ROCHESTER, N.Y. (BRAIN)—Nalgene announced this week that it would end production of its popular line of water bottles made with the chemical bisphenol-A amid growing consumer concern over the safety of the chemical.
Nalgene’s announcement came hours before REI said it would remove all water bottles made with BPA off its shelves and from its inventory.
“We have always been focused on responding to the needs and concerns of our customers,” said Steven Silverman, general manager of the Nalgene business. “By eliminating containers containing BPA from our consumer product mix, our customers can have confidence that their needs are being met.”
BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical that is FDA approved, but some studies have shown it can leach when heated causing potentially harmful hormonal side effects.
Silverman said that based on scientific evidence, the company continues to believe that its products containing the super-durable BPA are safe, but is acting in response to customer concern.
Nalgene will replace its BPA bottles, including the 32-ounce wide mouth bottle that made Nalgene a household name, with bottles made from Tritan copolyester, which is impact-resistant and can withstand a variety of temperatures.
Though BPA has long been questioned, the debate picked up steam last November when Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op pulled all plastic products containing BPA from its shelves pending the outcome of a government review of the chemical.
Last week, the Forzani Group—the largest sporting goods retailer in Canada—pulled the bottles as well and two other large retailers, including Hudson’s Bay Co., Wal-Mart’s Canadian unit, followed suit.
The government study isn’t due until next month, but Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper has reported that the health ministry plans to classify BPA as a dangerous substance.
In light of the controversy, Nalgene competitors have been touting BPA-free products. Camelbak phased BPA out of its product portfolio last year and is marketing a new line called Better Bottles made without BPA.
Reusable water bottles made by both Polar Bottle and Specialized use LDPE plastic #4, which doesn’t contain BPA.
Specialized is a leader in water bottle production, capping and customizing 3.5 million squeeze bottles annually for bicycle and outdoor retailers and sporting organizations.
Due to increased customer concern over plastics, Specialized recently hired a third-party company to conduct test for the presence of 12 phthalates, another debated plastic, for peace of mind. The results were negative.