Are there hormone disruptors leaching from my metallic water bottles?
Came across a disturbing little tidbit tucked at the back of the Washington-based Environmental Working Group’s report on bisphenol A in canned food and beverages that I just didn't have room for this in last week's column.
Yes, we now know about the hormone disruptors leaching from food and beverage cans and yes, most Ecoholic readers will have heard about something fishy (namely, the same hormone disruptor, bisphenol A) leaching from hard, clear polycarbonate water bottles. But I nearly jumped out of my seat when I spotted my favourite water bottles also being fingered in EWG's report. The report noted that the liners of Swiss-based Sigg bottles are also lined with the controversial chemical.
How could this be? I was mortified. Just when you think you've found a safe alternative…Well, according to EWG: many metal water bottles are lined with a plastic coating that contains BPA. I immediately emailed the Big Carrot (where I purchased my Sigg bottle) about my concerns and was told there's nothing to worry about. That SIGG's are lined with a non-toxic, water base that prevents bacteria buildup.
This is the quote the Carrot sent me straight from the company:
"The (lining) formula has not been released [now it has been - it's called Rezin], since it is proprietary, but we have been working with them and they have agreed to release it soon. The liner has undergone extensive tests in Switzerland and Germany. The liner absolutely does not leach Bisphenol-A or other potential toxins. We have conducted our own tests in the US with a California lab, and they confirmed the European findings. So, the best I can do at this time is to assure you that the liner is completely safe, does not leach plastic products, contains no petroleum products, and exceeds all associated FDA requirements for food liners. The additional information will be released soon from Switzerland." -- Ron Peters of SIGG USA
I was still a little suspicious because lots of companies insist their products are safe but end up being full of shit, as we all know, so I began shopping around for water bottles that don't have any lining at all. (FYI, Kleen Kanteen is supposedly made with unlined stainless steel). As I started writing up this blog to give everybody a heads-up, I tried to go back to the original EWG report to pull out their quote on Sigg bottles and it had mysteriously vanished. Very strange. But I was swamped working on my news story for this week so I had to put it on hold. Now, my friends, I've got the scoop.
Turns out the Sigg people contacted EWG to say “show me the money,” or rather “show us your test results about our product or remove any mention of SIGG from your report if you can't cough up the results.” EWG opted for the latter. I'm still waiting to hear back from EWG about all the details. But ultimately, I don't believe they had any lab results on Sigg bottles, otherwise they would have included the results in the report - like they did for 100 different canned products. EWG's normally very thorough about this stuff. This is probably why they only buried one sentence about SIGG containing bisphenol A at the back of the report. Hey, it was clearly enough to freak plenty of consumers out, including me.
Either way, Sigg maintains that its bottles are NOT lined with a plastic containing bisphenol A, that they're baked with a “proprietary non-toxic, water-based resin which has been refined over decades and is extremely safe and stable.” (In all honesty, they should be lined with something since you wouldn't want to be drinking from unlined aluminum bottles anyway.)
So at the end of the day, I've gone back to drinking from my Sigg. But I'm still keeping my ear to the ground for anything suspicious.