The internet has become a powerful tool for disseminating information to the masses at remarkable speeds. Long gone are the days where rumors, wives’ tales, and plain old lies were spread by mouth at a snail’s pace.
The story of the unfreezable Aquafina water is one of those that puts the downside of the internet on full display. We hate to let the cat out of the bag early but, yes, Aquafina water does freeze! So how did this misinformed question come about? Who started this rumor? Let’s get down to the bottom of it and explore a little science about how water freezes, as well.
The Story of Water that Will Not Freeze
The leaders at PepsiCo, the company that produces Aquafina water, may have done a double take when they saw the story and its repercussions for the first time. “Why doesn’t Aquafina freeze? What is in it? Avoid Aquafina!” These are some fairly damaging statements that can be even more troubling when their presumed validity picks up steam.
It can be hard to pin down an origin of such a rumor but the hottest post went like this:
A post titled, “This is bizarre: Think twice about drinking Aquafina”, found its way to a popular internet message board sometime around 2007. A man heard a tip about freezing bottled water and using it to keep his fish cold on longer fishing trips.
Innocently enough, he went out and picked up a case of PepsiCo’s Aquafina bottled water. After placing the entire case in his deep freezer, he went to check them four days later and realized five of the ten bottles were not frozen.
He found this odd and used the frozen half for his trip. After his trip of a couple, he returned home and placed the now melted bottles back in the freezer for reuse and realized again that the five were still not frozen.
After ten days and no freeze for the five miraculous bottles, the man was led to declare, “Think twice about guzzling down that ice-cold bottle of Aquafina.”
You can see how this rumor spread like wildfire and led many to question what IS in Aquafina water? What could possibly have made five bottles unfreezable?
These questions turned into suggestions that PepsiCo put some form of a chemical into the water for unknown purposes that happened to keep it from freezing. In a somewhat ironic twist, it is what is not in Aquafina that keeps it from freezing.
How Water Freezes and Why This Matters for Aquafina
First, the bit of science. Most of us consider the freezing point of water to be 32-degrees Fahrenheit (zero degrees Celsius). This is generally true for almost all water found on this planet.
However, scientists say the freezing point for pure water free from any particles down to a speck of dust is negative 36-degrees Fahrenheit. This is a significantly lower temperature than the average home freezer.
So, how does this impact the case of unfreezable Aquafina water? The answer is simple. Those five bottles that would not freeze had been filtered to a purity that lowered their freezing point. It was not what was in the bottles but what was not.
PepsiCo admittedly uses local municipal water supplies as its source for Aquafina bottled water. They use a stringent method of filtering that removes almost all and in some cases every bit of impurities.
Next time someone suggests there is something in Aquafina that keeps it from freezing, you can confidently say, “Well, actually…”.