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Water Bottles, Again…

By Jenn (TinyChoices.com) | January 22, 2008

glass drinking jars container

Update: Please read our “We Are Not Experts” disclaimer

I’ve written before about the sad but true fact that pretty Nalgene bottles most likely leach Bisphenol-A (a hormone disruptor) into the liquids and foods you store inside them, and how even though this has yet to be proven absolutely, a certain Canadian giant outdoors store has stopped selling them until the Canadian government proves their safety. It turns out that retail giants Patagonia, Whole Foods, and Lululemon have also decided to halt polycarbonate bottle sales– Patagonia making that decision way back in 2005! Way to be ahead of the curve, Yvon.

In light of this information, I’d mostly stopped using my many Nalgenes and switched to Sigg bottles: they are pretty (increasing the chance of me remembering to carry it every day), lightweight and durable (they dent but don’t seem to break), and maybe it’s just me but water seems to taste better when drunk from them. There’s just one downside which has stayed with me, and now further reading has made me seriously reconsider my decision to use them: since aluminum is not food-safe, Sigg bottles have an interior baked-on epoxy liner. The formula for the expoxy liner is top secret, but we’re assured that it’s safe. I’m sure ya’ll agree it’s a little difficult to believe that this liner is safe, when we all previously thought/were told that Nalgenes were safe too… but I’d really wanted to believe. Now, I’m not so sure.

In reading this article on the Sustainable Cities blog, I learned that the inner lining in cans of pineapple leaches PCBs (polycarbonates)… so I followed their link over to this article on the Gotham Gazette, where we get some background on polycarbonates, and learn more about the canned goods situation:

Polycarbonate is a form of plastic that is comprised mostly of bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor that mimics the female hormone, estrogen. In animal studies, BPA has been associated with the abnormalities listed above [infertility, lower sperm counts, enlarged prostrate glands, pre-cancerous lesions in breast and prostate tissue], as well as with obesity and insulin resistance – a condition that commonly precedes the development of diabetes. If all that wasn’t bad enough, BPA also has been shown in animal studies to cause changes in behavior.

Not surprisingly, industry-funded studies have failed to find these same effects. And, the jump from animal studies to human impacts is an imperfect one, so there is a lot of controversy around the toxic effects of BPA…

We also know that more than 90 percent of the general population carries residues of BPA in their bodies. How is that possible? After all, not everybody drinks from Nalgene bottles. But the BPA chemical is ubiquitous. Epoxy resins containing BPA line the cans of tomato sauce and leach into the sauce, thanks to the acidity of the tomatoes. It lines the insides of your Coke and juice cans—whoops, there’s that acid-enhanced leaching again. Canned fruits? Yup, you’ll find BPA in those cans too. Here are some other BPA sources: the insides of the cans of infant formula, some dental sealants and even that polycarbonate pitcher that came with your Brita filter.

So, now I’m not sure if I’m drawing correct or incorrect conclusions– I feel like I have a case of too much information and too few hard facts– but if Sigg won’t disclose the chemical makeup of their liner, then how can we be sure that it’s a different/safer formula than what currently lines our food cans? Presumably that material has been tested by the FDA as well, and presumably it passed… but we’re now learning that it’s not food-safe at all and even leaches into baby formula, of all things!

Following more links (you know how that goes), I landed on the Environmental Working Group site, which offers these links on BPA:

And some more choice quotes on BPA by EWG.org, on the OrganicConsumers.org site, referring to a study released on 3/5/07:

…According to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) report released today…. the lab tests conducted for EWG found bisphenol A, or BPA, in 55 of 97 cans of food purchased from major supermarket chains in California, Connecticut and Georgia. The lab tested 27 national name brands and three store brands.

…Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently detected BPA in 95% of nearly 400 U.S. adults and children… The last comprehensive review of low dose studies found that the overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed studies—94 of 115—of have confirmed BPA’s toxicity at low levels of exposure. Few chemicals have been found to consistently display such a diverse range of harm at such low doses.

I’m going to stop linking and quoting now– I think you get the idea. All of this just makes me more confused– first of all, how did the general population not know that many of our canned foods are packaged with poison? and why isn’t there an uproar about this? Second, does this or does this not have implications for the liner in Sigg bottles?

In order to phase out as much confusion as I can from my life (this is my tiny choice for today) I’m going to reuse an empty glass jar as my portable drink container. I still love my Sigg and I’ll still use it occasionally, as I (very) occasionally still use a Nalgene– but for the most part, hello glass jar! You are so simple and so pretty and you don’t confuse me, I love you! I could (and might, at some point, after I shatter a few glass jars) buy a stainless steel water bottle– but for now the thought of purchasing yet another liquid carrying container makes me want to cry.

Which leaves me with one last question: can I pour boiling water directly into a reused peanut butter-type jar, or will it crack?

What do you make of this hullaballoo? What are your thoughts on the Sigg bottles?

Related Reading:

[Image by How Can I Recycle This, via Creative Commons, and by the way check out their great blog too]

Topics: Food, Health | 95 Comments »

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Comment by Marsha
2008-01-22 08:40:34

Try a Swellz TapSack for carrying your tap water in. They are eco-friendly. The interior is made of latex. They can be reused for year to come. Just wash with dish soap and water.

Check them out at http://www.swellz.com

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-22 08:47:08

Hi Marsha– It’s great that the interior is latex, but the exterior is leather– and I can’t find any information on your site explaining the origins/sustainability of that. Can you provide details?

Comment by John Rice
2008-01-22 14:36:29

I am curious regarding your latex sourcing. By “natural”, do you mean to say that the latex is sterile and medical grade? Because guess what; that latex is refined petrochemical and contains…wait for it…PCBs. A “healthy for humans” source of latex is naturally produced by several species of trees, but we’ve all but destroyed any hopes of a sustainable supply of this latex. This is also why all of the commercial bubble and chewing gum is made from petrol. Please let me know where you are getting your latex from, because tree latex is prohibitively expensive and I question your ability to keep costs down if you use this.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-22 17:11:13

Um, gum is made from Petrol?? Oh god. Do I really want to know more?

Comment by Miranda
2008-01-22 09:00:30

If you were using your Nalgene bottle everyday, or eating canned pineapples everyday, and you felt sick- -what kind of sick would it be? Would it be chalked up to fatigue or hormonal imbalance or female hysteria (ha!) or what?

This raises a lot of questions and makes me a little edgy! I’m definitely considering getting rid of my Nalgene (which I should have considered when tinychoices put up its first post on water bottles), but does one just recycle Nalgene? Or what?

Comment by Rachel
2008-01-22 10:08:42

What is your source for the statement “aluminum is not food-safe”? Aluminum soda cans have been in use for decades, as have aluminum drinking cups and plates. To my knowledge aluminum can be food-safe. Though linked to Alzheimer’s in the 1960s, further scientific review has found no connection.

SIGG is going the extra step to coat the inside of the aluminum bottles for better taste and cleaning properties. While they do not release the exact details of the coating, they do say it is a water based epoxy. Epoxys are different than plastics in that they are forumlated with long crossing chains of carbon. This formulation makes epoxys much more durable than plastics and studies have found that they do not leach in the same way that most plastics do. My blog (bayinghound.blogspot.com) will feature an in-depth scientific review of the plastic/epoxy issue soon.

Comment by knowsome
2008-02-27 08:17:56

food-grade aluminum is coated with lacquer
otherwise it will leach, especially with acidic foods (tomatos)

Comment by michelle
2008-01-22 15:26:44

Yes, Jenn I think the jar will crack if you pour boiling water in it.

If you are looking to replace your nalgene i suggest folks find a reuse for it rather than trying to recycle it (in most places you likely can’t because of the grade of plastic) or throwing it out because reuse is way less energy intensive than the recycling process. perhaps drill some holes in the bottom and plant a non-edible plant in it so you can see the roots; if you get cut flowers, use it as a vase; if you’re going camping store things you don’t want to get wet in it like matches and underpants; use it to pack or ship fragile things; use it to transport food items if you buy from a loose bulk section and transfer it in to a different kind of container; use them to store crafting items….and the list goes on. Perhaps, as with paper and plastic tubing, some cool ID folks architects (and if they call me, me) will make some houses for those who desperately need them out of the tons of nalgene bottles that may make their way in to the waste stream. (yet, this may mean leaching in to the soil?)

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-22 17:08:02

Thanks for the reuse ideas! Love the idea of making it into a flowerpot…

Comment by Beth R
2008-01-22 17:17:53

daily candy recently promoted a link for glass water bottles shaped like plastic bottles. however, i have a feeling the glass stoppers might not lend themselves well to portability.


Comment by Jenn
2008-01-22 18:37:27

supercute! but yes, they don’t look great for portability… however, my peanut butter jar is holding up just fine! :)

Comment by jennifer
2008-01-22 19:04:26

if you pour boiling water into a cold jar, it will certainly crack. remember heating the beakers in chemistry?! your best bet it is to put the glass jar into the water as you heat it to boil. that way, the glass is exposed to a gradually rising temperature, and it gets clean and all that.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-23 08:02:33

Thanks, Jennifer! I’ve been filling it from the “hot” tap at the water cooler in my office and so far so good… but I am just kind of waiting for it to crack in my hands… that won’t be very good.

Comment by Karina
2008-01-23 00:44:17

I hate to get all environmental engineer, but “PCBs” are polychlorinated biphenyls - a known toxic compound that bioaccumulates and causes all kinds of harm. It’s a small point, but it seems like *everyone* knows that PCBs are really bad stuff, so I don’t want them confused with polycarbonates which are not good, but not really really bad.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-23 08:03:41

Karina, thanks so much for the clarification, it’s an important one.

Comment by aminata
2008-01-23 00:52:34

I’m a big fan of Paul Newman’s natural soda. The soda’s fine, but the bottles are perfect for portability — perfect size, not too heavy. It’s a nice excuse to treat myself to a natural soda every now and then, too. I also use a Pelligrino bottle around the house — which I use for *ages*, though I only see plastic ones in stores these days. :(

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-23 08:04:41

Hi animata– thanks for the suggestion, I haven’t seen Paul Newman’s soda before but I’m going to keep my eyes open for it! His products are generally pretty good.

Comment by Missy
2008-01-25 14:51:05

aminata, I’m not sure if you will come back and read this, but they sell cases of Pelligrino in the glass bottles at BJs – comes to less than a buck a bottle, too!

Comment by aminata
2008-01-27 16:36:42

Thanks for the tip, Missy. But isn’t BJs connected to WalMart? Or am I confusing my multinational conglomerates?

Comment by Karina
2008-01-27 21:55:28

you’re probably thinking of sam’s club – they’re affiliated with walmart for sure.

Comment by dahlia
2008-01-23 02:47:39

i just couldn’t believe that the lining on my sigg bottle was remaining intact as the bottle got dinged up, and i really wasn’t comfortable with the idea of the lining anyway. i tried a glass jar, but it was too heavy and fragile. finally i tried a kleen kanteen and fell in love. i’ve used it daily for over a year and the water tastes fresh, always. stainless steel, no liner, not too heavy, seems like it will last forever. i adore it, madly:


Comment by Jenn
2008-01-23 08:05:55

Hey dahlia, thanks so much for the review! I see Kleen Kanteen’s everywhere, and I gave one as a gift for the holidays last year, but I haven’t heard any personal reviews. Does it get dinged up as badly as the Siggs do?

Comment by Sarah
2008-03-29 23:56:27

I haven’t had my Klean Kanteen for too long, but it certainly hasn’t become dinged, just scratched a bit. The walls of the bottle are much thicker and seem more durable than Sigg (although I’ve never owned a Sigg due to the liner).
I would, however, disagree with Dahlia on the taste. If I leave water in a Klean Kanteen for a day or so, it does start to taste a bit like metal to me.
I just wish they’d start making different shapes – I do miss the shape of my 32 oz Nalgene – I can’t even get my hand around the 40oz Klean Kanteen

Comment by DazzLynn!
2008-01-23 13:51:51

I’m not sure what your goal is with pouring boiling water in your jar, but I’ll make iced tea at home, from with tea bags. I pour the boiling water into a pyrex glass measure, and then when it’s cooled enough I move it to my (gasp) plastic pitcher. So, yes, it’s an added step, but if you have the time maybe you can pour your boiling water into a more appropriate glass container, and then move it to your jar.

A few people around the office use glass bottles that bottled water came in. they’re super fancy pants $$, but if you reuse…??


Comment by Jenn
2008-01-23 18:03:58

Thanks DazzLynn! I’ve been putting fresh ginger slices into my jar and refilling it with hot water (from the water cooler at work) throughout the day… so far so good… we’ll see :)

Comment by Karina
2008-01-23 18:21:19

wow, what a gourmet idea! I’m going to have to try that sometime. smarty!

Comment by jon
2008-01-24 07:11:47

Pyrex isn’t normal glass; glassblowers call it borosilicate to distinguish from “normal” soda ash glass, but meta message here, they look the same but they aren’t. The big difference between glass and pyrex/boro is that boro has a far greater tolerance for thermal shock. In other words, you can heat it and cool it (or make a pipe out of it and smoke stuff in it, which is a major application for artisan pyrex) and it won’t shatter where “normal” glass (say, a drinking glass) would.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-24 13:11:24

Hey Jon! Thanks for the Pyrex info… big question is, does it leach anything? I’d assume not, since it’s used for labwear etc. Also wonder if anyone makes a pyrex jar with a screw-on lid, for carrying liquids… that might be the answer!

Comment by Jenn
Comment by Jim
2008-07-09 00:57:17

HAHA – I’d put green liquid in it and when I drank it I’d start making loud grunting noises while I rolled around on the floor like I was transforming into Dr. Jeckyl or something….

Comment by sam
2008-09-23 11:20:10

you suck.

Comment by Jenn (Tiny Choices)
2008-09-23 17:22:04

Hi Sam– we appreciate your constructive criticism!

Comment by cat147
2008-01-23 13:58:48

just wanted to let y’all know that after i sent this post to my sister, she has finally switched from her beloved (and quite old) nalgene to the klean kanteen that i purchased for her. hooray for tiny choices/steps! :)

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-23 18:04:59

And hooray for such an amazing sister who buys her sibling a Kleen Kanteen!

Comment by EE
2008-01-23 17:02:21

While the hard Nalgene bottles contain BPA, the soft old-school white Nalgenes allegedly do not. You might want to check in to it a bit more, and it’s a moot point if you want to avoid the plastic container altogether.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-23 18:07:49

Thanks EE, that’s a great point which I forgot to mention. I’ve read that also, but I just wonder how long it wiill be until we find out that those leach too… or not… this is the problem!

Comment by shanalulu
2008-01-23 18:24:27

Yeah, the Klean Kanteens do get dinged up. However, I’d rather have a “lived-in-looking” water bottle than be ingesting all those chemicals.

Comment by Tara
2008-01-23 19:30:11

Alternatively, I hate Sigg bottles because they are a pain to clean (read: lazy dishwasher, they need special tools) – I prefer the Nalgene bottles because their necks are large enough to clean (even if you have to by hand because the abrasives in dishwashers will also cause them to leach BPA)

What’s a lazy person to do? I love these Guyot Design bottles – 18/10 stainless steel, no liner whatsoever. You can throw them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand with the same lazy-ease as Nalgenes!
Only downside, you have to buy/make a sleeve for these babies because they heat up (just like Kleen Kanteens) when you put hot water in – and can burn your hands!


Comment by Jenn
2008-01-24 00:55:35

Hi Tara! I hear ya on the burning issue– I’m going to crochet/felt a sleeve for my glass jar for insulation purposes, which will also hopefully help to contain the shards when I inevitably drop it. :) I’m really liking the wide-mouth of the Guyot bottles, it makes them versatile and really useful– thanks for the link!

Comment by lew
2008-01-24 10:43:03

Man! Every positive step i think i make in learning what i am putting into my body, i always manage that sets me back!

A water bottle is easy enough to change. What freaks me out is the liner in canned food! That’s hard to work around, i would love to be able to can my own veggies, but don’t know how nor do i have the time to devote weekends in the summer to canning.

Sheesh! I wish the FDA would have been doing their job all these years so this stuff could have been corrected a long time ago.

Comment by Karina
2008-01-24 13:29:28

don’t let the big picture get you down, lew! being a conscious consumer is probably the most important environmental step you can make!

would frozen veggies be a good option for you?

I heard recently that there is one guy in the federal government responsible for testing all toys for lead content, and it’s that kind of understaffing and underfunding that has contributed to all those recent lead paint warnings!

Comment by lew
2008-01-24 13:43:27

thanks for the encouraging words! (i didn’t intend to sound so pessimistic either!)

frozen veggies are and option. It’s just the convenience things like tomatoes and beans that we buy canned. So it’s not like it’s a huge life staple, but something to think about.

I think i am going to give a Klean Kanteen over the sigg i was just about to buy.

post script:
great blog, i will be back to learn more!

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-24 15:39:44

Thanks, lew! It’s great to have you here!

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-24 15:33:34

I share your wish that the FDA was actually effective. It’s like the most outrageous thing in the whole world.

Comment by lew
2008-01-24 10:49:57

Also, is the plastic bottle in the water cooler leaching?

Comment by Karina
2008-01-24 13:31:04

we sort of addressed this issue here.

Comment by Sarah
2008-03-30 00:03:43

Thanks for this Karina. I’ve reluctantly continued using my Britta, but your info is great to have…for now…?

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-24 15:34:05

This is a fabulous question. *sigh* I’ll try and figure it out!

Comment by Justin
2008-01-24 11:02:28

I recently purchased a Sigg bottle and noticed that by the afternoon the water began to taste funny; Plasticy or metallicy. I’ve sent Sigg an email to address this situation as to whether there is a way to clean the bottle that I’ve been too dim to grasp (I’ve used their brush in it every day after use with mild soap and water and also put it in the dish washer) or if they think my bottle is defective in some way and they’ve failed to respond. Their silence, coupled with the taste and sick feeling the taste induces has really made me leery of this top secret liner.. which is a shame because I really really love the concept of the Sigg bottle.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-24 15:36:28

Hi Justin! Whoa, that’s crazy…. especially that Sigg hasn’t followed up with you. I don’t experience that taste from my bottle but it’s quite disturbing– really does make me wonder what the heck’s in that liner. Keep us posted…

Comment by shanalulu
2008-01-24 20:54:01

I wish one of ‘em would redesign, because there are fantastic elements of both.

Sigg pros:
gorgeous; definite conversation-starters. Nobody ever oohs or aahs over my KK.
several convenient sizes
squat and hard to tip/knock over

Sigg cons:
liner — what IS it?
tiny neck — hard to clean, impossible to fit ice cubes through
crappy sport cap — annoying gasket, weird, wide size, threads of v. spotty quality

Klean Kanteen pros:
all stainless
wide neck — easy to clean and add ice
great sport cap — easy to clean, easy to use, excellent, consistent quality

Klean Kanteen cons:
“creative” spelling — this grammar/spelling supernerd HATES it
tall and thin — really easy to knock over
unbelievable condensation. Epic. Puddles. Innumerable ruined papers.
two shapes, more or less — kiddle sippy cup-sized or tall and thin and unstable

So I’m not in love with either, but use both. I do use my KK more often, because of the ice and liner issues, but if somebody made a bottle in Sigg sizes and colors, with KK neck diameter and all-stainless interior, I’d want to have 10,000 of his or her babies.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-25 15:32:35

Hey Shanalulu! Your brain works very similarly to mine… your comment cracked me up! All good points. I’ll tell you, “K”leen “K”anteen just really gets under my skin too. Anyway, another commenter pointed out the Guyot bottles, and I think I’ll try to locate on. They’re less offensive than the KK’s and I love the wide mouth– makes it really really versatile. I’ll let you know if I end up wanting to have 10,000 of Guyot’s babies. :)

Comment by Suzi
2008-01-25 12:38:01

I have 2 young children and we use the nagalene bottles at the park, school, home, etc. Regardless if the issues with them, they are portable, easy to clean and I probably won’t have a coronary if one of them gets lost.
I am too frugal to buy a Sigg bottle so that’s out of the question.Hence the coronary comment. And glass not an alternative.

Any other suggestions???

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-25 15:37:31

Hi Suzi! Off the top of my head, I’d say that maybe you could try the “milky” plastic Nalgene bottles– the “HDPE” ones are reported not to leach any chemicals. Not as cute, but then again, it’s not really about that.

Comment by shanalulu
2008-01-25 15:38:21

Suzi, my smallest bottles (20 oz.) are all-stainless-interior, in nearly identical shape/style/basic colors as the Sigg, but they’re by a company called New Wave Enviro Products, http://www.enviroproductsinc.com. They have a 20-oz. size (like Sigg’s 0.6-liter) with the looped screw-on cap, and also a little 12-oz. size with a sport cap. That model has a wider neck opening, so it’d be easier to clean than a Sigg/Sigg-knockoff, and the size actually looks pretty good for kids.

I haven’t checked the price on the 12-oz. size, but the 20-ouncers run $6 at my local independent health food store, which can be pricey, so they’re quite reasonable as compared to the Sigg and Klean Kanteen. I just bought one yesterday, for a friend, and the company number’s on the box: 1-800-592-8371. The website also has a store locator, where you can send an email and I they can tell you if someone in your area carries them.

So. $6 is still higher than plastic, but it’s no $16. Good luck!

Comment by sarahbella
2008-04-26 15:12:31

So, i checked out this website, it is under construction but while doing a google search I came up with http://www.newwaveenviro.com/new/contact_us.html?action=success
enviro products that I assume are selling the same bottles that shanalulu is talking about. But these guys have a whole section on polycarbonate bottles. yikes and damnit! I just bought, for my precious toddler, one of these bottles at our local vitamin cottage and apparently i missed the polycarbonate and BPA connection b/c I totally thought this was a safe bottle and no way would vitamin cottage sell crap like that. … agh I’m taking it back today! Now, I’m suspicious about their stainless steel bottles they sell. No detailed description or testing info, no specifics about being liner free. I wish m trusty nalgenes were safe! Looks like I’m going for the Guyot bottle.

Comment by Jenn
2008-04-30 08:52:33

Hey Sarahbella! As far as I know, all stainless steel bottles are “safe,” as in, stainless doesn’t require an inside liner for food use. I’ve seen those New Wave Enviro bottles in a local natural foods store and emailed the company to ask for their human rights policy, since their bottles are made in China, and as far as I can tell, they don’t have one. Other than that, I think they’re a good water-bottle option, but I don’t know that for sure.

Comment by Rachel
2008-01-28 00:38:03

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet is that Klean Kanteens are made in China. They are “responsibly” made in China, according to the KK site, but nonetheless, this takes manufacturing jobs away from Americans (or whatever country you’re from) and, more importantly (for this site, at least), it means that they need to be shipped from overseas, which is not an environmentally sound choice.

It seems like with these water bottles, you’re really between a rock and a hard place! I’ll probably end up investing in a Klean Kanteen, but it pains me to think of the negative economic and environmental impact.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-28 12:03:04

Hey Rachel! I hear ya on the “rock and a hard place” feeling– which is why I’m currently prefering my glass jar. :) Also, there might be some stainless steel bottles produced here in the US– take a look around and let us know if you find any!

Comment by wendy o.
2008-01-28 08:14:02

hi, i use lorina sparkling lemonade bottles for carrying around drinking water. i have one bottle that i have had for five years, they are pretty sturdy and hold up well. i know you can’t use them for hot water b/c the neck is pretty narrow but for transporting drinking water, they work really well for us.

i found my first one at a little gourmet shop and our second one in our local whole foods, they might not be that hard to find and i doubt you would have to order them.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-28 12:04:19

Hey Wendy! It’s good to know that your reused bottle is holding up so well! Keep on trucking…

2008-01-28 11:08:59

[...] Water Bottles, Again… [...]

Comment by Sarah
2008-01-28 13:12:49

Maybe I am totally dense here, but if you are drinking the liquid in your Nalgene and not letting sit for days, how much is really leaching into your liquid. Canned food I can totally grasp. Just a thought, maybe I am off base. Let me know.

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-28 20:45:41

Hey Sarah! I don’t know the actual technical answer to your question, as to exactly how much Bisphenol-A leaches from a typical Lexan-type container, and how quickly (if anyone else does, please chime in!) But I do know that, over the amount of time I’ve had my Nalgenes (over 5 years) I’ve drank an awful lot of water from them. Sometimes they sit in the sun, sometimes they’re in my daypack in the heat all day, and I’d been known to drink hot liquids from them too, all of which impacts leaching quantity. So over those 5 years, there’s some amount of chemicals that have left the plastic and made their way into my tissue, where they still reside. The way I’m looking at it is, there’s an awful lot of chemical & pollution exposure I can’t avoid (especially living in NYC)… so I take steps to reduce my exposure where I can– and my water bottle is one part of that plan. It’s a tiny choice. :)

Comment by Justin
2008-01-30 13:03:29

Hey Jenn, as a follow up about my Sigg bottle and the strange taste, it took several days but Sigg has gotten back to me. The nice lady suggested that I try using their cleaning tablets. Figureing that I’ve already sunk 20 bucks into this bottle I might as well drop another couple of dollars.. so I tried them. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are mint scented and it appeared to clean the bottle. However, when I put it to the time test (by filling the bottle and letting it sit for 6 hours.. as if I had taken it to work with me) the fun plasticy/metallicy taste has offically returned. I really love the concept of the Sigg.. so I may eventually break down and purchase another one directly from them online and see what kind of results I get when the item is directly from them. Because I am obsessive like that ;)

Comment by Jenn
2008-01-31 07:45:21

Hey Justin, thanks for the update! That is SO bizarre… have you told them that the smell/taste has returned? You should definitely be issued a refund for that one, or just an exchange for one that’s more stable… keep us posted!

2008-01-30 21:27:12

[...] I need to get a new water bottle (or two or three). I’ve been reading about the dangers of plastic a lot lately and I’ve been contemplating getting a Sigg or a [...]

Comment by Suzi
2008-02-03 12:23:44

I saw that Pottery Barn was offering sigg style bottles in their newest catalogue. They are $10. At that price I might try one out.

2008-02-05 06:00:58

[...] ya’ll had enough talk about water bottles yet? How about Bisphenol-A? No? From Grist: Hot liquid increases toxic leaching from plastic [...]

Comment by Janice
2008-02-08 15:15:03

According to this http://ecochildsplay.blogspot.com/2007/03/sigg-update.html the SIGG liner was tested in Europe (whom I trust more than our FDA) and found safe.

But if they’re hard to clean and have taste issues, I’m glad I hesitated on buying one. The Guyot bottles look cool…

Comment by Jenn
2008-02-08 17:55:59

Hi Janice! I know, I’ve also read that the liner was tested and found to be safe. I guess it comes down to my utter confusion over the issue, and in that case I think my best option is to just avoid it altogether, and choose whatever I personally believe to be safest… which clearly can change from day to day. And, in the end, I could be totally wrong! I think we just have to go with our gut feeling and at least then we’re making the best choices we can.

Comment by Courtney
2008-02-09 19:31:02

I think I have found a webpage after my own heart! I too have a Sigg bottle and loved it until I read this. I never considered the lining being potentially hazardous. I’m also on the look out for a safer sippy cup for my kids. If anyone has a lead on that I would love it.

Comment by Jenn
2008-02-10 00:51:40

Hi Courtney! Please remember that I have no idea if the Sigg liner actually is toxic or not– these are all my own musings. For me, though, since I can’t seem to figure out an answer either way, I just prefer to err on the side of caution, you know? As for sippy cups, I know that Kleen Kanteen makes some stainless steel ones, and here are bisphenol-a-free ones (though I don’t know the company personally). I know if you do some searching, you’ll find further options!

Comment by sarahbella
2008-04-26 15:07:15

There is one now called the safe sippy. Yay!! It is amazing!

Comment by Nili
2008-02-13 15:06:26

I have read a lot of these posts and still looks like no safe solution regarding water bottles. I was thinking of the glass water bottles promoted by daily candy but the company didn’t think they were dishwasher safe. And the only dishwasher safe glass water bottles I found were for birds. I cant carry arounnd a jar and its hard for me to wash by hand…has anyone found a dishwasher safe glass water bottle?

Comment by Jenn
2008-02-13 15:54:50

Hey Nilli– if you’re looking for a glass water bottle (that’s not a jar), your best option is probably to repurpose a glass beverage bottle into being your water bottle. You can choose one that’s the size/shape you’d be most happy carrying around– drink the original beverage (iced tea, juice, soda, water, etc) and then you’re good to go with the empty bottle.

Comment by Karen
2008-03-10 10:01:00

I recently came across your site researching how plastics leach into livestock water containers that I use for my 3 goats. Tho’ not addressed in your site, I found it interesting. Boy, here int he States (I assume this is a Canadian site) Health/Pharmaceutical conglomerates make mega $$ on diabetes, enlarged prostates, and obesity, and the answer to many of our ails may be had with changing what our foods are served and stored in. I guess those old refrigerator containers will have to make a comeback!
In regards to the dilemma of what to carry drinks in, I would suggest using the glass jars one cans with. Those jars are quite tolerant of heat and there are a few shapes and sizes you can chose from. I know of Ball and Mason for brand names in the States, , however. (Both my parents are from Ontario) The only thought I have with any jar, is the metal or plastic lid used. I guess it should be always upright, and not to the top. but what of the steam droplets that form and fall back into the liquid? You know, one may never be free of these toxins! The old canning jars had glass tops with rubber seals. Does anyone know of problems with rubber? That is an option for livestock containers, but I know that it comes from trees, that we have probabaly over used and destroyed. You know, humans have not done what we were asked of, to care for this world.
Finally, in re’ to the breakage, the can sleeves that are sold ((or those more industrious can make) should be able to fit the bottles, and decrease the risk of breaking. ( plesase don’t tell me the insulated material dangerous!)

Comment by Jenn
2008-03-11 17:09:14

Hi Karen! Thanks for the comment. Actually, we’re US-based… but we take your assumption that we’re Canadians as a compliment, in that “Thank God(dess) we’re not ‘Ugly Americans’” way…

Comment by Karen
2008-03-11 22:16:49

Sorry, I think it was when you mentioned the Canadian outdoor store. I am very pleased to call myself a duel citizen. It’s tough being an American right now. This is a beautiful country with wonderful people that we are destroying with our actions and inactions! Keep up the good work keeping others informed, we need many voices.

Comment by sara
2008-03-12 17:48:22

So many interesting points. I just purchased a Sigg. I am active and intend to use it during sporting activities, however, I do love the idea of a glass bottle and although I haven’t tried using these on a continuous bases the company Voss sells high end water in a really cool glass bottle that seems pretty sturdy

Comment by sara
2008-03-12 17:49:51

oh and one more thing, on the instructions for the Sigg bottle it says “not for long term storage” – Does any one know why not? What happens to the liquid? And what is considered long term? 6 hours or 2 weeks or years? Just curious if anyone knows.

Comment by Foy
2008-03-27 17:04:07

They are starting to come out with non-bpa plastic bottles…thank goodness! I have a sigg and I like it but I just cant get used to drinking out of a metal container. Camelbak is supposed to be coming out with some bottles and another is from Titan. Here’s more info on both…



2008-04-06 12:49:27

[...] Tiny Choices talks about why water bottles are so nasty, for the environment and for you. [...]

Comment by Erin
2008-05-07 03:18:17

I have been looking for a healthy alternative to Nagalene and in frustration asked a local pharmacist for help today. Apparently the bottles containing a recycle sign (triangle with arrows) containing the number 7 and possibly 1 and 3 are of concern especially if heated…i.e. warm liquids placed inside or a bottle left in a hot car. Anyway, the pharmacist said the bottles containing the recycle sign with the number 5 inside were safe. I purchased a couple of rubbermaid bottles today…along with a brita water filtration system….sheesh, why didn’t I consider that plastic pitcher.

Comment by DB
2008-05-19 02:24:07

for $1.99, buy yourself a quart of Santa Cruz organic juice, Orange Mango is real good.
Save the glass bottle, put it in the dishwasher to clean.

I take my quart of water to work in my shoulder bag and didn’t spend $20.00 or more on a water carrier.

If the cap wears out or if it should break, buy some more juice.

Comment by anti
2008-06-26 04:27:07

Does anyone know of a stainless steel water bottle that is not made in china?

Comment by Jenn
2008-06-26 11:52:36

Hey Anti– Unfortunately, I don’t know of any. If you find one, please report back!

Comment by Mephistefales
2008-07-06 21:05:50

Good lord! It’s probably 18 million times more likely that you’ll choke on the Sigg’s small lid than be damaged by its byproducts. Have you seen the actual exposure numbers? They’re infinitesimal — BPA, too. I probably ingested 2,000 teaspoons of dirt and dog food as a baby; I don’t think Sigg-leach can compete with that. In fact I thank that very dirt for my current bull-like immune resiliency.

Guess what — living is bad for you, and we’re just now finding out the hows and whys. This illumination terrifies some people. As a matter of fact, the stress you put on yourself worrying about everything that could be the tiniest bit “unsafe” probably takes five times as much life off of you as the offending impurity might. You’re not going to live forever. Why waste your limited years trying to avoid phantoms? Geez, there’s way more arsenic in the water you put in that bottle than there is BPA from the Nalgene.

Seriously, the fear will kill you way faster than the bottles, people. Lighten up.

Comment by Bren
2008-07-21 22:06:20

Now that the health risks are beginning to be acknowledged, it might be time to look at routes of exposure. I came across results of a study done in Japan in 2001 indicating that airborne concentrations of BPA are three or four times higher inside than outdoors. The amount going through your lungs in a given day is still only about 1/500th of even the most conservative BPA exposure limit I’ve seen, but “indoors” is pretty vague. I’m wondering what is contained in air exhausted from computer cases. As far as I can tell the green circuit board material is a composite of glass and epoxy (which is usually BPA based), and it gets exposed to elevated temperatures, humidity, and a steady current of air. I’m not in the industry though, for all I know they’re sprayed with a special coating to prevent degredation from hydrolysis.

Comment by brooke
2008-09-22 09:21:49

what are 3 benifits and 3 risks/disadvantages of plastic products??

Comment by kelvy
2008-09-24 13:30:36

this stuff sucks

Comment by The Mysterious cock
2008-09-24 13:41:19

smoke trees that make me look japanese

Comment by Becca
2008-09-25 12:58:39

i cant find 3 disadvanteges and advantegs!!!!!!!!UGHHH

Comment by johnny cockrin
2008-09-26 07:44:19


Comment by m
2009-03-04 13:41:13

Naglene says they are now bpa free: http://www.amazon.com/Nalgene-BPA-Free-Water-Bottle/dp/B0019FE9FW There are more articles, too, just Google.

Also, these look cool, sleek and GLASS. I will probably try these… :http://www.aquasana.com/product_detail.php?product_id=45

You can also get a sport koozie for them: http://cgi.ebay.com/Aquasana-Glass-Water-Bottles%2FDecanters-With-AquaKoozy_W0QQitemZ280315387076QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20090221?IMSfp=TL090221194009r2875

And then I found these: http://www.perpetualkid.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=3400


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