How to Tell if a Water Bottle Is BPA Free

Hand pointing at a green Hydro Cell water bottle

Wondering how to tell if a water bottle is BPA free? You need to consider this when trying to shift to a sustainable lifestyle while protecting your health. With that said, we're giving tips on determining if you're using a BPA-safe drinking bottle.

How to Tell If a Water Bottle Is BPA Free

To tell if your water bottle is BPA free, avoid bottles with numbers 3, 6, and 7 recycling codes. Another way is to check if the bottle uses polycarbonate or epoxy liner, which can leach BPA. You should also avoid bottles with BPF or BPS as these chemicals are substitutes for BPA.

Bisphenol A or BPA is a colorless material poorly soluble in water. This is why when you put hot or cold drinks, the chemical may just leach into the beverage. To ensure you can drink clean water, there are ways to detect if your bottle is free from BPA.

Surfer holding a water bottle

Check the Recycling Codes

One way to check if your water bottle is BPA free is to look for the identification code. BPA-safe bottles should only use codes 1, 2, 4, or 5.

Turn the bottle upside down, and you should see the recycling code at the bottom. The symbol shows a triangle made of three arrows encasing a number.

  • Code 1: Plastics made with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are generally used for water bottles, food jars, and condiment containers. It's meant for single-use as reusing it may increase the risk of leaching and bacterial growth.
  • Code 2: Bottles coming from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are fairly safe to use. This is why it's common in water jugs, bottle crates, and bottles for cosmetics.
  • Code 3: Code 3 is not BPA-safe because this component includes polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is among the least recyclable plastics. While it's strong and elastic due to phthalates, these are also highly toxic chemicals. This is why it's mostly used for drainage pipes, door frames, and shower curtains.
  • Code 4: Water bottles made with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) are also relatively safe to use, although not totally recyclable. Still, they are BPA-safe options for squeezable bottles, grocery bags, and bread wrapping.
  • Code 5: Bottles made with polypropylene (PP) have excellent heat-resistance qualities. It's typically used for chip bags, microwavable containers, and disposable cutlery. This is a food-safe material, as polypropylene doesn't contain BPA. 
  • Code 6: This code means the bottle uses polystyrene (PS), an ultra-lightweight material. While most code 6 water bottles are BPA free, polystyrene is structurally weak, which means styrene may leach into food.
  • Code 7: This is the recycling code for BPA, which is a glaring sign that you should not use a water bottle with this number. In some cases, it serves as a collective number for all other plastic resins.

Check If There Are No Polycarbonate Components

Some bottles don't include recycling codes, especially non-plastic ones. However, you can still determine if it's safe from BPA when the bottle doesn't use polycarbonate.Hand pointing at a green Hydro Cell water bottle

  • Bisphenol A is an essential component of polycarbonate, which is a hard, clear plastic used in LED light pipes, vehicle windshields, and phone cases.
  • Polycarbonate is structurally unstable. A study shows that polycarbonate can leach BPA into surrounding liquids. It also suggests that people who drink water from polycarbonate-made bottles have an increased level of BPA excreted in their urine. 
  • If the water bottle is transparent and rigid, much like in a reusable food container, there's a chance that it uses polycarbonate.

Avoid Bottles With an Epoxy Liner

Some bottles contain a special lining to stop the metal from corroding or reacting with food and beverage. It also prevents water from having a bitter aluminum-like taste. However, some aluminum bottles make lining using epoxy resin, which consists of Bisphenol A that serves as building blocks.

An epoxy liner appears to have a copper hue and may feel a bit tacky to the touch. However, in some cases, it may feel like it's bare metal. 

If you can't be sure if there's an epoxy lining, opt for other kinds of bottles like stainless steel or glass thermos. For instance, Hydro Cell water bottles don't need an epoxy lining because the 18/8 stainless steel can resist oxidation, decomposition, and corrosion.

Beware of BPA Alternatives

Public pressure and the advocacy for more people to switch to reusable items have pushed companies to move away from BPA. While some bottles won't downright use BPA, they would use Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bisphenol F (BPF) as alternatives. Unfortunately, these compounds have close molecular structures to Bisphenol A.Man lying down on a picnic mat while looking at his water bottle

While BFS and BPS are not as strong as BPA, they remain to be hormone-disrupting chemicals. If you don't see any BPF or BPS in the manufacturing details, your water bottle is safe from BPA.

Related Questions

How Can I Avoid BPA?

Aside from using stainless steel water bottles, limit your intake of canned goods as these may use BPA in the lining. Buy milk or soups packaged in cardboard cartons, or use glassware to store cooked meals. Avoid placing plastic containers in the dishwasher or microwave as the heat may break down BPA.

How to Remove the Chemical Smell in a Water Bottle?

One of the most effective ways to remove the chemical smell in a water bottle is to soak it with a baking soda paste. Another way is to clean the bottle using vinegar and a warm water solution. These ingredients can neutralize odors and disinfect bottles to stop mold growth.

How Can I Monitor My Water Intake?

The best way to monitor water intake is to use reusable bottles with large volumes. Like Hydro Cell bottles, these come in various sizes, from small 14 ounces to big 64 ounces. This is ideal, particularly when you want to know how much water you should drink to gain muscle.


A plastic bottle free of BPA should have numbers 1, 2, 4, or 5 recycling codes. For other materials, the bottle shouldn't have polycarbonate, epoxy liner, BPF, or BPS. To ensure your bottle doesn't have these components, try a stainless steel water bottle with several benefits for the body and environment.

You may also like