021, 4:42 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

It might get excruciatingly hot this dry season, but please try not to quench your thirst with these “water bottles”.

(Photo courtesy of EcoWaste Coalition)

Environment and toxics watchdog EcoWaste Coalition cautioned the public on Friday, May 7 about the unintentional ingestion of alcohol and bleach products packaged in containers that are often used for water and other beverages.

The group gave this warning after purchasing alcohol and bleach products in clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers, which are popularly used for drinking water. The products were bought from a home improvement supplies retailer and two “sabon (detergent)” stations.

“Because of their water-like appearance, rubbing alcohol, bleach, and disinfectant bleach solution can be mistaken for drinking water, especially by an unsupervised child who wants to quench her/his thirst,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“A child is easily misled into drinking alcohol or bleach if it is packaged in a container commonly used for drinking water,” he pointed out.

(Photo by Munro Studio / Unsplash)

With the increased demand for alcohol and bleach products as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, particularly for disinfection, the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized the need to use them responsibly to avoid getting poisoned.

“Not a few people, children as well as adults, have been poisoned due to the ingestion of rubbing alcohol or bleach,” Dizon said, citing the 2020 data from the UP-PGH National Poison Management Control Center (NPMCC).

According to the NPMCC, isopropyl/ethyl alcohol ranked no.1 among the top 10 agents for pediatric poisoning cases (9.03 percent of 2,425 cases) last year, followed by sodium hypochlorite, an active ingredient of bleach (7.18 percent). For adult poisoning cases, sodium hypochlorite ranked no.1 (10.05 percent of 2,726 cases) while isopropyl/ethyl alcohol was no.7 (3.26 percent).

To prevent poisoning, the EcoWaste Coalition urged manufacturers of rubbing alcohol and bleach products to strictly use proper containers and to conspicuously label their products.

“Products that are not compliant [with] packaging and labeling requirements should be immediately recalled or withdrawn from the market in the interest of public safety,” Dizon said.