Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical used for decades to manufacture hard plastics, particularly water bottles, baby bottles, reusable cups and the lining of metal cans. Studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration claim the chemical in food containers does not affect children or adults. In fact, the department's 2010 "Update on Bisphenol A for Use in Food Contact Applications" assures citizens that the FDA has been carefully monitoring BPA and reducing exposure. However, Europe has gone so far as to ban all products made for children under the age of three that contain BPA (in 2006). Presumably, BPA levels would be just enough to affect small children and undeveloped brain functions, but would not affect more mature bodies. Fortunately, changing technology and plastic developments have put many excellent BPA-free plastic bottles on the market recently.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, or "hormone disrupter." According to medical experts at "Trusted, M.D.," synthetic xenoestrogens can be crippling to young children and infants--and are linked to decreased testosterone levels in men, insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, and breast cancer and uterine cancer in women. Although the FDA claims the chemical does not affect children or adults in "Update on Bisphenol A for Use in Food Contact Applications, 2010," it has admitted "some concern for effects on the brain, behavior and prostate glands of fetuses and the very young." Scientific studies have also raised concerns about the chemical's link to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, reproductive failures and behavioral problems, according to a "Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal" report in 2010, based on statements from the FDA website. In 2006, San Francisco followed Europe's lead and banned BPA products made for children under age three.
You can tell whether your bottle contains BPA or not by looking at the bottom of it--#2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene), #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene), or #5 PP (polypropylene) means your bottle is fine. A #1 is recommended for one-time use. Unfortunately, some of the fun, colorful bottles so pervasive on the market today often contain polycarbonate plastics. You can identify them by the #7 recycling symbol.
Klean Kanteen is a company providing alternatives to plastic that contains BPA or controversial aluminum bottles. It manufactures stainless steel containers in various sizes, shapes, and styles. Other premium choices for stainless steel bottles include:
Intak by Thermos Stainless Steel Hydration Bottle
Reduce Stainless Steel Water Bottles (plastic lid)
Bean Canteen (plastic lid)
Nathan Steel Flip Straw Bottle
Nalgene Backpacker Stainless Steel
Gaiam Stainless Steel Water Bottle http://www.kleankanteen.com/
Polyethylene is a plastic manufactured without BPA.This type of bottle is durable and easy to clean; however, it's manufactured and tested carefully to ensure no trace of BPA. Depending on the brand and style of bottle, these choices are varied in their colors and features, but share common characteristics of safety and affordability.
CamelBak Podium Bottle
Product Architects Inc. Polar Bottle
Fit & Fresh LivPure Water Bottle
Eastman Tritan Plastic
Eastman Tritan plastic is another material that claims to be BPA-free because of its copolyester makeup. Various manufacturers create bottles using this substance, including the following:
Intak by Thermos Beverage Bottle
CamelBak Better Bottle
Contigo Hydration Water Bottle
Nathan Flip Straw Pure Bottle
Other BPA-plastic alternatives include aluminum bottles with non-BPA plastic liners, such as Sigg's Lifestyle water bottles. Reduce WaterWeek, a popular beverage container, features ABS plastic with a polypropylene cap and is a recommended choice for BPA-free users. These bottles can be obtained from wholesalers, stores, or directly from the manufacturer.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Bisphenol A (BPA) Information for Parents
- "Trusted, M.D."; Which Plastic Water Bottles Don't Leach Chemicals?; Vreni Gurd; March 2007
- Good Housekeeping: Best Reusable Water Bottles
- "Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinal"; FDA Says its Unable to Regulate BPA; Meg Kissinger; January 2010
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: pdate on Bisphenol A for Use in Food Contact Applications
- Safe Mama: Gerber Baby Food and Number 7 Plastics
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images