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put down that water bottle...

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
having been a big user of these #7 bottles (during two pregnancies and during breast feeding too), i found this information eye-opening and alarming. this was in the most recent issue of sierra magazine...our just arrived, actually.

this whole article should be online soon (as of this morning, oct 28th, the new issues isn't online yet). "Hazards of Hydration - Choose your plastic water bottles carefully."by Frances Cerra WhittelseySierra Magazine, Nov/Dec 2003, p. 16, 18

basically, an accident during a study produced startling results in mice. the original study was regarding birth defects in mice...miscarriages and birth defects, which often result from aneuploidy, the loss or gain of chromosomes. the mice cages (which we made of plastic) were washed with harsh chemicals, and the number of chromosomal abnormalities, went from only 1 to 2 percent to 40 percent.

the researchers figured out the cause was bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that mimics the hormone estrogen. the harsh chemical washing leached the chemical from the polycarbonate mouse cages after the washing.

For years, scientists have been finding that endocrine disrupters ;ole BPA can impair the reproductive organs of rats and mice, reduce sperm counts in rats, and bring about changes in tissue that resemble early-stage breast cancer, among other effects. But Nune International, maker of Nalgene bottles, maintains that its products are "safe for use with human consumables". cutes other research that found no dangerous leaching; and points to a 2002 study in which rats fed a diet containing BPA at h levels higher than those in Hunt's laboratory suffered no apparent reproductive or developmental effects.

regular wear and tear, and washing with strong detergents and/or in a dishwasher will leach the chemical. we hand wash ours (no dishwasher!), but i'm still going to stop using those for now...

Most at risk, says Colborn, are people with developing endocrine systems: pregnant women and newborns, followed by young children, and women who might get pregnant. Hunt says that if she had an infant, she would switch to polypropylene (#5 PP)<, which is not known to leach harmful substances. (Other plastics that are not known to leach are #2 HDPE and #4 LDPE. "Single use" plastics made of polyethylene terephthalate [#1 PET or PETE] are not recommended for repeat use; one study found that they may break down and release the suspected carcinogen DEHA.).

- For more information see "Plastics for Kitchen Use" www.thegreenguide.com
post #2 of 35

thanks, mamarsupial!!

..for info on something that's been bugging me for a while.

The water treatment here in Pittsboro, N.C. is and has been completely unreliable since we moved.

We need to get a reverse osmosis but I'm not even sure it would work for the new choramines (used to be TTHMs) that are a contaminant of the ammonia/chorine combo they just started using 6 mos ago.

Regardless, we just got a mailer saying that they had just failed state standards (not exactly a gold standard).

We don't drink the stuff--- Evian in PETE #1 for that, Distilled in HDPE #2 for cooking.

"Safer plastics -- #1 PETE/PET, #2HDPE, #4LDPE, and #5PP

When choosing plastic containers, even those you'll use over and over again, choose those that are accepted for recycling in your area. The most commonly recycled plastics are #1 PETE, often used in the making of soft drink, water and sports drink bottles, ketchup and salad dressing bottles, and peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars; and #2 HDPE, used for milk, water and juice bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, and grocery, trash and retail bags.

Number #4 LDPE and #5PP plastics, although not as widely recycled, are also good choices because, like #1 and #2 plastics, they are not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. Some bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles are made out of #4 plastic and some ketchup bottles and yogurt and margarine tubs are manufactured from #5 plastic."

Thanks again, you saved me a whole lotta homework,

post #3 of 35
What about the plastic used for sippy cups that we wash in the dishwasher and use over and over? What about the water bottles you buy at camping stores that are so popular now?
Whats safe to reuse? I went to that greensite and couldnt really find an answer......
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
check the numbers. according to the sierra article, the grey or colored nalgenes are #7, the kind that leaches BPA.

the white nalgenes are #2 or #4 and sippy cups are usually #2 or #5 - all safe according to the article.
post #5 of 35
I originally saw this discussion on the Fertility/TTC thread.

When I read the above posts I became deeply concerned, because my DH and I have about 10 Nalgene bottles that we keep in our offices, the car, with camping gear, etc. We use them all the time.

So, when I showed DH this thread, he contacted Nalgene, and this was their response:

Thank you for contacting NNI for information about your NALGENE products. Please let me assure you that all NALGENE bottles and containers are molded from food grade plastics and are safe for use with consumables.

Concerns relating to the leaching of chemicals from plastic containers have received a fair amount of media attention in recent years. You may have read about scientific research that seemed to indicate certain compounds could be extracted from plastics and that these chemicals interfere with the human hormonal system.

You may be interested to know the researcher responsible for this media coverage was later found to have falsified the test results and was subsequently banned from receiving Federal grant money as a result.

NNI believes that an informed consumer is our best ally. Please click on the link below for additional information on this subject and please feel free to contact me if I may be of further assistance.


Below is the link to our website where you can check on the physical properties of each resin we use and a link to an article addressing some of these leaching questions. I hope this information helps.


I looked at some of their links, at it appears they are referring to different research than that referenced in the original post. But -- it is still relevant and interesting. I encourage anyone who is interested to look at the technical data link.

I do believe that chemicals present in plastics leach into our bodies and the environment -- I'm just not sure if in this case it truly presents a measurable health risk. It is hard to believe any data that comes from the plastics industry, that's for sure. Bottom line -- I don't know who or what to believe. Why is it so hard to do the right thing? Ironically, we use Nalgene bottles to help save the environment. I am seriously considering using a glass bottle instead. The more we can all minimize our use of any type of plastics... the better. But it is hard!


While trying to find the original Sierra article (which I was unable to do), I came across a Sierra Club water bottle, which looks awfully similar to a Nalgene!!! What gives? : You can check the bottle out at the link below:


So, that's what I found. I'm curious to hear what others have to say.

I'd like to contact the author of the Sierra Club article and see what she has to say about the safety of their very own water bottle. But, since I haven't read the actual article, I don't think I should. Anyone else game?
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
When I read the above posts I became deeply concerned, because my DH and I have about 10 Nalgene bottles that we keep in our offices, the car, with camping gear, etc. We use them all the time.
that's how i felt when i saw the article. we have MANY nalgenes and use them all the time...for years...through two pregnancies and while nursing! i don't like the white nalgenes (which are safe) since they can get a funky smell going after a while. the next worst thing would be if someone came out saying polar fleece is toxic!

While trying to find the original Sierra article (which I was unable to do), I came across a Sierra Club water bottle, which looks awfully similar to a Nalgene!!! What gives?
hee hee. not surprised at all! it would be a good thing to bring to their attention though! although, they don't caution EVERYONE from using the leaching plastics...just pregnant/lactating women and young children (which is why i posted it here on mothering). babes' endocrine systems are developing and pg/nursing moms since they could then transfer the BPA to them.

the research study they referenced in the article was published recently (2003). the sierra article contained the same statements from nalgene and retorts from the researchers (among others). i originally posted the whole article, but its agains MDC rules to post the whole thing. hopefully the nov/dec issue of sierra will be available online soon.
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
post #8 of 35
I just emailed the Sierra Club editors to find out if their bottles are safe, or, if they plan on discontinuing the water bottles that bear their logo. This should be interesting. I'll keep you all posted!
post #9 of 35

glass water bottles?

Does anyone sell glass water bottles with easy-to-use and easy-to-carry tops, like the Nalgene? Or should I just buy myself a nice tall jar?

I'm so frustrated with plastics research. I just figure we should work toward getting all plastic out of our kitchen! Someone should make glass sippy cups, too. I've been looking for something that will work!

post #10 of 35
I know, Ive been looking at all the plastic in my kitchen too. THough several months ago I bought some pyrex dishes in various sizes.....they work great!

No one ever mentions cling wrap and how dangerous/toxic that stuff is!
What about ziploc bags?
post #11 of 35

come on, people - don't humans deserve glass, too?

I just did a search for "glass water bottles" on Yahoo!, and all I could find was link after link to pet supplies websites! I clicked on one, just for fun, and the description of the bottle said that animals deserve clean water, free of funky plastic smells. Me too, me too! Man, don't I wish I could drink from a Lixit bottle!

I've wondered about Ziploc bags myself, rainsmom.
post #12 of 35
somebody on another version of this thread said she just reused her glass perrier water bottle. i have a gerolsteiner mineral water bottle in the fridge i think i might keep for a water bottle.


p.s. i have heard about the dangers of cling wrap. bill moyers had a lot about that on his piece on chemicals in our bodies. there was a lot on his website off www.pbs.org .
post #13 of 35
I accidentially posted this as a new thread , but wanted to make sure this post got it:

For glass bottles, try http://www.ebottles.com . I'm hoping to find one that has a wide mouth for easier cleaning.

post #14 of 35
If you do a search on stainless steel water bottles there are some options, too.
post #15 of 35
I finally heard back from Sierra Club about the paradox that they are selling the very bottles that they have just reported to be unsafe.

From Sierra Club:

We have decided to stop selling the Nalgene bottles on our gear store. Many thanks for bringing this to our attention (you weren't the only one). The bottles should be removed from the site in the next day or so.

So there ya go. At least they practice what they preach!
post #16 of 35
This is disturbing news. Since our island doesn't recycle plastics, we reuse almost all of our plastics, from water bottles to yogurt containers to sectioned frozen food trays (a great alternative to the expensive store-bought children's dishes). I don't know what to do because glass is not a safe alternative for children. : Any ideas?

As for alternatives to plastic or glass water bottles, Nissan stainless steel seems to be a good choice (although it is expensive). My daughter uses one for school. It is unbreakable, water stays cold for up to a few days, zero condensation, water stays clean and free from airborne germs floating around her classroom, and it lasts forever. Campmor has them at a reasonable cost....
post #17 of 35
Thanks for the update, Shell! It's nice to hear.

Thanks, milk4two, for the stainless steel recommendations. Between glass bottles and stainless steel, I should have no problem finding something that's safer than my formerly-beloved Nalgene.

So, what are you folks doing with your old Nalgenes? We're thinking of using it as a pencil holder, penny jar, or planting pot. :LOL
post #18 of 35
Life is filled with difficult decisions. We're often reduced to the lesser of two evils, given the tremendous fundamentally unsustainable design of our society. We will probably continue to use our Nalgenes to some degree -- although since I will be TTC soon, we will disband their use for the time being.

Meanwhile, we buy water from our hardware store in those big plastic multi-gallon jugs, and put it on a ceramic bubbler in our kitchen. We fill our Nalgenes from the bubbler. So -- the same endocrine disruptors are probably in the larger plastic jugs too! So now what do we do? Our tap water tastes awful, and is super chlorinated, and probably floridated.

My point is that we can run, but we can't always hide. Are we poisening ourselves and the earth in a multitude of ways... uh, yes. Yet, we still have to live here, and carry out our daily existence. Sometimes we just have to do things that we know aren't necessarily the absolutely right thing to do. Cognitive dissonance, I suppose.

I didn't mean to go off on a tangent, but I often get very depressed and frustrated by what we are doing to our beautiful world, and by how the public has been so DUPED! And then I wonder, how will I ever explain all this to my children (one day). I worry about bringing kids into this world. All I can hope is that we, collectively (Mothering Forum, and so on), are turning the tide, and that our kids will lead us out of this mess. It's a tall order, though.

post #19 of 35

bottle plastics

I am also a Nalgene water drinker but when I read the Sierra article my first thought was "what about our Avent baby bottles?"
We send EBM in Avent bottles with our dd to daycare every day. The Avent bottles have no number on them-does anyone know which kind of plastic they are made out from?
post #20 of 35
As far as the glass water bottles, I'm just going to buy a few snapples or arizona iced tea. Nice cheap water bottle and some iced tea to boot.
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