You probably already know it’s not a great idea to drink bottled water that’s been sitting in a hot car, but there’s now a new warning out there. Apparently, those abandoned water bottles can also be a fire hazard!
It may sound strange that a bottle of H2O could be considered a fire hazard, but it’s true. Idaho Power Company battery technician Dioni Amuchastegui noticed steam coming from underneath his car when he was on a recent lunch break. The cause? A bottle of water. As the video posted by the Idaho Power Company shows, the light that was refracted through the water bottle was actually causing a fire inside his vehicle. The burn marks on Amuchastegui’s car seat are the proof.
Firefighters, too, are warning the public to be careful so that they can prevent this phenomenon. David Richardson, of the Midwest City Fire Department in Oklahoma, explained that, “The liquid and the clear material develop a focused beam, and sure enough, it can actually cause a fire.”
Chances are, you’ve heard it’s also a bad idea to actually drink water that’s been in a hot car because the effects of the heat can leach certain chemical compounds, like carcinogenic DEHA and BPA, into the water. This claim originated from emails that were circulating around the public in 2007. Evidence, however, doesn’t back up the claims about BPA and DEHA. They’ve since been debunked by both the American Cancer Society and the International Bottled Water Association. Still, Snopes.com says that it’s undetermined whether or not heating plastic water bottles could leach a different type of chemical, phthalates, into water.
So it’s probably best to steer clear of chugging water that’s been in your sun-drenched car, no matter how thirsty you are. If you do accidentally leave a water bottle in the car, you don’t have to waste it—feel free to use it to water your plants.
And if you absolutely must keep a clear plastic water bottle in the car, make sure it’s out of direct sunlight—all the better to avoid accidentally starting a fire in your vehicle!
[h/t: Good Housekeeping]