Georgia Fire Officials Issue Warning About Leaving Water Bottles in Hot Car

June 4, 2019 Updated: June 4, 2019

Georgia fire officials have issued a warning about leaving water bottles inside cars.

As the temperatures rise over the summer months, hot water battles can heat up and even cause a fire inside a hot car, said the Bainbridge Public Safety in Georgia to Fox8 on June 4.

The sunlight, according to the report, can cause a fire.

“I think that’s very strange,” one woman told the news outlet. “I would not ever think of that.”

But a fire official, David Richardson, noted that as sunlight comes through, the liquid inside the water bottle can “act as a magnifying glass” and set a fire.

(Illustration – Shutterstock)

“Whether it’s putting it underneath the seat or covering it with a towel or a shirt or something that may be in the vehicle. So it potentially can be very devastating, you could loose an entire vehicle, but yet it’s so easy to prevent,” said Julie Harris, the public information officer with Bainbridge Public Safety, reported WALB.

Plastic water bottles can reach up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit inside a hot car, according to the report.

Officials recommend that people keep water bottles out of cars on hot days.

Tests Done

Last year, the Midwest City Fire Department conducted a test, finding sunlight magnified through a bottle of water in a hot car could reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit

The beam of heat can then focus on other interior materials of the car, including seats, mats, or other fabrics.

Dioni Amuchastegui, an Idaho power station’s battery technician, issued a warning in another video, describing how a plastic water bottle can create a dangerous situation in a hot car.

He said that he noticed smoke out of the corner of his eye. The light was starting to set his car seat on fire.

“I was a little bit surprised actually I had to do a double take and checked it again and sure enough it was super hot. I even stuck my hand under the light, just hard to believe at first,” Amuchastegui said in the video.

With a thermometer, it was “extremely hot,” he said.

The power company also did its own test, finding that it was 211 degrees Fahrenheit at the point of contact.

Another Reason?

Some have argued that it’s not safe to leave water bottles in hot cars because the high temperatures can cause BPA to seep into the water after they’re left in the sun.

Cheryl Watson, a professor in the biochemistry and molecular biology department at the University of Texas, told Today.com that “when you heat things up, the molecules jiggle around faster and that makes them escape from one phase into another.”

“So the plastic leaches its component chemicals out into the water much faster and more with heat applied to it,” she said. “It’s kind of like when you put mint leaves in your tea. The heat extracts the mint-tasting molecules and it happens faster in hot tea than it does in cold tea.”

However, the International Bottled Water Association said that plastic bottled water containers are regulated and can withstand heat.

“As with all food packaging materials, bottled water containers must be made from FDA-approved food contact substances. That means the plastic and glass containers used for bottled water products have undergone FDA scrutiny prior to being available for use in the marketplace. FDA has determined that containers used by the bottled water industry are safe for use with food and beverage products—including bottled water—and they do not pose a health risk to consumers,” the group says.

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