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?

  • 5
    Ignoring the question of leaching, it's obvious that the statement "it will taint the water enough to make the taste unbearable" can hardly be true. Concrete has been used for cisterns, dams, wells, and pipes for centuries, and surely that direct continuous contact would produce far more contamination that what could possibly filter through a plastic container. In fact, until about 50 years ago, most city water supply pipes were made of asbestos-reinforced concrete. There's a good chance many are sill in use in your city right now. Jul 24, 2021 at 18:11
  • Do they even try to explain the mechanism involved? And why wouldn't wood leach chemicals into the water through the same mechanism, or metal?
    – jwenting
    Jul 27, 2021 at 11:44
  • @RayButterworth counterargument to that might be that because the water in those pipes is flowing there is less time for the contaminants to reach detectable levels (yeah yeah, I know. We're not talking the smartest section of society here after all).
    – jwenting
    Jul 27, 2021 at 11:46


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