For a couple of years at least, consumers have been abandoning their plastic reusable water bottles in favour of metal ones in order to avoid the endocrine disruptor BPA.
Retail stores reacted to customer concerns about BPA, and pulled the hard polycarbonate plastic bottles from their store shelves and replaced them with metal bottles, such as those made by the Swiss company, Sigg. This was completely a consumer-driven change.
Nalgene, along with other plastic water bottle manufacturers that for years had declared that there were no health issues related to BPA, were forced to take the BPA out of their bottles due to consumer demand. It was not until October of 2008 that the Canadian government declared BPA a “hazardous substance”, and it was placed on the toxic substance list.
Then in March 2009, the US put through legislation that forbids the sale of “any bottle, cup, or other container that contains bisphenol A if the container is designed or intended to be filled with any liquid, food or beverage primarily for consumption from that container by children three years of age or younger.”
According to the Canadian Gazette, “On March 16, 2009, in the United States, a bill to ban the use of bisphenol A in food containers, and for other purposes was introduced for the second time in the House of Representatives.” BPA is particularly hazardous to infants, and many countries have now banned it from sippy cups, liners of infant formula containers, baby toys etc.
Metal water bottle manufacturers were the huge beneficiary of the BPA problem, and the whimsical Sigg bottles became extremely popular. Over a year ago, a CBC reporter asked a Sigg representative point blank if the bottle liner contained BPA, and the answer he received to the question was “No”.
However, we know that was not the truth, as Sigg has now come clean and admitted to the world that their bottle liners contained BPA until August 2008, after which they were replaced by a BPA-free liner. Today, when I was in the store that sold me my bottle, I noticed that all the Sigg bottles were pulled from the shelves.
Sigg, in an effort to save face, is offering an exchange program where consumers can send in their Sigg bottles with the old liner for a replacement with the new liner, at the consumer’s expense for shipping. I bought my Sigg bottle in July 2009, and it still has the old liner, so just because you purchased your bottle recently does not guarantee you’ve got the BPA-free one.
If you own a Sigg bottle and are concerned, check which liner you've got by referring to these pictures. The old liner is coppery in colour, whereas the new one is yellowish. Make sure you download the labels they want you to use, to ensure a smooth exchange.
My water bottle / BPA post that I wrote a few years back was extremely popular, and I got many questions with respect to the safety of particular brands of water bottles, Sigg being one of them frequently asked about. I apologize if I steered anyone wrong – I did not know that Sigg bottle liners contained BPA and find it astonishing that they would, since people were moving to metal bottles in order to specifically avoid that chemical.
According to Sigg, their new bottles are BPA free. I do wish that as consumers we could trust companies to use materials that are not implicated in health concerns, and I’m sure there are some reputable companies out there, but how is a consumer to know which companies to trust?
Just to let those of you in the Vancouver Lower Mainland know, I am going to run my popular Nutrition Seminar again on Sept. 23, ’09 from 7-10pm. If you are confused about nutrition with all of the conflicting information out there, come out and learn some simple strategies to know instantly whether or not a particular food is healthy. Click here to find out details and how to register.
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Sigg website Sigg exchange program
Sigg website About our liners and reusable bottles
Health Canada website Government of Canada Takes Action on Another Chemical of Concern: Bisphenol A April 18, 2008.
Health Canada website Health Canada’s Study of Baby Bottles and Bottle Liners
Canada Gazette Order Adding a Toxic Substance to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Vol. 143, No. 20 — May 16, 2009.
Canada Gazette Order Amending Schedule I to the Hazardous Products Act (bisphenol A) Vol. 143, No. 26 — June 27, 2009
C. Kubwabo et al. Migration of bisphenol A from plastic baby bottles, baby bottle liners and reusable polycarbonate drinking bottles Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, Volume 26, Issue 6 June 2009 , pages 928 – 937
Mike Verespej U.S. FDA to reconsider BPA safety issue Plastics News.com August 20, 2009
Copyright 2009 Vreni Gurd