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What are the Safest Materials for Water Bottles & Drinking Glasses?

Picking up a metallic taste in your water bottle? Constantly replacing your reusable water bottles? Feeling a little dizzy after using your new copper mug? That’s where our expertise in non toxic materials comes in. In this post, you’ll learn about the safest material for water bottles and discover how to tell if your drinking glass contains lead. Glassware is an integral part of our daily lives and choosing the safest drinking glasses is essential to keep you and your family safe. 

lead free drinking glasses and safe materials for water bottles

The Importance of Safe Drinkware for Your Health & Well Being

Have you ever smelled something … mmm off after using your plastic water bottle a few times? Toxic chemicals from the surface of plastic cups and food containers contaminate our food and beverages through a process called leaching. There are toxic chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAOs) in glassware containing lead which cause serious health consequences, such as infertility issues and developmental problems in children. 

non toxic drinkware to avoid leaching and contaminants

In response to the debate around health concerns linked with plastic, alternative BPA free plastic products have become popular. They use other chemicals, for example, Bisphenol S (BPS). It’s considered safer because it was supposedly less likely to leach. However, recent studies revealed that BPS still has negative health impacts on the reproductive and cardiovascular systems, similar to BPA. So, it’s clear that even BPA free plastic, isn’t the safest material for water bottles. 

Healthy Materials for Reusable Water Bottles

What are the Safest Materials for Reusable Water Bottles?

So, we’ll turn our attention to plastic free alternatives. It’s best to consider the healthiest material as being good for both you and the environment.  

stainless steel water bottle for drinking water

The top three safest materials for water bottles are:

  1. Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is a corrosion resistant and rust free metal. Most reusable water bottles come with double wall vacuum insulated technology that keeps your drinks cool (or hot) for hours. 

  2. Ceramic:  Lead safe ceramic water bottles can be either coated with ceramic on the inside or made completely from porcelain or ceramic. Ceramic is dishwasher safe and comes in many beautiful colors.

  3. Glass: When it comes to choosing the safest material for water bottles, glass is traditional and timeless. Glass water bottles are free from any residual taste you may experience from metal bottles. Most are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. And at the end of it's useful life, glass is infinitely recyclable!

Other Types of Reusable Water Bottles to Consider 

Copper water bottles are a notable mention. Known for their rich color, copper has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties with roots in Ayurvedic medicine. On the other hand, copper is only good in minute quantities. Too much can throw off the zinc/copper balance inside the body. Copper can leach into drinking water, so it’s not the safest material for water bottles or mugs. 

white silicone water bottle bpa free and food grade

Titanium is extremely durable and corrosion resistant  which makes it a great alternative to copper. It’s more lightweight than stainless steel and suitable for hikers and campers alike. You can place this right on your camping stove to boil your water, too. 

Silicone is lightweight, BPA free and food grade which makes them a popular choice for kids. They’re also the only choice for collapsible water bottles besides plastic. What’s the catch? There’s limited research on the health effects of silicone in water bottles. 

Aluminum is more cost effective than stainless steel and lighter. These water bottles can be manufactured with BPA free lining, but as we mentioned before, BPA lining alternatives aren’t always the safest material for water bottles.

Each reusable bottle comes with its own advantages and disadvantages depending on what your needs are. It’s time to reveal the healthiest material for water bottles among them. 


Our Top Pick for the Best Material for Reusable Water Bottles

What is the Healthiest Material for Water Bottles?

lead free highball tumblers glassware
lead free + BPA free glassware

Glass is the safest material for water bottles. It’s non leaching, won't change the taste of your water and is 100% recyclable, forever. While there are concerns around glass breaking and causing injury, this is by far the healthiest choice for your reusable water bottles.

Also, glass is easier to recycle than plastic which has many complicated polymer layers and can’t be split apart. The quality of glass remains the same no matter if it’s recycled once or a million times. Whereas plastic degrades after 7 to 9 cycles and can’t be processed which makes collecting ocean-bound plastic very important. 

Did you know?
HEALTHIER HOMES x OCEAN CO. Healthier Homes has partnered with Ocean Co., the great minds behind Ocean bottle, to join a movement to collectively collect 7 billion ocean-bound plastic bottles by the end of 2025. For every gallon of Healthier Homes non toxic paint, primers and cleaner, we fund the collection and recycling of 100 ocean bound plastic bottles (1 kilo) from countries around the world.

Does Glass have BPA?

Glass is BPA free thanks to its inert qualities – it won’t react to substances it comes into contact with. So, if you’re looking for BPA free plastic alternatives, glass is the healthiest option. 


...4 Tips for Maintaining & Cleaning Glass Water Bottles + Stainless Steel

First and foremost, it's important to maintain your water bottle by cleaning it thoroughly after each use to avoid bacteria growth and stains.

You’ll want to check the care instructions to see if your bottle is dishwasher safe (the lid too). Don’t worry if you’ve thrown yours away, we have tips below. Here's how to keep your glass water bottle squeaky clean. 

  1. tip 1: use warm water. Rinse with warm water as very hot water can cause chips or cracks to appear in glass (make sure you replace your bottle straight away if they do). Whereas the stainless steel can take hot water, no problem.

  2. tip 2: avoid abrasive sponges. Use a bottle brush to gently scrub the inside and outside of the bottle. Avoid abrasive and steel sponges which can cause etching on the surface of the glass. Remove really tough stains with vinegar and baking soda. 

  3. tip 3: clean the straw, flip up components and gaskets. Our toddler goes to school every morning with his trusty stainless steel water bottle in hand (glass is not advised for children.) Every evening we take apart the stainless steel bottle components inside the lid and thoroughly clean them with hot water and soap, as this is where bacteria and grime can hide and linger.

  4. tip 4: store away from sunlight. Direct sunlight may cause discoloration to your glass over time or coatings used on the outside of a stainless steal bottle. Let your bottle air dry completely with the lid off, and store in a cabinet. 

So, we’ve established that glass is the healthiest material for water bottles. It just so happens to be an excellent choice for other healthy kitchen staples, too.  Let's explore what to look out for when it comes to glassware --- lead.


Discovering Healthy Glassware: Does Glass Have Lead In It?

Whether you’re serving up libations or mastering your grandma’s famous casserole – you’ll probably have a piece of glassware in the kitchen. While your kitchen creations taste delicious, you won’t want any unwelcome ingredients in your glasses: that includes lead

colorful glass bottles

What is Lead?

Lead is a heavy metal that used to be more commonplace in daily household items. In fact it’s in the ground under our feet and in the air we breathe, mostly due to leaded fossil fuels (jet fuel still contains lead) and industrial processes. Lead has many traditional applications in pencils, cosmetics, paints, plumbing pipes and batteries because of its malleable and corrosion resistant qualities. Over recent years due to health concerns, lead has been phased out of many of these items.

Is Lead in Glass Dangerous? 

Yes. Even small amounts of lead and cadmium exposure can cause health problems in the short term, for example fatigue, dizziness and loss of appetite. Long term exposure can lead to intellectual disabilities in children, permanent memory loss and nervous system damage. You won’t even notice you’ve been exposed to lead for months, or even years, later. It takes the place of calcium and can remain in bones for many years or even a lifetime.

Young children are the most affected because their growing bodies and skeletal structures absorb more lead than adults do. The EPA advises the best method is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs. This makes investing in lead free and non toxic glassware all the more important. 

wall wine bar with lead free wine glasses

Does Glassware Contain Lead? 

Some manufacturers mix lead with glass which makes glass easier to manipulate under lower temperatures. This enables manufacturers to create eye catching shapes and designs without needing to heat glass for longer periods of time. Stained glass contains lead soldering to hold the glass in place.

Being said, it's best to stay away from antique glassware or your grandma's hand-me-down glasses. Modern day glassware has much stricter standards. Ensure you buy from quality manufacturers. Responsible manufacturing practices nowadays do not allow for lead or cadmium to be included in food safe ceramics nor glassware.

Did you know?
When in ancient Rome, don't drink as the Romans did. Romans were known to sip beverages cooked in vessels made from lead. They also channeled their spring water through leaded pipes into their homes. It's long been thought that lead poisoning plagued the Roman elite with diseases like gout and eventually lead to the empire's demise. Recently archeologists confirmed the contaminated Roman tap water indeed had 100x more lead than their natural spring water.


How To Tell If Drinking Glass Contains Lead

How to Test for Lead in Glass 

The safest drinking glasses are non toxic and lead free. Here are some suggestions on how to test glass for lead:

  1. Lead is heavier. Pick up your glass and feel the weight of it in your hand. Glassware which contain lead typically have a heavier weight to them because of the higher metal content. 

  2. Lead is louder. Tap a metal fork gently against the side of the glass. If there’s a long ring (the kind you hear before a maid of honor speech), there may be lead or cadmium in your glassware. If it makes a gentle, dull chime then your glassware is probably safe. Also wetting the edge of the glass and running your finger around the rim will produce a chime if it's leaded crystal glass.

  3. Lead is reactive. Leave a cup of distilled white vinegar in one of your glasses overnight. The lead in the glass should react with the vinegar, because it’s naturally acidic, and you can test the vinegar with a lead home test kit. 

These are the fastest ways to tell apart your safest glassware. You can always check with the manufacturer to verify there are no toxic substances in their glass products.

Is All Glass Foodware Safe?

First, we’ll take a look at the safest glass for foodware. The main components in consumer glassware are silica (known as sand), soda ash and lime (calcium carbonate). These three elements combine to create different types of glass cookware you’ll find in your kitchen:

  • SODA LIME GLASS. The most common glass found in drinking glasses and jars. This glass is lead free, but is likely to crack under high temperatures so isn’t suitable for baking or oven dishes. 

  • TEMPERED GLASS. This is heat treated soda lime glass which has undergone a process called thermal tempering. It’s able to withstand higher temperatures making it a popular choice for bakeware. It doesn’t fare so well under temperature changes, for instance, moving your casserole dish directly from the oven to the fridge. 

  • BOROSILICATE GLASS. When looking at the safest glass, borosilicate is more durable thanks to its highest level of silica (around 80%). Borosilicate is the safest material for water bottles and glass cookware. It’s made with boron trioxide which means it won’t break under major temperature shifts like tempered glass. 

Are Mason Jars Lead free?

Mason jars are used for anything from storing your favorite cookies to enjoying a matcha smoothie. Opt for clear mason jars which are typically lead and cadmium free. Be wary of colorful jars which may carry toxic heavy metals in their enamel or glazes. 

non toxic organic clay ceramic cocktail glasses

Do Ceramics Contain Lead?

Traditionally, ceramics are used in glassware and dinnerware. Similar to glass, ceramics and porcelain are inert too and sit amongst the safest drinking glasses. Look out for ceramics with unusually bright and colorful glazes which may carry lead or cadmium.

Now that we’ve covered the safest glass you need for all of your foodware, let’s take a look at drinking glasses. 


What Are The Safest Drinking Glasses?

Feeling festive? Whether you're filling up your glass pitcher with fresh squeezed lemonade or setting out wine glasses for a dinner party, it's important to consider the safety of your glassware. There may be lead hiding within your drinking glasses, especially if they're made out of leaded glass or crystal. Here's some questions to consider when investing in safe drinking glasses.

Is Leaded Glass Safe To Drink From?

Leaded glass, also known as lead crystal, is used for fancy champagne flutes, crystal wine goblets, and classic whiskey decanters due to its stunning designs. Importantly, leaded glass contains lead oxide which isn’t healthy, especially for long term use. Opt for lead free crystal tumblers and wine glasses instead.

Does Crystal Have Lead In It?

Crystal glass is named after an Italian word, “Cristallo”,  used for high end hand blown glass from Murano, Italy. Famous for its incredible clarity, prism effect and hand cut details. The majority of crystal also contains lead oxide which helps to create very thin glass we use to ensure a smooth flow from our wine glasses. If it's crystal and doesn't say anything about being lead free, it's safe to assume it's lead crystal.

Modern crystal manufacturers have found ways to produce lead free crystal while maintaining its durability, clarity and intricate design. They use alternative non toxic metal oxides like magnesium, potassium and zinc which are leach free, lead free and safe to drink from. 

The Difference Between Leaded Glass, Lead Crystal and Crystal 

It’s tricky to keep up with the different names for leaded glass and crystal at times, especially once you add lead crystal into the mix! Here’s a little science-y breakdown so you can tell the difference:  

  • leaded glass: over 30% lead oxide content 

  • lead crystal: between 24% and 30% lead oxide content 

  • crystal glass: at least 10% lead oxide content  

  • lead free: no lead oxide content – it’s replaced with safe alternatives like magnesium oxide, potassium oxide and zinc oxide

The term “lead free” specifically refers to glassware which doesn’t contain any lead. In addition, there are plenty of recycled, organic and sustainable glassware options out there to choose from. 


How to Shop for Sustainably Sourced, Non Toxic Glassware

You and your family can avoid lead contamination from your drinkware by investing in high quality lead free drinking glasses. These can be easy to shop for, if you know how to look for them. 

1. Choose a Reputable Retailer for Non Toxic Glassware 

When you buy lead free drinking glasses, always purchase from an established and highly reputable retailer. They’re more likely to make sure the glasses have undergone rigorous testing for lead, cadmium and other heavy metals in their drinkware to keep their customers safe. But don't assume. Look for glasses labeled lead and cadmium free or lead safe.

2. Check Labels for Lead in Glassware 

Look for warning labels on your glassware which include: not for food use, decorative, lead based glaze or food use may cause contamination. These are typically not intended for drinking glasses or food contact and are purely decorative.   

3. Avoid Low Quality Lead Glazes

It’s much better to avoid brightly colored glassware and ceramics with lesser quality glazes if it’s more likely to carry toxic heavy metals, like lead or cadmium. 


A Table Setting Idea For Every Glassware Occasion 

If nothing else, a beautiful table setting is the perfect way to display your elegant and healthy glassware. You can’t go wrong with a combination of greenery, lighting, flatware and unique glass. Create a mood and atmosphere with carefully selected glassware and tabletop accessories. 

  • Skip the formal tablecloth + choose a runner made with natural linen or cotton 

  • Use a charger to add a pop of color or texture, a classic dinner plate + feature plate 

  • Top your place settings with an elegant napkin display 

  • Try a centerpiece which flows down your rectangular dining table or a classic floral arrangement 

  • Add name tags using recycled gift tags + add a sprig of rosemary or baby’s breath for an organic look and feel

  • Lanterns are lovely as centerpieces or on the floor to add ambiance to the festivities

  • Layer the tabletop with water glasses, wine glasses and cocktail coupes for serving dessert


Takeaways about the safest materials for water bottles & drinking glasses.

...Are aluminum water bottles safer than plastic?

Aluminum water bottles react to acidic substances...

...Which metal is best for drinking water?

Stainless steel is the safest material for water bottles among the metal options...

...What are the disadvantages of a stainless steel water bottle?

Watch out for metal bottles with a plastic lid and/or straw...

...Does glass leach chemicals?

Glass is impermeable and inert...

...How can you tell if glass has lead in it?

There are a few things you can do to check if there’s lead in your glass...

...How much lead is in glass?

There are three types of lead free glasses...

...Is lead in glass bad for you?

Lead can leach into your food and beverages over time and damage your health...

...When did they stop putting lead in glass?

In the U.S., lead paint was banned in 1978...

non toxic glassware, use metal + glass straws that are safe & reusable

At Healthier Homes, our curated collection of lead free glassware is designed to save you hours of research and label checking. The recycled glass collection features safe drinking glasses and pitchers made from glass bottles that have found a new purpose in life. From everyday tumblers to chic wine glasses, our non toxic glassware collections are sustainably crafted and unique. Cheers! -- from the HH team :-)