When I first started my search for the best reusable bottle for our school fundraiser in the fall of 2007, I came across warnings about a variety of chemicals that could leach out of various types of bottles into drinks. Some claims seemed far fetched – especially the one about plastic bottles that are put in the freezer, but some claims seemed legitimate. Digging a little deeper, I found credible scientific sources who concluded that Bisphenol A (BPA) can leach out of plastic and is not a good chemical to ingest, even in small concentrations. BPA is a hormone disruptor that can affect the reproductive system and the nervous system, especially in children and infants. I quickly ruled out any plastic bottle that contained BPA – at the time, all Nalgene and Camelback bottles.
After eliminating the hard plastic (polycarbonate) bottles to avoid BPA, I considered the metal bottles: aluminum and stainless steel. Aluminum bottles have to be lined with something because aluminum is reactive. We steered away from Sigg because their bottles had openings too narrow for ice cubes and proper washing and drying. But we were also concerned about that liner. What was it made of? Would it wear and crack with use or abuse? Little did I imagine that Sigg’s aluminum bottles actually contained BPA and they were keeping that information from consumers while the BPA concern was growing! Ultimately, we chose stainless steel because it’s non-reactive and doesn’t need a liner. Stainless steel has also been around for decades and hasn’t been found to leach anything harmful into drinks.
Fast forward to 2009 – some reusable bottle companies have come up with a new type of hard plastic that doesn’t contain BPA and Sigg can now line their bottles with a liner that doesn’t have BPA, but you know what? I’m not sure I am willing to trust that this new plastic bottle and new liner are any better and that the companies would admit it if they weren’t better. Given Sigg’s years of misinformation about BPA, I’m just not sure anymore, so I’m sticking with stainless steel reusable bottles! Naturally, BPA-free!