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Home / Pop Culture / Food / Is Your Metal Water Bottle a Toxic Plastic Bottle In Disguise?

Is Your Metal Water Bottle a Toxic Plastic Bottle In Disguise?

water bottles  Is Your Metal Water Bottle a Toxic Plastic Bottle In Disguise? water bottlesPeople are more and more aware of the increasing number of toxic chemicals they are exposed to because of their choices as consumers. If you’re like many folks, you’ve traded in your plastic water bottle for a metal one to limit your family’s exposure to the estrogen-mimicking chemical, BPA. [6]  Researchers and the public already know the dangers of BPA, despite the refusal of the F.D.A. to acknowledge them. Legislation to control BPA in food containers, especially those made for infants and children, is making its way through lawmaking bodies, with varying degrees of success. With some luck, BPA will probably be outlawed in the next few years because of the emerging science linking it to hormone-sensitive cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer. [8]  Canada seems poised to ban it soon, and many baby bottle manufacturers in the USA have already turned to BPA-free bottles. [8]

striped-aluminum-water-bottle---32oz-3-1087-305401  Is Your Metal Water Bottle a Toxic Plastic Bottle In Disguise? striped aluminum water bottle 32oz 3 1087 305401When you first use these new trendy “hard bottles,” the first strange thing you’ll notice is that you can’t squeeze them. When we used to drink out of plastic bottles, we all got used to squeezing them to make the water come out, right? Glass and stainless steel obviously don’t squeeze, so you have to rely on gravity to drop the water into your mouth. [8] Glass is nice because you can always tell how much water you have remaining. But of course it has one major drawback: It shatters when you drop it. [8]  That’s why many people prefered those trendy aluminum bottles. Unfortunately, if you are putting up with the inconviniences of an aluminum “hard bottle” just to avoid BPA you may have wasted your time and money.  A major design problem was found with the cheap aluminum containers, and an even more insidious solution was employed. [1] The problem was that common aluminum drinking bottles normally react with acidic drinks (all popular soft drinks), to cause the drinks to become toxic with heavy metal compounds, while the containers themselves decay from the acids. Instead of switching to a non-toxic, more resilient metal like stainless steel; manufacturers secretly began lining aluminum drink cans with clear plastic, like clear coats that are used on automobiles. [1] A recent study shows that if you didn’t choose your new bottle carefully, you may not have solved the problem. [6]  As a matter of facts, the new water bottles may not be as safe as people assume. While some of them may not necessarily leach the hormone destroying bisphenol-A (BPA), a strong plastic taste can still be noticed in water stored in the new generation of bottles. [1]  But despite appearances, a lot of them do release BPA. The study, published in the online journal Chemosphere, found that some metal water bottles leach even more BPA than similar bottles made from plastic. [10] The issue is that some aluminum water bottles aren’t just aluminum – they’re lined with a resin meant to prevent that bad aluminum taste in your water. Problem is, the resin is epoxy, and epoxy is made with bisphenol A, or BPA. The epoxy molecule is unstable. It comes apart and releases BPA readily into whatever it touches. [5]  This is also valid for canned food and beers cans by the way. And just as with plastic bottles, the leaching is greater when the bottles are exposed to high temperatures.  [1]

ob1  Is Your Metal Water Bottle a Toxic Plastic Bottle In Disguise? ob1The researchers from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine tested polycarbonate and resin-lined aluminum bottles along with new BPA-free “Tritan” plastic bottles (by Nalgene), stainless steel bottles (by Sigg) and new “EcoCare” resin-lined aluminum bottles (by Sigg). After cleaning each bottle with BPA-free water, the team stored room-temperature water in three bottles of each type for five days. They also filled additional bottles with boiling water and allowed it to cool to room temperature over the next day.  The results? Levels of BPA were below the limit of detection for the new “BPA-Free” bottles from Sigg and Nalgene. [6] But the old polycarbonate bottles leached 0.17 to 0.3 nanograms of BPA per milliliter of water during the room temperature tests. By contrast, the aluminum bottles with an epoxy-resin liner leached substantially more, up to six times more BPA than the worst-leaching polycarbonate bottle. [6] And as expected, exposing the bottles to hot-water quadrupled BPA leaching.  [6]

Other sources says that these new “alternative” aluminum hard bottles that doesn’t contain BPA often contain chemically similar alternatives – like bisphenol S. One study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that plastic products advertised as BPA-free still leached chemicals with estrogenic activity – and some of these chemicals were even more potent than BPA. [7]  It would seem that the manufacturers are using extremely dirty marketing tactics to continue poisoning us. [1] Dr. Michels, at Harvard, who published a prominent study on BPA exposure , said she tries to avoid eating or drinking foods from cans and plastic bottles, and drinks carbonated water from glass bottles. She said labels that say “BPA free” do nothing to assuage her concerns. [7]  “It doesn’t have bisphenol A, but on the other hand I worry that the new chemical they put in there may also be a problem,” she said. “Exchanging one chemical for another doesn’t make me feel comfortable.” [8]

Bottom line is: the chemicals that leach out of plastics are always harmful to health. Oftentimes these chemicals go unnoticed because flavored drinks can mask the chemical taste. As a rule of thumb, plastics should be categorically avoided for food and beverage containers. [1] All plastics leach, but they leach different chemicals at varying levels. Therefore, some plastics may be safer than others, but none are completely safe. [1] The plastics used to make milk jugs are fairly safe, along with water stored in milk jug type containers. Clear plastics, like those used for soft drinks, are the worst. Most of the so-called safe metal water bottles are essentially plastic bottles in disguise. [1] While no mention of this is found on the labels, manufacturers have an incredible tendency to boast about the plastic linings on their websites:

“A baked on inner-lining which meets F.D.A. requirements, doesn’t impart odors or tastes.”

“Contains a strong, taste-neutral bpa-free plastic lining.”

This eco-friendly bottle has a special leach-proof lining.”


“BPA free” is not a defined and consistent term, noted the study’s author Scott Belcher in an interview with Science News. For “BPA free” to have a useful meaning for consumers there should be regulations to limit its use, one of the author of the study said.  [5] The big manufacturers completely disregard that the primary reason for the purchase of metal bottles is because people do not want plastic. [1] Manufacturers are charging consumers four times the amount that they would charge for a plastic bottle of the same size. They trick customers into buying plastic containers, when customers are specifically attempting to avoid them. [1] The scam is perpetrated by simply adding a thin aluminum outer layer over the plastic interior, which exists for deception only. [1] Sigg, a brand which is proudly made in Switzerland, is one of the companies that deceives consumers with this method. [1] In fact, Sigg boasts that they use a special “proprietary” lining, which means that they go to special efforts to hide which plastics they use. We paid special attention to this company, because it is the brand sold in Whole Food’s Market. It is a store that most people feel is safe for finding non-toxic merchandise, but unfortunately, this seems to be changing fast.  [1] If you want a reusable bottle that limits your family’s exposure to BPA, be sure to take a look inside the rim. Ideally, look for a bottle that is all metal — with no plastic liner inside. [6] If it is lined, choose a bottle with a white lining — as these probably will not leach BPA. If it has a golden-orange lining, take a pass — these were the worst offenders in the study. [5] [6] Scott M. Belcher, one the author of the study, advises that consumers interested in decreasing their BPA exposure should use labels on reusable bottles as a guide and find out the material used to make the product. “I feel that products constructed from stainless steel, Eastman’s Tritan (e.g. the plastic bottles manufactured by Nalgene) or copolyester linings can be considered not to be a source of BPA for the consumer,” he says.  [4] Mike Adam at Natural News says the same thing: “a stainless steel bottle (or a glass bottle) can really make a difference.” He suggest that you invest in a countertop water filter like the excellent ones made by Aquasana and you can bottle your own water for a few pennies per gallon. It’s not only cheaper than bottled water (by far!); it’s also more eco-conscious since you’re not tossing plastic into the trash every time you chug a few ounces of water. [8]

[1] Sarah C. Corriher, Your Metal Drinking Bottle Is Probably A Toxic Plastic Bottle In Disguise, Healthwyze,  03/09/2011
[3] Tomás Bosque, Battle of the Reusable Bottles: Plastic vs. Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel, Ban the Bottle, May 12, 2010
[4] Andrea Rock, Some aluminum water bottles still contain BPA, Consumer Reports, July 21, 2011 02:18 PM
[5] Margot Pagan, Think your Water Bottle is “BPA Free”? Better double check., Environmental Working Group, Thursday, July 14, 2011
[6] Jenn Savedge, Is your metal water bottle leaching BPA?, Mother Nature Network, Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 06:55 AM
[7] Anahad O’Connor, BPA in Cans and Plastic Bottles Linked to Quick Rise in Blood Pressure, New York Times, December 8, 2014 4:49 pm
[8] Mike Adams, Stainless steel water bottles: Are they better than plastic and glass?, Natural News, Thursday, September 16, 2010
[9] Molly Balint, Stainless Steel baby bottles: yay or nay?,  Baby Center, February 2, 2012, 5:55 pm
[10] James E. Cooper,Eric L. Kendig, Scott M. Belcher, Assessment of bisphenol A released from reusable plastic, aluminium and stainless steel water bottles, .2011.06.060, Chemosphere,Volume 85, Issue 6, October 2011, Pages 943–947


About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.
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