Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Report Raises Concerns About Chemicals Found in Nalgene Water Bottles and Many Other Products

A few years ago, Nalgene water bottles were among the most popular promotional products in the category. These durable, lightweight, trendy bottles were affordable giveaways touted for their health and hydration benefits and for saving landfills from disposable water containers. From outdoor enthusiasts, to athletes, to students, Nalgene bottles and similar knock-offs were pitched as the perfect choice for health-conscious promotions.

A new report suggests that it may be time to replace those plastic water bottles with safer aluminum or stainless steel versions.

Yesterday, a U.S. federal health panel for the first time acknowledged concerns that a chemical found in these water bottles — as well as many types of promotional merchandise and everyday household products — may cause cancer, dangerous hormonal imbalances in children and other serious disorders.

Read more about report here.

The chemical, bisphenol-a, or BPA, makes a sturdy hard plastic and has been used in production since the 1950s. Sometimes indicated by the number 7 on products, BPA is found mostly in strong plastic goods such as non-disposable water bottles, food storage containers, baby bottles, compact discs, cell phones, computers, and many types of plastic promotional giveaways.

The draft report released yesterday by the National Toxicology Program, an office of the National Institutes of Health, signaled a turning point in the government's position on BPA. Last year another expert panel using outside scientists minimized the health risks of BPA, but those findngs were widely assailed after a congressional investigation found that a firm hired to perform scientific analysis was also working for the chemical industry.

Public health advocates have raised concerns that when used in food and drink containers in particular, the chemicals can more easily leach out into our bodies. The City of San Francisco href=>banned the use of BPA in toys and certain food and drink containers last year. Environmental health activists now argue that the new report should spur the government to ban the use of BPA nationwide, at least in baby products.