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BPA (bisphenol A) Does Leach From Plastic Bottles, Harvard Confirms

A study released last week all but proves what we have been hearing for years now… that hard plastic bottles containing BPA (bisphenol A) are leaching the chemical into the liquids they contain.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who drank for a week from the clear plastic polycarbonate bottles increased concentrations of bisphenol A – or BPA – in their urine by 69 percent.

The study is the first to definitively show that drinking from BPA bottles increases the levels of the chemical in urine, researchers said.

The controversy over “hard” Nalgene bottles has been followed closely by the outdoor community, and discussion kicked up again last year when several major retailers (like Walmart) pulled products containing the chemical.  Nalgene reacted in turn by saying they would be offering BPA-free alternatives to their popular Outdoor bottle line.

“We continue to believe that Nalgene products containing BPA are safe for their intended use,” Steven Silverman, general manager of the Nalgene business, said in a statement. “However, our customers indicated they preferred BPA-free alternatives and we acted in response to those concerns.”

Now that the “leaching” doubts have been answered, I suppose the last question some will have is:  “Is BPA really bad for you?”.  In other words, who cares if it leaches?  That is a question that I imagine will be hard to answer conclusively for awhile.  Most of the studies I’m aware of indicate that the real concern is for developmental and reproductive problems.  But I am neither an infant, or a fetus… so how does this affect me?  Well, some research suggests it doesn’t.  But this has been clouded by the fact that a lot of that research was industry-funded.

I love my old, beat up, duct taped Nalgene.  It has accompanied me on some of my favorite adventures.  I’m sure I’ll still use it on occasion.  When it is in arm’s reach and I’m heading out for a weekender, or a day trip.  But I’ve decided to dump BPA products for my daily hydration or prolonged trips.  I really don’t see a reason to take a risk… it is just a bottle.  A new one won’t break the bank, so why not play it safe?

You can get BPA-free Nalgenes (included the beloved wide-mouth) from most outdoor retailers.

The latest rage seems to be these aluminum SIGG bottles.  I’ve switched over to a SIGG myself for daily use. (EDIT: Turns out SIGG bottles had BPA in their liners)

And Eastern Mountain Sports is running a 25% to 40% off sale on water bottles right now.  Not sure how long it lasts, but here is the link: 25-40% off all water bottles

Additional Info (always consider the source, there are some “info” sites out there that are really fronts for the chemical industry):


  1. SIGG Bottles Contained BPA After All, Did They Mislead Consumers? | Towns and Trails
    SIGG Bottles Contained BPA After All, Did They Mislead Consumers? | Towns and Trails09-09-2009

    […] the BPA controversy has been playing out for years, one company seemed to benefit from the public’s growing […]

  2. REI Responds to SIGG BPA Issues | Towns and Trails
    REI Responds to SIGG BPA Issues | Towns and Trails09-17-2009

    […] fallout continues for SIGG. Amidst reports that their water bottle liners included the controversial chemical BPA (bisphenol A), some outdoor vendors are pulling the bottles from their inventories and in at least one case, […]

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