The Nalgene Bottle Sitch
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Thread: The Nalgene Bottle Sitch

  1. #1
    Registered User Exalted Member Fireand'chutes77's Avatar
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    The Nalgene Bottle Sitch

    Jerridian, and others, what's your take on the recent uproar about BPA contained in Nalgene bottles and a flurry of recalls?

    Personally, I think people are hyperventilating about it. From what I've seen, the studies are still small-scale and their results are a bit hazy. I've yet to see anywhere the straight dope on the risks and the probable threat level posed to a healthy adult. So far, IIRC, they've just done studies on rodents and small mammals. From what I've heard, a rat's absorbtion of the chemical is much more direct than through our system; with humans, the chemical is flushed out through urination within about 6 hours. And they've been using this stuff for several years now, and nobody's dropped over dead. What's the hubbub now? The Blue Ridge Mountain Sports store near my house has yanked all its Nalgenes off the shelves, and Canada has banned them, which seems something of a gross overreaction.

    I know there's supposed to be some issue with chemical leaching when you freeze water in the bottle or pour boiling water into it ("up to 55x" say some news articles), but they never establish a baseline or the chance of health effects. I'd think you'd have to be chugging many liters out of a Nalgene, and filling it with boiling water just as frequently, to have some noticable effect. Does this leaching effect start the first time you put boiling water in the Nalgene and never stop, or does it only elevate when the water is boiling-hot, contaminating that one batch but leaving subsequent ones unharmed?

    As for me, I use a translucent blue Nalgene 1-liter on backpacking trips, and I don't intend to stop until there's conclusive evidence it's a health threat to people over the age of 2. I only use it two or three times every two months or so, on camping/backpacking trips, since it's too big to be practical in "civvie" life - it won't fit in cup holders, cram nicely into school backpacks, or fit in bike sports-bottle holsters. During the winter, I like to pour boiling water into the bottle, seal it up, and use it as a hot-water-bottle in my sleeping bag. (Keeps me quite tosty. ) In the morning, when I first get up and I'm thirsty, and I don't want to go out into the cold to get some fresh water, I'll take a few sips of the now-lukewarm water. Usually, because it's lukewarm, I'll pour it out after about drinking half a liter and get some fresh water. Does this mean I'm "taking five years off my life with every sip!!" :P

    Anyway, I'm not about to put away a useful, nigh-unbreakable camping accessory until the news media stops going into screeching hysterics and gives me some solid information.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Exalted Member lunchmeat's Avatar
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    I'd have to see the study to really say. Media reports rarely have enough information to make an informed decision.

    Nalgene has been used as laboratory equipment since back inthe 50s, I'd think that if there were major problems they would have turned up by now in the form of contaminants in laboratory processes.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Senior Member Ran Hakubi's Avatar
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    This sounds like it's a little bit of history repeating itself. There have been scares like this for awhile now. Example from the 60's: Artificial sweeteners will mess you up. WRONG.

    I say keep on keeping on. Why fix something that isn't broke?
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    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    Jerridian, and others, what's your take on the recent uproar about BPA contained in Nalgene bottles and a flurry of recalls?
    From what I have seen, the initial reports on the dangers of BPA are overblown, and the research only suggests, and does not confirm, any such danger. I think it's a mole hill masquerading as a mountain (with all apologies to Rufus....)
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  5. #5
    I think the media has slightly overblown the BPA risk, if I judge by the papers I've seen (and by no means have I read a lot).

    On the other hand, who knows what evidence for BPA toxicity will come out in the future. Canada has recently banned the use of BPA in products for babies and younger children. Before that, several companies had voluntarily removed BPA products off their shelves.

    Of course, just because some governments/companies have stopped using BPA products doesn't necessarily mean BPA is toxic -- they could just be being careful and covering the bases. But then again, I don't see any harm in being cautious in regards to BPA.

    Having said that, I should say that I don't own any useful BPA-containing and/or Nalgene stuff, so avoiding BPA is easily done in my case. :P

    UPDATE: I don't *think* I own BPA-containing plastic ware, but I haven't checked my Tupperware.
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