Where Can I Buy BPA-Free Water Bottles?

Aluminum Water Bottle
Aluminum Water Bottle. Vstock LLC/Tetra images/Getty Images

Question: Where Can I Find BPA-Free Water Bottles?

I have heard that Plastic #7 (Lexan and other clear polycarbonate water bottles) might leach toxic bisphenol A (BPA). Environmental sites claim this can cause cancer and even obesity. Where can I find BPA-free water bottles?

Answer: How to Look for BPA-Free Sports Water Bottles

As of 2016, it's harder to find new sports water bottles that might contain BPA than finding BPA-free ones.

To be sure, check the recycle code on them. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA. If you have any old plastic water bottles that have been sitting around for years, they may contain BPA. Check them or replace them if you are concerned.

Does Bisphenol A Leach from Bottles?

The bulk of the research shows that Plastic #7 (Lexan, Nalgene and other polycarbonate) bottles do not leach BPA in amounts proven to cause health concerns in humans. But water bottle manufacturers swiftly responded to concerns by 2010. Many changed their plastic recipe to eliminate BPA, and happily labeling "BPA-Free" the polyethylene plastic and aluminum bottles that never had the chemical. The FDA amended its rules in 2012 to no longer allow BPA in baby bottles or sippy cups.

Studies subjected plastic BPA-containing bottles to brutal conditions to see whether they would actually leach BPA.

The bulk of the research found zero to minimal leaching, far below safety standards. But many people prefer to avoid it altogether. The market responded fast to satisfy those customers, even if their fears ultimately are unfounded.

Should People Who Use a Water Bottle Regularly Worry about BPA Leaching?

Researcher Scott M.

Belcher, PhD of the University of Cincinnati Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics published research on BPA leaching. Here is his answer: "I am a runner/cyclist and understand the concern - the typical bike bottles and softer-plastics are not typically made with BPA. So if there is a concern about BPA's safety or impact, those bottles are not a major contributor. The hard plastic or epoxy-lined bottles are the ones to be aware of, and if there is a concern, avoided."

"As far as worrying - BPA can act as an endocrine disruptor. The direct negative impact on humans is very hotly contested. This is an on-going discussion between scientists, regulators, consumers, corporations, and advocates. There is evidence from animal models that raise concern. Increasing links in human epidemiological studies are showing that higher levels of excreted BPA are associated with some human disorders. There is also evidence that when consumption of BPA in beverages is avoided by not using BPA containing bottles, a drop in BPA in the body occurs.

So if you are concerned about the possible negative health effects of BPA, then it would be prudent to consider whether or not your water bottle contains BPA."

Are BPA-Free Water Bottles Really BPA-Free?

Yes. Many water bottles were never made with polycarbonate. Companies such as Nalgene have reformulated their plastic without BPA. Look for prominent labeling of BPA-Free on water bottles as a marketing tool. Testing published by Dr. Belcher found that the new Tritan copolyester plastic bottles and SIGG aluminum bottles lined with EcoCare coployester did not leach any detectable BPA. "For those two cases - it looks like there is meaning in the BPA-free label. Co-polyesters should not have BPA and if you are targeting products made with those materials, it seems to standup to our ability to detect contaminating BPA," said Belcher.

Reusable Water Bottles are Better for the Environment

Disposable bottled water bottles and other drink containers are a poor use of the earth's resources, even if recycled. Using a sturdy, refillable water bottle is a great way for walkers to be thrifty and be kind to the earth.
Ways Walkers Can Be Kind to the Planet


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Onn Wong K, Woon Leo L, Leng Seah H. Dietary exposure assessment of infants to bisphenol A from the use of polycarbonate baby milk bottles. Food Addit Contam. 2005 Mar;22(3):280-8.

James E. Cooper, Eric L. Kendig, Scott M. Belcher. "Assessment of bisphenol A released from reusable plastic, aluminium and stainless steel water bottles." Chemosphere, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 8 July 2011

Bisphenol A (BPA). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. January 21, 2015. Accessed 1/17/16.

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