I've always hated plastic water bottles and dutifully slug a reusable bottle with me everywhere. However, a few years ago, I decided to nix my supposedly environmentally-friendly Nalgene bottles because I found out they were made with a dangerous chemical, polycarbonate, which leached into my water. I ditched the dull gray wide-mouthed Nalgene in favor of the narrow-necked brightly colored metal Sigg bottle. The Sigg was not only designed with shimmering shades of blues artfully wrapped around with a cute little hook screw cap, it was supposedly better for me and the planet because it was made with aluminum, not yucky, leaching polycarbonate plastic.
Millions of others joined the Sigg bandwagon after learning about the horrors of many reusable plastic bottles that contain BPA or polycarbonate. However, it seems like well-intentioned consumers, such as me, were duped by Sigg because the company just announced that their trendy Sigg bottles pre-August 2008 were lined with the toxic BPA. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that is found in the lining of plastic bottles, cans, baby bottles and children's cups. The American Medical Association found elevated levels of BPA "was associated with type 2 diabetes, angina, coronary heart disease and heart attack in adults with elevated levels of the chemical."
I had actually done a bit of my own sleuthing on this matter because a friendly representative from another reusable bottle company had indicated that the Sigg bottles were lined in plastic. My repeated attempts as a regular, but persistent citizen consumer activist failed, though, because the company refused to admit to anyone, including, shockingly me, what was in their products. However, the company publicly admitted to the BPA liner recently after repeated questions were raised as to why the company switched to an eco-liner of its bottles in the past year.
I don't want to necessarily continue to punish a company that has admitted wrong behavior and is now setting the record straight and selling non-BPA products. Especially since companies like Coca-Cola, Del Monte and the Grocery Manufacturers Association were exposed for trying to paint BPA in a positive light earlier this summer. But, BPA is a toxin that unknowing consumers were exposed to under the assumption that Sigg bottles were safe. Many parents, in an effort to avoid BPA-laden kids cups, switched to Sigg.
As a consumer, you can take action. I've contacted Sigg to ask for a refund (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are looking for a safe, 100% stainless steel reusable water bottle and don't want to get a new BPA-free Sigg, I recommend Kleen Kanteen (they are 100% eco-friendly, BPA-free and a family business). Nalgene does also offer 100% stainless steel bottles. Learn more about how to lead a BPA-free life with tips from the Environmental Working Group.
Additionally, citizens nationwide continue to support efforts to ban BPA. The Chicago city-council earlier this year outsmarted the FDA, which continues to argue that BPA is safe, by voting to ban it. There is now pending legislation in California to do the same statewide. Make your voice heard to demand that BPA be banned. I look forward to the day when we can toast each other to living in a toxic-free nation with our BPA-free metal water bottles.
Sarah's Social Action Snapshot originally appeared on Takepart.com