A study published by the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom found that there may be more risks to alcohol use than a hangover. New analyses of the printed decorations on both clear and colored alcohol bottles found that many of them contain toxic substances. Researchers also found trace amounts of these toxic substances within the glass bottles themselves, which included:

  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Lead

This study was conducted over the course of one year. The findings identifying toxic elements in glass decorations of wine and liquor bottles were consistent through the course of the research. More than consumer risk, there is a concern that these bottles will end up in landfills and recycling plants, contaminating the products there.

The three substances found in bottles of alcohol present a serious risk to public health. While they may not be consumed along with alcohol, these toxins are interacted with during handling and then cross-contaminated during disposal and recycling.

Cadmium is a heavy metal that is a toxic carcinogen. It is used in the manufacturing of pigments, which is where it was used on bottles of alcohol. It is also used to make batteries and in electroplating practices. Cadmium fumes are toxic if inhaled.

Chromium is also toxic when inhaled and can cause a wide variety of pulmonary and respiratory damage. Asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and even ulcers can be the result of exposure to chromium. Chromium is also harmful to the skin and can cause swelling, dryness and scaling on the dermis.

The presence of lead on alcohol bottles represents a significant health risk. If bottles containing traces of lead are crushed when recycled, they can imperil the health of communities near those recycling plants. Lead is primarily a risk factor for children, but its prohibition from any household items indicates that it presents a potential health risk for anyone.

As new knowledge is continually uncovered related to the items we interact with daily, it is important to understand and assess the risk involved. Potentially negligent practices on the part of alcohol manufacturers are just one of the many ways they contribute to public health crises.

Alcohol and Its Health Risks

The effects of alcohol on your health have long been debated. The health effects of alcohol are regularly praised and alcohol health risks downplayed. There are numerous statistics that can guide our understanding of whether alcohol is beneficial or not.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2015, 86% of people over 18 reported drinking alcohol. Nearly 27% of those people reported binge drinking alcohol within the last month. Based on prevalence alone, understanding if alcohol is healthy or not is an important consideration.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state the short term and long term health risks of excessive alcohol consumption, which include:

While the study in the United Kingdom found that the enamel decorations on the outside of bottles of alcohol contained toxins, the substances inside can cause addiction and lifelong health issues. If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol addiction, reach out to The Recovery Village today for more information.