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Several preppers make the claim that storing plastic containers with water on concrete floors is bad because chemicals from the floor can leak into the plastic and then end up in the water.

Here are some examples:

  • Prepper blog Gotta Wanna Needa Getta Prepared quotes Kenneth Moravec:

    Concrete attracts fluids and ‘bleeds’. Anything that has been on or in that concrete will find its way into your plastic water barrel. This includes the lime in the concrete, any hazardous materials (i.e. gasoline, oils, kerosene, or anything a contractor used in construction), algae, etc. Usually, it is not enough to make the water toxic, but it will taint the water enough to make the taste unbearable. And no amount of pouring it from container to container will take that taste away.

  • BePrepared.com

    If a water storage source is in ideal conditions (it started out clean and was stored in a dark, cool area, not directly on concrete or near harsh fumes and chemicals), it technically can store indefinitely.

  • Prepper Water Storage video

    Do not sit your blue [water] barrels on the concrete. Concrete will leach - I guess some kind of chemical possibly up into the plastic. They tell you to set these on wood.

Is there any science that supports this claim?

  • 1
    Preppers are still a thing? :) – fgysin reinstate Monica Dec 15 '15 at 14:49
  • Logically, I would say no. if the plastic is keeps the water in, it should keep other substances out. I'm sure there are materials that would degrade the plastic, but I would imagine that it would cause leaks and let the water out, before in let impurities in. – codingCat Dec 17 '15 at 20:24
  • Searching... I find no information outside of articles that quote each other without citing any research; a big sign of an urban myth. The suggestion is that the concrete absorbs contaminates and then leeches them into the water without damaging the plastic container. This, as a premise, seems absurd. Coming at the idea from the other side, if there was such an obvious risk to public safety I am fairly certain that FEMA or a similar organization would have sponsored some basic research on the topic. Lacking refuting research I will refrain from post this as an answer. – codingCat Dec 17 '15 at 20:46

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