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29 October 2009

More about BPA and SIGG

This is our third post on the issue of reusable water bottles and BPA. The two earlier articles explain more about SIGG & BPA and the exchange program.

Are SIGG bottles safe?
While SIGG should have been more transparent about the fact its bottles prior to August 2008 contained BPA in the manufacturing, the bottles are still safe based on independent tests that show no leaching of BPA or other toxins.

When most people purchased their bottles in 2008 and before, it was on the understanding that the bottles did not leach BPA or any toxins--and that has not changed.  It was only in 2009 that SIGG said the new bottles were BPA free.

Is this a product recall? 
The exchange program being offered by SIGG and retailers is not a recall, because the bottles are not unsafe.   SIGG promoted the bottles as not leaching BPA or other toxins, and this is still the case.

SIGG has explained that while BPA was an ingredient in the lining, it was manufactured in such a way that it was polymerised, essentially locking in the ingredients.

See more details on the exhange program below.  The program will end soon, as SIGG worldwide has already ended the program.

What is BPA & how is it used?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a plastic and resin ingredient used to line metal food and drink cans and to make hard and clear polycarbonate plastics.  Here is a summary of the Environmental Working Group study in 2007 which found BPA in over half of 97 cans of name-brand fruit, vegetables, soda, and other commonly eaten canned goods.

Its use is widespread, as is its permeation into the environment around us including drinking water and human breast milk.

BPA can leach into food from the protective internal lining of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles.  The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container.  (Source: National Toxicology Program).

This Z recommends article explains the great advances made away from unsafe polycarbonate bottles that contained high levels of BPA, but calls for putting BPA-free into perspective.

Canada was the first country to ban BPA from baby products, followed by several US States.

How to limit exposure to BPA?
  • Do not heat or microwave food in any type of plastic container - use glass or ceramic instead. Heating plastics to high temperatures promotes the leaching of chemicals.
  • Reduce your use of canned foods - canned pasta and soups contain the highest levels of BPA
  • Avoid polycarbonate #7 and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) #3 plastics, especially for children's food. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom are safer choices and do not contain BPA. 
  • Use glass baby bottles.
  • Use high quality reusable bottles from trusted brands that publish results of quality control and testing.
Which bottles are safest to use?
In most cases, the old rule "you get what you pay for" is a good starting point.  There are many cheap metal bottles in stores to meet the consumer demand for moving away from plastics.  We recommend only choosing an established brand that you know and trust, that openly publishes independent test results, and that can be held accountable should there be a problem. 

Metal bottles can still leach toxins, whether an aluminium bottle with no lining at all or an unsafe lining, or a stainless steel bottle leaching nickel - particularly if there has not been a tightly controlled and monitored approach to the manfacturing.

Klean Kanteen and Nathan and Thermos are long standing, high quality stainless steel bottle brands.

At the end of the day, you and your family are the ones who drink from the bottles and need to feel comfortable with whichever choice you make.  More about SIGG on this blog.

Author & Editor

Tracey Bailey is the founder of Biome Eco Stores and mother of two. After working in corporate communications and starting a family, she made a choice to be part of the solution to our planet's future and started Biome Eco Stores. Tracey is passionate about educating the community about living eco-friendly and sustainable lives through her extended product, chemical, health and environmental knowledge.


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