Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Plastic Bottle Alternative- Suggestions Needed


In December of 2007, the national post reported Canadian cult goods chain Mountain Equipment Coop was pulling its line of plastic water bottles. These bottles, very popular with many ultimate players, was being pulled due to fear of the bottles leaching the chemical Bisphenol A.

Bisphenol A has become controversial because it mimics estrogen and thus could induce hormonal responses. Possible side effects include:

  • Lowered sperm count
  • Infertile sperm
  • Carcinogenic effects
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Triggering fat-cell activity and obesity
  • May be involved in schizophrenia pathogenesis
Are you kidding me? Someone check the offices of Nalgene and make sure all nylon ropes are confiscated from the premises.

I don't like to fret about unproven risks, but I'd rather not be a fat impotent cancer patient suffering from schizophrenic attacks. I'm looking for a new water bottle. But what kind of bottle should I get? Where can I get a different bottle and which company offers the best price?

Help me people!


jonathan said...

Where to get a new bottle? Well, you could just go right back to MEC. They didn't pull all their plastic bottles... just the polycarbonate Lexan variety. Lexan plastic became the standard for water bottles because it very durable, extremely tough, and can be see-through. But there are now the worries about BPA, so what are the other options?

Well, at MEC, for instance, you should be able to find all kinds of bottles using old school plastics without BPA. Lots of variety in the cycling section. And more old plastic in the camping section, along with stainless steel.

And I wouldn't toss your Lexan bottles yet. MEC took the better-safe-than-sorry route, but we may see all the polycarbonate stuff back on the shelves after more study. The media really jumped on this story, and, not surprisingly, there's a lot of fear and misinformation floating around out there.

I'll add, in hopes that this might clear up some of the confusion out there, that Nalgene is a brand (not a plastic type) that makes all kinds of hydration products (they still provide MEC with other plastic bottles, e.g. HDPE). Here's a link to their webpage on this issue: BPA and Nalgene. Jury's still out on BPA. But can't deny it's safest to switch.

Again though, I'd hang on to your Lexan. I'd be shocked if MEC wasn't storing all its polycarbonate overstock at the warehouse, also waiting to see the results of further study.

Taylor said...

I've followed this story vaguely for a while. It seems to me that the PC starts leaching more as the product ages, and also when exposed to harsh chemicals and extreme temperatures.

What I would do: keep using your Nalgene. If it's really old, replace it if you think it's necessary. What's more important is that you don't let water sit for too long in the bottle.

What I'm more concerned with is buying bottled water that's been sitting on the shelf for months and months. PC isn't the only plastic that leaches chemicals into the water.

Alternatives: SIGG makes nice aluminum bottles that are lined with some mystery plastic that apparently doesn't leach. The problem is that you can't clean them with soap or in the dish washer. Stainless steel seems a good option, but they are harder to find sometimes. Glass is a great option too. Try a 1L mason jar that spaghetti sauce comes in...