Apr
22
2008

Time to toss your Nalgene bottle?

For years, I’ve carried around a polycarbonate Nalgene bottle. (You know those hard, tough, and transparent containers?) Whatever I paid for mine was a small price for the smug satisfaction that I was doing right by the environment. Heck, each of my kids has a Nalgene bottle--a favorite toy (yes, they’re strange kids) when empty, and a thrill when full. But it might be time to toss the bottles.
Plastic bottles: Which ones are safe? (Probably all of these are OK, but if you're concerned about BPA or pthalathes, check the recycling codes on the bottom and avoid containers marked with a 3 or a 6.)Courtesy Ettiz
See, some animal studies have shown that rat pups exposed to bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate plastics, showed changes in their mammary and prostate tissue—a potential cancer risk—as well as early puberty. And BPA exposure could also potentially have negative effects on fertility, birth weight, and the development of certain areas of the brain. (Note: all of these effects are potential risks—none of them are proven yet, and we don’t know how much exposure is necessary before the effects are seen.)
Last Friday, the government of Canada announced a 60-day public comment period on whether or not to ban baby bottles containing BPA. Nalgene announced that the company is phasing out use of BPA in its containers. And the US National Toxicology Program issued a draft report that cites “some concern” about the possible negative health effects of BPA on infants and children and calls for more research into just what those risks might be. (“Some concern” is the third level on a scale of 5. And you can get a PDF copy of the draft report through the link in this article.)
Why all the alarm? BPA is everywhere. It’s in plastic water bottles, baby bottles, and food packaging (including the expoxies used to line cans), as well as sports safety equipment, incubators, dental sealants, bottle tops, heart-ling machines and IV bags. The US makes more than 2.3 billion pounds of BPA each year, and more than 3 million metric tons of it are used worldwide. One survey by the CDC detected BPA in the urine of 93% of Americans ages 6 and older.
Many experts are advising consumers to limit exposure to BPA while we wait for more conclusive data. So what are we to do?

  • Plastics made with BPA usually have the number 7 on the bottom. The bummer, though, is that the number 7 category of plastics also includes some without BPA, and not everything containing BPA is marked.
  • When you can, choose glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers instead of plastic ones, especially for hot foods or liquids.
  • Reduce your use of canned foods.
  • Don’t microwave polycarbonate food containers, which may break down over time at high temperatures or through contact with acidic or fatty foods.
  • Choose BPA-free baby bottles.

It turns out that BPA isn’t the only chemical in plastic giving experts pause. Compounds called pthalates are also in many plastic formulas and may have effects on hormones. So look at recycling codes: Where you can, avoid products marked by a 3 or a 6 on the bottom. (Phthalates are also “everywhere”—in vinyl flooring, children’s toys, adhesives, food packaging, car parts, clothing, and health and beauty products like shampoo, nail polish, and deodorants.)
But not all plastics get the yellow light. These are generally considered safe:

  • PETE, or polyethylene terepthalate, is found in soda and water bottles, and peanut butter containers. (Marked with a 1 on the bottom of the container.)
  • HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, makes up milk containers, water jugs, and shampoo bottles. (Marked with a 2 on the bottom of the container.)
  • LDPE, or low-density polyethylene, is found in grocery bags and some plastic wrap. (Marked with a 4.)
  • PP, or polypropylene, is used in food containers—such as Rubbermaid and GladWare containers—as well as yogurt tubs and drinking straws. (Marked with a 5.)

Average:
Select ratingPoorOkayGoodGreatAwesome
No votes yet
Average:
Select ratingPoorOkayGoodGreatAwesome
No votes yet
Average:
Select ratingPoorOkayGoodGreatAwesome
No votes yet
Average:
Select ratingPoorOkayGoodGreatAwesome
No votes yet
Average:
Select ratingPoorOkayGoodGreatAwesome
No votes yet

Average:

Select ratingPoorOkayGoodGreatAwesome

No votes yet

No votes yet

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

andyshadexx's picture

I'm so glad that i don't drink out of those bottle much. scary in a way thought

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 9:43am
tiffany_88's picture
tiffany_88 says:

How can I know what bottle is safe to me?? It's confused because the companies are responsability to give all results and the information correct to approved.

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 9:46am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Both Sigg and Camelbak make water bottles that are BPA free, below are the websites. I agree that the companies making these products should disclose information, however, for years the chemical companies that make the plastics with BPA and other harmful chemicals in them have been falsifying and twisting scientific data in an attempt to disprove the harms of BPA. If your interested in learning more about BPA scientific testing that has been done I would recommend reading the following online article (link below). It has really interesting info from the original researchers of BPA. Good luck finding something that works for you!
http://pitch.com/2008-04-24/news/ever-since-university-of-missouri-biolo...

http://mysigg.com/

http://www.camelbak.com/index.cfm?gclid=CPK4rKfQ9pICFQgaHgodKx1twg

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 11:35am
bert123's picture
bert123 says:

good thing that i dont drink out of those bottles. why would they use BPA in their bottles in the first place? if they are going to start making them without it.
IBI Call it what you want IBI

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 9:48am
Looney_Tooney's picture

True...
How would I know which bottle is safe and not safe??

U Kno Wat Im Sayin!!!

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 9:54am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Both Sigg and Camelbak make water bottles that are BPA free, below are the websites. I agree that the companies making these products should disclose information, however, for years the chemical companies that make the plastics with BPA and other harmful chemicals in them have been falsifying and twisting scientific data in an attempt to disprove the harms of BPA. If your interested in learning more about BPA scientific testing that has been done I would recommend reading the following online article (link below). It has really interesting info from the original researchers of BPA. Good luck finding something that works for you!
http://pitch.com/2008-04-24/news/ever-since-university-of-missouri-biolo...

http://mysigg.com/

http://www.camelbak.com/index.cfm?gclid=CPK4rKfQ9pICFQgaHgodKx1twg

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 11:37am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

cool

posted on Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:25pm
Amy's picture
Amy says:

I was just at the Bloomington REI a few weeks ago and they have taken off their shelf all bottles that have BPA in them. They now sell Nalgene and Camelback bottles that are BPA free (including kids Nalgene sippy cups). I bought some of the new Nalgene bottles and noticed on the bottom of the bottles it says "7 other" instead of just "7" so you know it is the safer plastic. Both brands of bottles also had stickers on them that said BPA free so you know what you are buying is safer.

The National Geographic Green Guide magazine Spring 2008 issue had a really good article about plastics as well. It talks about the various types of plastics, examples of each, a list of ones which are safer, and there is even a pull out card that you could put in your wallet that talks about each of the types of plastics and which you should avoid. Great article! The whole magazine is actually very informative.
Here is an feature on Baby Bottles: http://www.thegreenguide.com/products/Kids_&_Babies/Baby_Bottles
Here is a feature on Plastic Containers: http://www.thegreenguide.com/products/Kitchen/Plastic_Containers

posted on Tue, 04/29/2008 - 10:51am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

talk to your doctor

posted on Tue, 04/29/2008 - 2:14pm
Sherry's picture
Sherry says:

Do anyone know what we should do with the "tainted" bottles? Are they recycleable?

posted on Tue, 04/29/2008 - 3:30pm
SolLight's picture
SolLight says:

DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR OLD POLYCARBONATE
WATER BOTTLE - TURN IT INTO A SOLAR LANTERN!

The last thing this planet needs is any more plastic in the landfills. But what do you do with your old polycarbonate water bottle (Nalgene or similar) that you don't want to use any more? Don't throw it away! With the incredibly handy LightCap200 you can turn your old (or new) bottle into the coolest home, deck, boat or camping lantern anywhere!

Just pull off the old cap and replace it with a safe, bright, environmentally-friendly solar-powered LED LightCap200 and you'll have light anywhere you want without wasteful batteries, dangerous, toxic fuel, or electric cords.

Put one on your picnic table, deck, out by the BBQ, kids playhouse, bedroom nightlight, car safety light, cockpit light on your boat, camper, tent or anywhere else. Simply fill your bottle with water (even colored water) for a safe lantern that won't run out of fuel or be a fire hazard. No candles to burn out, and when your bottle is filled with water it won't tip over if the wind comes up.

The built-in light sensor automatically turns the light on whenever it gets dark, and off when there's enough light for charging. Or you can click the water-tight switch and turn it off manually. It weights only 2.6oz and you can even use it as a flashlight. The four super-bright, white LEDs provide lots of light without giving off any heat or danger of chemicals in your water.

By adding a LightCap200 cap to your bottle you're not only creating a useful item, you're helping the environment. You can even use your bottle to store things: trail snacks, dog treats, fire starting supplies, first aid kit-anything you want to keep safe, floating and dry. With the LightCap200 on top, you've always got a useful emergency light.

The LightCap200 is just $19.95 and will last for many years of continuous use. They make a great gift and are available at many fine outdoor stores as well as at our website: www.sollight.com

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 12:10am
Sherry's picture
Sherry says:

Wow! Great idea! Thanks!

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 9:31am
Nikki's picture
Nikki says:

While I can appreciate the concerns with this chemical and these products - I would challenge that most people who use nalgene bottles are probably using other products or consuming foods that cause "some concern" to a lot of different groups as well. So...does everyone plan to eliminate all of those things too?

Don't get me wrong...I think it's great that companies are eliminating the BPA since it may harm humans. However, to me this seems like it might be another bandwagon thing that everyone is jumping on. Who knows I guess.

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 4:47pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Nikki, I actually largely agree with you.

I do plenty of things every day, and use lots of products, that are probably riskier than drinking from a Nalgene bottle or any other container containing BPA. (And avoiding exposure is actually pretty tough, since BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, which is clear and shatter-proof, and found baby and water bottles, coatings in most food and beverage cans, dental fillings, sports safety equipment, and medical devices.)

But there are lots of things that we USED to do that we don't do anymore, now that we know the risks. And it makes sense to me that parents of bottlefed infants might seek to reduce their children's exposure to these chemicals. Switching to different bottles is an easy way to get started. (That said, I haven't taken my daughters' Nalgene bottles away.)

In any case, the FDA is defending the safety of baby bottles made with BPA.

posted on Wed, 05/14/2008 - 3:54pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Another study suggests that exposure to BPA is linked to obesity.

posted on Wed, 05/14/2008 - 3:58pm
Steve's picture
Steve says:

Despite the health risk, I will keep using my Nalgene bottles until I get around to buying a stainless one. I will also keep ingesting radon, asbestos, lead paint, coal smoke, mold, gasoline fumes, acid rain, arsenic, etc, etc, etc...

posted on Wed, 05/14/2008 - 5:06pm
hawa's picture
hawa says:

How can a water bottle not save, is it because of the way we treat it or not good at all cuz seriouslly I just don't understand how in the world that a water bottle can cause cancer.

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 2:19pm
Videogameplayer12's picture
Videogameplayer12 says:

Wow! Didn't really know that before. Need to be more careful!

posted on Thu, 04/09/2009 - 11:23am

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options