Nalgene Waterbottle Well it's official, Canada has become the first regulatory body in the world to call bisphenol A a dangerous substance. The government hasn't announced specific bans or restrictions yet but the new designation could pave the way for changes in the future.

For those not up to speed, Bisphenol A is a major chemical in the manufacturing of the polycarbonate plastic in your Nalgene bottle. It's used in many other products including linings of most tin cans, CD, sports helmets, and safety glasses. Critics don't like it because they say small amounts of BPA can leach from food and beverage containers and can mimic the female hormone estrogen.

"Bisphenol A is in every Canadian home. It threatens the health of every Canadian. Moving against it would be a hugely significant victory for public health and the environment," said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, a group that has been campaigning for a ban on the chemical from food containers.

In related news, Nalgene recently unveiled a new marketing tool information source so customers could, "easily determine the bottle and material that is right for them".

Clearly highlighting the new BPA free bottles, breaks down the entire Nalgene line-up and clearly explains each bottle type and material.

While you are there, look for their new line called, "everyday Titan". It is made from Eastman TritanTM copolyester so it has very similar properties as regular polypropylene but without BPA or phthalates. Pick it up at your local camping store shelves towards the end of this month.

Polycarbonate Recycling Symbol Finally, if you are you unsure if your current drinking bottle is made from polycarbonate, you can easily tell by looking at the plastic symbol at the bottom. It will have the number seven inside the triangle with the letters PC nearby.

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Published in Industry Stuff
MEC Logo Canada's largest outdoor gear retailer announced yesterday that effective immediately, it will stop selling bottles and bowls made from polycarbonate plastic.

All polycarbonate plastic has a chemical in it called Bisphenol A or BPA. Bisphenol A, which can also be found in baby bottles, sippy cups and the lining of food cans, has been shown to mimic the female hormone estrogen and could lead to hormonal disruptions such as early puberty.

Nalgene BottlesAccording to the press release, the reason behind the decision to voluntarily pull them now is the, "Inconclusive science and regulatory uncertainty presently surrounds bisphenol-A."

With the decision to pull the bottles, several environmental groups have praised MEC yet plastic companies are calling the move unnecessary. Officials with the company that make the bottles, Nalge Nunc International Corp., of Rochester, N.Y. issued a statement this morning.

"Rarely has a chemical been the subject of such intense scientific testing and scrutiny and still important agencies across the globe agree that there is no danger posed to humans from polycarbonate bottles," said Tom Cummins, director of new product research and development at Nalgene.

I personally don't know what to think about the issue. I applaud for making the bold step to remove a potentially dangerous product. It is a very risky move for them. Nalgene bottles are a huge money maker and often the thing that draws people in the door. Also, right now there are only a few comparable alternatives out there on the market though I recently posted a press release about Camelbak developing products using a BPA free plastic resin.

A while ago, I posted an article about the complex issue around and the uncertainties around the safety of the plastic.

More info:

Published in Industry Stuff
MEC LogoInconclusive science and regulatory uncertainty presently surrounds bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic chemical that is a 'building block' of polycarbonate plastic. For these reasons, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) has stopped selling polycarbonate water bottles and food containers until guidance is provided by the Government of Canada on the potential health risks posed by BPA. MEC's deliberations on this matter will be guided by the risk assessment of BPA that is currently underway through the federal government's Chemicals Management Plan.
Published in Press Releases

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