BPA (Bisphenol A) has been making the news as a potential human health risk for a while, but I only recently caught wind of it. I’m wondering, “Is it time to buy new water bottles?”
The current FDA statement on BPA says
Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects.
On September 4, 2008 a new study from University of Cincinatti links BPA to Metabolic Syndrome in Humans. This concern is highest for infants and the use of baby bottles. Developing minds are often at the highest risk with toxins, after all.
So, what does this mean for you and me and other outdoor-minded folk? Well, it probably centers around the ubiquitous Nalgene bottle. The classic Nalgene bottle stuffed into backpacks, on college and office desks and chilling in the fridge is one of the products with BPA. The Nalgene company statement on BPA says
Based on the findings of the Food and Drug Administration, The Environmental Protection Agency, The American Plastics Council and other reliable sources from around the world, we continue to firmly believe in the safety of our products.
However, the company also says
…because of consumer requests for alternative materials, we have decided to transition our polycarbonate product line to Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. This product joins our family of bottles and containers made of various non-BPA materials such as HDPE, PP, LDPE and PET.
This is a typical position for a company to take. Essentially they are claiming that all evidence points to the safety of their current products, but they are a responsive, concerned manufacturer and have made a line of products based on consumer interest.
Several manufacturers have a BPA free product line. Nalgene’s BPA free line includes the new “Everyday” line of water bottles. Camelbak has the “Better Bottle” line. Sigg also has a line of stainless steel bottles.
With the availability of an alternative, I’ve had to ask myself what this all means to me, my wife and my young son. What do I do about all those bottles? And what about all those other plastic bottles? The bike bottles? The water bottle in the fridge? The iced tea container?
I’ve decided that it would be prudent to pick up some new bottles and phase out the old ones. I’m getting a new water bottle for my son, too. I’m in no panic about it, but I’m the kind of person who wore his seatbelt before they made it a law in Maine. Know what I mean? No need to unnecessary risks.
You may want to check out some of the new BPA free bottles from Nalgene, CamelBak, Sigg and others.
Check out some of the NETrailhead Store BPA-free water bottles from REI.
Update: FDA changes position slightly, taking reasonable steps to limit BPA exposure.