Is Smoking Out Of A Plastic Bottle Bad For You?

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    Why You Should Be Warry Out Of Smoking Out Of a Plastic Bottle?

    The MacGyvers of cannabis culture are able to make is a DIY gravity Bong, pipe, hookah, and more by using a variety of materials like fruit, metal, and plastic. However, just because you can doesn’t mean that you necessarily should. i.e., You can make a vintage weed pipe from lead, which is not recommended.

    Previously, I examined the safety of smoking out of certain metals. Now, I am going to examine the safety of smoking out of plastic material, which includes everything from water bottles, soda bottles, milk bottles, and much more.

    What Can You Expect?

    This article isn’t an “Ultimate Guide”. It will though get you on the right track in making the best decision for your particular situation, as I will cover the below subjects and when applicable I will also include the link for further study.

    • Examples of DIY Homemade Smoking Devices
    • General Dangers of Plastic Fumes
    • Whether or not I would steer away from a DIY plastic bong or other plastic homemade pipes. (I am not a scientist. So, I will give you reasons, based upon my non-scientist understanding of why or why not I would choose to smoke or not smoke out of a typical plastic bottle)

    Overview Of The Homemade Pipe And More

    It’s not just a plastic water bottle bong or plastic homemade pipe anymore! Below are a few examples of DIY smoking accessories.

    • Hookah

    • Gravity Bong

    • Pipe

    And Much More…

    Keep on reading to discover if it is safe to smoke out of plastic material.

    The Uncertainty of Knowing Whether Using A DIY Plastic Bottle For Smoking Weed Is Dangerous

    I was unable to find any scientific studies on if there are any long-term Implications from smoking weed using a plastic container or bottle. The reason being, as I have said multiple times, is that, in America, cannabis is still illegal federally. (It is labeled as a Schedule One drug, which means that the feds deem cannabis does not have any medicinal purposes)

    This means that, even if your state has legalized marijuana, you can still be arrested by federal law enforcement officers for possessing cannabis. The DEA also could a state’s legal dispensaries down, and even arrest the workers. Additionally, as weed is considered by the feds to have no medicinal value, there have been very few studies on the health effects of weed in general.

    I was unable to find any studies on the dangers of smoking through a homemade soda bottle. As a result, I’ll the known problems of inhaling burnt plastic from “x” plastic also evaluate an article by High Times that attempts to answer the safety question first addressed in this article.

    Are There Any Potential Health Problems that Can Occur From Burning Plastic Fumes?

    To answer in general terms, YES. However, the damage that can occur depends upon the following factors:

    • Plastic That is Being Burned
    • How Long Someone is Exposed To The Fumes
    • How The Fumes Are Being Inhaled

    Specifically, the general, minor, symptoms associated with plastic fume inhalation are listed below:

    • Headaches
    • Skin rashes
    • Minor irritations to the throat, nose, and Skin

    Also, inhaling burning plastic fumes has been found to cause the following severe problems.

    Organ Harm– Your liver reproductive system and kidney can all be negatively affected by fume exposure.

    Respiratory Damage-Chronic conditions like asthma may be aggravated

    Cancer-Certain chemicals emitted from plastic are known carcinogens.

    Heart Problems

    HYDROGEN CYANIDE- Cyanide fumes are emitted from the plastic polyurethane. As you likely know already, cyanide exposure can be deadly as it can lead to suffocation and eventually death.

    How Safe are PET Resin, Cellulose Acetate, and PVC Plastics?

    Polethlene Terephthalate AKA Pet Resin

    Pepsi Soda, 20oz Bottle (Pack of 10, Total of 200 Fl Oz)

    Pet Resin is among the most popular types of plastic and is commonly used in bottled water, soft drink bottles, and condiment bottles. (i.e. Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, etc.). Per PETRA or PET Resen Association ( PETRA are lobbyists for PET Resin manufacturers, so, take any info on their website, with a healthy dose of cynicism) the reason for PET’s popularity is that it is unbreakable, hygienic, lightweight, and able to keep food fresh for long periods.

    How Safe Is PET Resin?

    Independent sources confirm that PET Resin is a generally safe form of plastic as it does not contain BPA’s. However, PET Resin fumes and leaking can result in exposure to unsafe amounts of antimony.

    What Is Antimony?

    Antimony Ore Close Up

    Antimony is a silver/white metal that has the atomic number 51. Small amounts of this metal should not be a problem. But too much exposure, like almost any substance, can lead to health problems.

    How Do You Get Exposed to Antimony?

    Antimony exposure occurs most often from fumes and leaching. Antimony fumes are most likely from industrial use. Leaching occurs when the antimony in PET resin leaks into food, water, soft drink Etc. Studies have shown that Antimony in pet resin water bottles appears at rates far above normal potable groundwater. General symptoms of Antimony, toxicity are gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and even ulcers.

    Serious Health Conditions

    Some of the serious health risks caused by Antimony exposure is pneumoconiosis and exposure to antimony trioxides has been linked to causing cancer.

    Cellulose Acetate

    A 95% Chance These Filters Are Cellulose Acetate

    95% of all cigarette filters use cellulose acetate. So, if you have seen a cigarette butt, you’ve seen cellulose acetate.

    What is Cellulose Acetate?

    It is a synthetic compound that is derived from natural cellulose. The end product is made into cloth fiber, like acetate rayon (AKA triacetate).

    Cellulose acetate is not commonly used in plastic bottles. It is however seen in 95% of cigarette filters. It is though occasionally used in bottles and plastic containers. An example of a cellulose acetate plastic container is shown below.

    Cellulose Acetate Fumes

    As it comes from the natural substance, cellulose, this compound is generally considered to be safe. Cellulose acetate fumes though have been known to cause respiratory tract irritation when inhaled, and its MSDS sheet states that if on fire, it can emit dangerous fumes.


    PVC is known for its low cost, lightweight, and durability. PVC is now even being substituted for traditional construction materials like metal, rubber, wood, and ceramics.

    Is PVC Safe to Smoke Out Of?

    According to Green Peace, which I admit is a biased source, (being biased though does not mean that they are either right or wrong) states that PVC is the most environmentally damaging plastic that is produced today. This article is almost 30-years old, but its basic information is still quite helpful.

    Per Green Peace, it is damaging to both humans and the ecosystem. And as humans and animals are intertwined through the biological life cycle you cannot say that, as it only affected the eco-system “It won’t affect me.”

    How Can PVC Be Damaging?

    PVC is damaging because chlorine is used to make this plastic, and chlorine is in turn escapes out into the environment. Per Green Peace chlorine, is linked to dangerous CFCs, which were partly the reason for the Love Canal and Times Beach disasters. Also, chlorine, CFCs are linked to the infamous Agent Orange and the Eagle killing DDT.

    What Is The Health Consequence of Inhaling PVC-Chlorine Fumes?

    • Cancer

    • Slower Childhood Development

    • Damage to Immune System

    • Fertility Problems.

    Melting Point of PET Resin, Cellulose Acetate, and Polyvinyl Chloride (AKA PVC)

    As shown above, plastics can emit several toxic, and frankly nasty fumes. But if the melting point of a certain plastic is above a cigarette lighters temperature, it might be perfectly safe to smoke out that plastic. So, below are the melting point for PET Resin, Cellulose Acetate, and Polyvinyl Chloride (AKA PVC).

    A typical Zippo or disposable lighter can get to over 4,000 degrees F. However, it takes a long time to get to that high temperature. One study stated that it took a lighter 50 seconds to get to 140 F. So, based SOLELY on the melting point and the typical use of a lighter, smoking out of a plastic bottle might not be hazardous to your health.

    Is Smoking Out of a Plastic Bottle Bad For You?

    Plastic Smoking Device

    As I said earlier, there have been few studies, if any at all, on whether it is safe to smoke out of plastic. So, no one has yet, with scientific certainty, answered the above question. The only article that I could find on this subject from a somewhat reputable source, (but not scientific) was High Times.

    However, this article seemed questionable as after telling you the dangers of smoking out of plastic, they then refer you to a page that tries to sell you a $420 glass bong. Bias doesn’t necessarily mean that they are wrong. It only means that you should take their advice with A GRAIN OF SALT.

    Finding of “The Dangers of Smoking Out of Plastic”

    As you hopefully guessed from the title of the article, smoking out of a DIY plastic bottle was not endorsed by High Times. This article mentioned two reasons for their conclusion.

    • Dangerous Heat-Per Cancer Research UK, a plastic bottle can contain toxic chemicals after only reaching 140 degrees. And 140 degrees is a reasonable temperature for a lighter to reach.
    • Cancer Causing-Most plastics can cause cancer. This includes even polyethylene terephthalate or PET resin.

    Based upon the above, the article stated that you should be wary about smoking out of a plastic water bottle. The article also though concluded that the health damage of smoking out of a plastic bottle is unknown.

    Their findings do lead to the conclusion that smoking out of a plastic bottle is harmful. However, them trying to sell you $400+ bongs hurts the article’s credibility.

    Final Thoughts

    I was unable to find any studies concerning any dangers of smoking through a DIY plastic bottle water pipe, hookah, or gravity bong.

    As a result, with scientific certainty, I am unable to answer the question of “Is smoking out of a plastic bottle bad for you?”. Inhaling plastic fumes though is known to be very unhealthy, and in some cases, can even cause cancer. The melting point of certain common plastics might be low. But the melting point for plastic bottles is higher than the temperature of the normal use of cigarette lighters.

    The Cancer Research UK article though stating that plastic water bottles reaching a low temperature of 140 F might contain toxic, cancer-causing chemicals made me conclude that it is best to err on the side of caution. So, unless it’s an emergency, I would personally stay away from a plastic homemade pipe and use an apple pipe or its equivalent, or simply roll a joint.


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