Nalgene to Stop Making Polycarbonate Bottles

Following yesterday's post on Canada potentially labeling Bisphenol-a (BPA) as toxic, come reports that Nalgene will no longer offer the popular polycarbonate water bottle.

From the April 18th New York Times:

Bottle Maker to Stop Using Plastic Linked to Health Concerns
Nalgene, the brand that popularized water bottles made from hard, clear and nearly unbreakable polycarbonate, will stop using the plastic because of growing concern over one of its ingredients.
The decision by Nalgene Outdoor Products, a unit of Thermo Fisher Scientific, based in Rochester, came after reports that the Canadian government would declare the chemical bisphenol-a, or BPA, toxic. Some animal studies have linked the chemical to changes in the hormonal system.

You can read the full article on The New Yorks Times site.

Or Nalgene's press release "Nalgene to Phase Out Bottles Containing BPA" in the News section.


Filed under: Gear News

Comments

MTB416
50 reviewer rep
99 forum posts
April 18, 2008 at 5:42 p.m. (EDT)

There is no way Nalgene could discontinue their flagship. Are they just changing the plastic or actually discontinuing their extremely popular design?

Alicia MacLeay (Alicia)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
1,684 reviewer rep
4,162 forum posts
April 18, 2008 at 6:08 p.m. (EDT)

It's true.

I confirmed it with their PR reps this morning and was told:

"Although we have decided to transition from offering polycarbonate to an exclusively bpa-free product line, we are confident that our bottles, which contain BPA, are safe for their intended use. However, because of consumer requests for alternative materials, and as a responsible manufacturer of hydration and storage containers, we have decided to transition our polycarbonate product line to Eastman Tritan Copolyester."

You can read the official press release, now posted in our News section: Nalgene to Phase Out Bottles Containing BPA
https://www.trailspace.com/news/2008/04/18/nalgene-to-phase-out-bottles-containing-bpa.html

Bill S
REVIEW CORPS
4,534 reviewer rep
6,028 forum posts
April 19, 2008 at 1:12 p.m. (EDT)

I guess it's time to take an inventory and decide what to do about all my Lexan bottles. Between ones I have found (for example, one on Rainier that someone dropped and had clearly slid a few hundred feet), bought over the years (in small and "regular" 1 liter), and received in giveaways (lots of logos from REI, Mountain Hardwear, bike companies, etc etc), some widetop, some narrow top, some "fliptop", we must have hundreds sitting around (well, slight exageration, but a rather large number, most unused). A number were taken on winter trips or high altitude, Arctic, and Antarctic expeditions and filled with boiling water to put in the foot of the sleeping bag (which supposedly triggers rapid release of BPA).

I already visit the dermatologist regularly to get various lesions (cancerous and precancerous) removed (I go in Thursday for a Mohs procedure, which consists of shaving off small slices, then waiting while they get analyzed to see if more slices need to be shaved off, possibly up to 8 or 10 hours). And now I find I may be promoting various internal cancers.

At least, when I dump all the Lexan BPA-containing bottles, I can put them in our city-mandated recycle bin (they all have the recycle triangle on them). But now I have to start the collection all over again. But some have sentimental value, having accompanied me on some very memorable trips.

"The greatest cause of death is being born - no one gets out of this life alive"

f_klock
110 reviewer rep
762 forum posts
April 19, 2008 at 11:04 p.m. (EDT)

I'm really not sure where I stand on this subject, but here are some random thoughts:

Quote:

...we are confident that our bottles, which contain BPA, are safe for their intended use. However, because of consumer requests for alternative materials, and as a responsible manufacturer of hydration and storage containers, we have decided to transition our polycarbonate product line to Eastman Tritan Copolyester."

I'm no so sure I believe that a company as large as Nalgene would go to the trouble of changing their whole mega million dollar manufacturing process if the current products were indeed SAFE to use. To do this because of public requests for alternative products?...Only if the requests were in the multi-millions, and I don't believe that was the case. Alternative materials? If the older products are safe for their intended use, why not offer the alternative while still providing the classic. (Unless, of course, the classic really ISN"T safe. Kinda makes ya go "Hmmmm", doesn't it?.

I guess what I'm saying is that there must be truth in the reports about the dangers of bpa in lexan bottles if Nalgene is completely removing the material from their line.

Wouldn't it be nice if Nalgene worked out a trade in/up program to help dispose of the older bottles? There are a lot of areas where Polycarbonate products can not be recycled. In our county, we can only recycle #1 and #2 bottles.

My latest Nalgene bottle has the "Refill Not Landfill" message on it. I've been using it as an example teaching tool to get my students to stop, or at least reduce their purchasing of bottled water. I've been preaching and teaching about the evils of bottled water in PETE plastic bottles for years. Now it looks like I may have to rework my lecture to include lexan.

I know I sound like a "glass half-empty" kind of guy, but I'd be willing to bet that in 20 years, whatever compound Nalgene uses as a replacement for lexan will ALSO be found to be toxic or cause 3 headed babies or one of the dozen or so new types of Cancer that will have been discovered by then. As technology grows, so does public worry. How does the saying go? Oh yeah, "A little knowledge is dangerous." It's not all just worry though. Just think about the compounds, materials, polymers, and chemicals that are around now that weren't even thought of 100 years ago. Do we really know what we are building. Sounds a little sci-fi, but we really could be creating the begining of the end.

I've just decided to get rid of all of my plastic bottles of every kind, and I'm now going carry water in a bag made out of a goat's Stomach.

f_klock
110 reviewer rep
762 forum posts
April 19, 2008 at 11:15 p.m. (EDT)

Found this while surfing:

http://wwf.ca/satellite/reduce-risk/questionable.html

Bill S
REVIEW CORPS
4,534 reviewer rep
6,028 forum posts
April 21, 2008 at 6:55 p.m. (EDT)

f_klock wonders

Quote:

I'm no so sure I believe that a company as large as Nalgene would go to the trouble of changing their whole mega million dollar manufacturing process if the current products were indeed SAFE to use.

Actually, yes. First, they won't have to change their "whole...process". Most of the line to make the Classic bottle will work just fine by changing the liquid resin mixture that is poured into the molds. There may have to be some adjustments in timing and temperature, but it isn't like even changing the model of car on an auto assembly line. Molds get changed all the time anyway, due to wear and tear.

Second, there are lots of examples of major changes in product lines because of suspicions. Consider the Tylenol poisoning incident. Only a very tiny fraction of bottles were involved, and those in a single store. Yet the entire industry of off the shelf medicines and packaged foods changed within a few months to "tamperproof" packaging (most of it the simple expedient of gluing a paper disk under the lid on the bottle mouth). And there are lots of cases of suspicion causing the almost total disappearance of demand for a product where the suspicion was later shown to be a false alarm, yet the product never recovered and the company dropped it from their line.

I'm not saying that the BPA thing is a false alarm. There has been plenty of evidence coming out for several years that chemicals leach into the contents. The question has been how harmful it is. Plus the attitude these days is that even a single case of excess deaths, cancer, or birth defect is too many (because I might be the winner of the lottery and get the cancer or my kid might be the deformed one). Add to that the eagerness of certain members of the torts branch of the legal profession to sue anyone and everyone who has the slightest connection to anything that might cause disease or death, and companies run scared. Companies have disappeared because of a single product that caught the litagator's eye, even though the product was a tiny part of the company's product line (and in some cases was proven later to not be the cause of the problem).

So the idea is to "cut your losses short". Unfortunately, this doesn't always help. Some in the torts community will take this as an admission that the problem is real (whether it is or not) and that the company was covering it up all the time (and sometimes juries believe this).

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

By the way, anyone want a couple hundred lexan bottles, many with cherished logos? We have a lot to get rid of (better safe than sorry, I say).

Wonder how many gallons of BPA I have imbibed?

June 13, 2008 at 1:16 a.m. (EDT)

To better understand the health hazards of food containers one must first understand the manufacturing process. The hazards of Nalgene products were discovered due to a better understanding of their manufacturing processes.

With continued focus on this issue and review of manufacturing of alternatives to Nalgene products, reveals similar concerns.

The lead content of stainless steel products activated by heat and cold extremes reveals that they are as safe as eating the chipped paint from a 1930's home. Resorting to glass or porcelain products exposes the user to formaldehyde levels of a pickled high school frog.

As a molecular engineer from California Institute of Technology at Pasadena, I fear that my duty to inform consumers nationwide of the fraud that is being perpetrated in replacing one hazardous material with another.

trouthunter
1,753 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts
June 13, 2008 at 9:24 a.m. (EDT)

Sinclair, Interesting subject, those of us who have been around a while, and have watched as multitudes of studies have surfaced calling into question the safety of various consumer products, are probably hesitant to be persuaded unless you can substantiate your claims. I for one enjoy a good read, I certainly wouldn't mind taking a look at what you have.

Also Bill S is correct, smart companies try to stay ahead of the trends regardless of what is driving them.

Bill S
REVIEW CORPS
4,534 reviewer rep
6,028 forum posts
June 13, 2008 at 12:40 p.m. (EDT)

Side note - Bill S is also a CalTech graduate and Alum Assoc member. Sinclair, I assume you are doing your duty by an annual gift to the Alum Fund?

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