June 14th, 2005

Nicodemus

Better Drinking Through Chemistry

Sometimes bottled water gets a funny "plastic" taste. This seems to happen a lot if a bottle of water is left in the car (something I tend to do frequently). The water then gets a light aftertaste.

Now I know that the temperatures inside my car don't get high enough to even begin to melt the plastic of the bottle... So where is that flavor coming from? Well, I did a bit of web reading about some polymers today during lunch (what, you don't read about polymers for fun?) and came up with this theory:

The degradation of the bottle's PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is leeching out trace amounts of acetaldehyde into the water. This is that bottle taste. Any [armchair or pro] chemists out there who can chime in on this one?
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