As a parent of two young children, my heart sinks when I read these studies of materials used in products we have personally used with our kids. And though we had to dispose of a few Thomas the Train cars we had which were tainted with lead (and not typically found in the mouths of our babes), to our knowledge (and I suppose that’s subject to change) we managed to avoid nearly all of the known toys and products that cause health issues (with the exception of soy milk which I won’t get into right now). This remained the case until the story of BPA’s potential negative health effects broke in 2007, from a panel convened by the National Institutes of Health.
This article from the Huffington Post written by Dr. Harvey Karp a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, urges the State of California to ban BPA’s used for products made for young children. Minnesota, Connecticut and Canada have also passed legislation to reduce BPA use as has this author’s city of Chicago.
But now, we find the famous Sigg water bottle, for which we conducted this interview back in 2008 very much under fire. In several recent Examiner blog posts, Dana Feldmeier reveals that aluminum water bottle producer SIGG failed to disclose the fact that its epoxy bottle liners contained trace amounts of BPA. The Boston Globe even reprinted an email exchange between a concerned parent, Julie Silas and Steve Wasik, the CEO of Sigg.
Sigg has since publicly apologized with this rather curious explanation, “I am sorry that we did not make our communications on the original SIGG liner more clear from the very beginning…We were operating again under what we thought was an obligation to our supplier, right or wrong. We had no other supplier in place who could provide us a formula so we could continue to do business. Now we know it was the wrong decision. Now we know we should have, you know, put the consumer first,” said Wasik on Thursday.
Here is a link to another of SIGG’s communications directly from their CEO from their website. Noticeably absent ” any specific product information as to whether or not their SIGG bottles contain BPA. And though it appears the SIGG bottles did not leach any BPA, in other words, the test resulted in 0 µg/kg/day (here is a link to the various tests conducted by outside parties and to various internationally recognized standards e.g. EN 14350-2:2004), some of the aluminum bottles (not produced by SIGG) are leaching BPA in excess of the current FDA guidelines of 50 ( µg/kg/day). Moreover, many of them appear to be leaching BPA’s in much lower levels which some of the latest studies show negative health effects (e.g. 10 µg/kg/day).
As we see it, the shift to metal drink bottles came as a result of a couple of trends. The first related to potential negative BPA health effects ” people switched to a substitute. The second trend relates to green ” aluminum and stainless water bottles can be filled with regular tap water and reused whereas water bottles from Evian and Aquafina (as examples) typically are discarded.
Ever since the FDA granted approval for aluminum use in cookware and for food storage, innovations for the light metal continue apace for this industry. The main controversy surrounding aluminum in cookware related to potential negative health effects involving Alzheimer’s. However, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, there has been no conclusive reports linking aluminum cookware to the contribution of Alzheimer’s. The primary health risk in terms of aluminum involves the leaching of the metal directly into foods and that is why it is not advisable to store highly acidic foods in bare aluminum containers such as tomatoes.
This story has many different angles. We also want to point out that several aluminum and stainless bottle producers are producing BPA-free product (including SIGG now). However, we believe SIGG’s argument, we thought this was the obligation of our supplier would be of sufficient interest to metals buyers to warrant some additional research and a follow-up post.