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BPA Release from Nalgenes: 15-55x greater w/ hot liquids
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By Avery N
From Boulder, CO
Mar 2, 2008
Canadian Rockies Ice 2008.

This thread is a follow-on to the Nalgene Bottles? thread.

University of Cincinnati researchers recently (Jan 30, 2008) released a new study, regarding release of BPA from PolyCarbonate (e.g. Nalgene) water bottles, following exposure to boiling water. They used both new and old water bottles (interestingly enough, taken from climbers). The results were that the release rate of BPA was 15-55 times greater, upon and following (?) exposure to boiling water. Age of the water bottle (0-10 years) did not matter; however, temperature of the liquid did.

What is not clear from the ScienceDaily blurb or the Article's abstract is if the water bottle continues to release at this rate, following exposure to hot water, or if it is only during exposure to hot water. I am still awaiting a copy of the full article to find out.

Since climbers are probably the most likely to be putting boiling liquid into their Nalgenes, it's probably a good idea to let your climbing buddies know.

For those unaware, BPA is an endocrine distruptor, and has recently been in the spotlight for questionable safety/levels. BPA is contained in both polycarbonate bottles and in the lining of cans that hold food. The fact that it releases at a rate of 15-55x with hot liquids is thus more of a concern to winter climbers and mountaineers. The European union has set a migration limit of 30 ppb for BPA, which has recently been called into question. Likewise, a 2004 Japanese study linked BPA to ovarian disease in women.

The Science Daily synopsis news article can be found online, here.

The actual research journal article and abstract may found on ScienceDirect, at www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TCR-4R5F>>> , though you will need access to download the full article.

Here is the abstract from:

Belcher SM, et al. Bisphenol A is released from polycarbonate drinking bottles and mimics the neurotoxic actions of estrogen in developing cerebellar neurons. Toxicology Letters 2008; 176(2): 149-1563

Abstract
The impact of endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) exposure on human health is receiving increasingly focused attention. The prototypical EDC bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogenic high-production chemical used primarily as a monomer for the production of polycarbonate and epoxy resins. It is now well established that there is ubiquitous human exposure to BPA. In the general population, exposure to BPA occurs mainly by consumption of contaminated foods and beverages that have contacted epoxy resins or polycarbonate plastics. To test the hypothesis that bioactive BPA was released from polycarbonate bottles used for consumption of water and other beverages, we evaluated whether BPA migrated into water stored in new or used high-quality polycarbonate bottles used by consumers. Using a sensitive and quantitative competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, BPA was found to migrate from polycarbonate water bottles at rates ranging from 0.20 ng/h to 0.79 ng/h. At room temperature the migration of BPA was independent of whether or not the bottle had been previously used. Exposure to boiling water (100 degC) increased the rate of BPA migration by up to 55-fold. The estrogenic bioactivity of the BPA-like immunoreactivity released into the water samples was confirmed using an in vitro assay of rapid estrogen signaling and neurotoxicity in developing cerebellar neurons. The amounts of BPA found to migrate from polycarbonate drinking bottles should be considered as a contributing source to the total 'EDC-burden' to which some individuals are exposed.


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By C Miller
Administrator
Mar 2, 2008
High Desert Sunrise, Joshua Tree NP

This article is relevant and may be of some interest.


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By nick moeckel
Mar 2, 2008

They added 100 mL of boiling water and let it cool in the bottle for 24 hours, which is where they found an increase in the BPA leaching rate of 15-55 fold. Then they used the same bottles and added 100 mL of room temperature water and found:

"An elevated rate of BPA liberation was detectable following subsequent incubation with room temperature water suggesting that the effects of heating on BPA migration were not limited to acute effects of heated water, but that there were longer term effects upon migration rate."

As an example, one of the new bottles they tested had the following rates in ng/hour:
room temp water for 7 days: 0.79
boiling water for 24 hours: 16.0
room temp water for 24 hours, after the boiling water: 9.6


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By Braxtron
From ...
Mar 2, 2008
Nearing the end of Escuelar de calor, a great route!

Slightly off-topic, but rather than use boiling water to clean my bottles (metal or plastic), I use a couple tablespoons of ascorbic acid (AKA Vitamin C), dissolved in water. Shake it up, let it sit for a couple hours, rinse, and you're done.


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By Avery N
From Boulder, CO
Mar 2, 2008
Canadian Rockies Ice 2008.

Mike McHugh wrote:
I've spent my entire adolescent/adult life being told to fear goddamn near everything. I just want to know where to place this in the hierarchy of shit I have to worry about every day.


Mike -- that blog was a good laugh.

You aren't kidding. The point of my post was mainly that putting hot or boiling water in your nalgene isn't a good idea (and from what Nick indicated, that may permanently change the bottle's likelihood to release BPA at any temperature).

I read a recent literature review of the topic, and basically, BPA isn't something you want high quantities of in your system. The jury is still out as to what exposure is critical, but it seems to be lower than the current 'Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level'. There was a recent Japanese study which claims to have linked BPA levels in human blood to ovarian disease -- but I haven't read the article.

So, again, the point of the post was to recommend: don't put hot/boiling liquids in your Nalgene, because it definitely increases your exposure (and don't drink water that's been sitting in a Nalgene for long periods of time).

That being said, I'm going to turn around and do it for one last week on an ice climbing trip, before I come up with a Plan B.

Signed,
Hot-Nalgene Addict

Edit: You can find an find some plain english reference at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Mar 3, 2008
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Scrubbing with harsh abrasives or detergents has the same effect- mice in a lab study were unable to become pregnant when simply drinking all fluids form the bottles- that's how it was discovered in the first place. I read that in an article from the 'Journal of Science' ~4 years ago.

I guess I'll stick to my gatoraid bottles, which are:
A) Cheaper
B) Come with a free serving of gatoraid in them on 1st use.


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By Avery N
From Boulder, CO
Mar 3, 2008
Canadian Rockies Ice 2008.

Mike McHugh wrote:
Avery - I checked out the wiki entry, and found this: "Reversal of normal sex difference in brain structure" Does this mean I'll shop in a different aisle at Fascinations? (Not that there's anything wrong with that)


Come on Mike, just fess up that you already shop both aisles. I don't think this is going to be good 'nuff cover for that.


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By Avery N
From Boulder, CO
Mar 3, 2008
Canadian Rockies Ice 2008.

Mike McHugh wrote:
According to the wiki chart, #2 plastics "are believed to not leach chemicals in any significant amount". Which means my old-school white Nalgenes are acceptable, I guess.


Good point, Mike! Maybe I'll take those to Canada.

Now, Sigg bottles do have some sort of lining... not sure if it contains the same chemical.


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By winston
From Boulder, CO
Mar 3, 2008
napping with the dog, the best damn dog on earth.

To all: Is there any idea what the effect of dishwashing Nalgenes produces? I'm wondering because the temperatures have to be approaching that of boiling water inside the dishwasher. Also detergents (Cascade etc) couldn't be good when coming into contact with hot #7 plastics.


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By Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Mar 3, 2008
Future Goal

Avery Nelson wrote:
Now, Sigg bottles do have some sort of lining... not sure if it contains the same chemical.


Avery, it's a secret!

From Sigg's website:
"Extruded from a single piece of aluminum and coated with a patented secret formula liner, this water bottle will not leach anything harmful into your beverage. It will not give your beverage any plastic taste or overtone."

Secret formulas are scary. I wonder if the secret formula liner protects you from the aluminum causing Alzheimers? Maybe the secret formula liner causes Alzheimers but we just don't know it yet.

Personally, if I'm going to respond to the PBA scare then I'll go for the stainless steel Klean Kanteen made here in the States. Nothing against the Swiss, I love Switzerland (and Sigg is a member of 1% for the planet), but why not support a US business?


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By JT Lehman
From Golden, CO
Mar 3, 2008
Machu Picchu

Klean Kanteens are made in China, I do like the SS bottles more but they are not made here, unfortunately.


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By Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Mar 3, 2008
Future Goal

JayT wrote:
Klean Kanteens are made in China...

Damnit!

Here's their justification:

Why is the Kanteen made in China?
The Klean Kanteen is made “responsibly” in China because one of our founding principles was to produce an economically priced high quality stainless steel bottle as an alternative to plastic and lined metal containers therefore promoting healthy living with respect for the environment.

Our preference from the outset has been to produce our bottles closer to home but extensive research in the manufacturing sector left us resolute that our bottles can not be made closer to home at a reasonable price without sacrificing quality and safety, something we are steadfast against.


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By Daniel Harper
From Menifee, CA
Mar 3, 2008

Pick up one of the new Camelbak BPA free bottles (www.camelbak.com/index.cfm) and be done with it. I happened to be in a shop the day they came out and just a week or so after I heard about the polycarbonate ban at MEC. It's just like lexan but made from a nylon/non BPA material. Anywho, I love it just as much if not more then my old nalgene bottles. That is until the new nylon material proves to cause some other freakish mutation..


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By Steve McCorkel
Mar 4, 2008

At first I heard any plastic that is flexible was potentially harmful; now the Nalgeens. What about the #2 plastic? And, what about the #3 plastic (I just bought one)? Thanks


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By Braxtron
From ...
Mar 4, 2008
Nearing the end of Escuelar de calor, a great route!

This page has excellent information

As does this one

Study with regard to baby bottles & BPA: "...the hypothesis of polymer degradation in water is dubious.''

Hot water does increase BPA levels, but it's a transient effect. If you were to subsequently rinse the bottle thoroughly with cold water, it'll be back to normal (0.79 nanograms) and probably harmless.

0.79 billionths of a gram (nanogram) is a ridiculous low amount (detectable BPA in a bottle left at room-temperature for a week as referred to above). Animal studies show that only about 15% of ingested BPA ever makes it into the blood, and that's spread out over 24 h. The doses of BPA in animal studies are way higher than the 0.79 nanograms mentioned above, like 500,000 times higher than that (395 micrograms) to get enough BPA into the blood to cause harmful effects*. Everything is dangerous, in high enough quantities. People have died from drinking too much water. In my opinion, there are more important things to worry about the minute amount of BPA in my Nalgene bottle, like why aliens only abduct people living in trailer parks. Why don't they visit me? I'm a nice guy.

  • EDITED 3/4/07 as I made an incorrect statement: Originally: "The doses of BPA in animal studies are way higher than the 0.79 nanograms mentioned above, like 500,000 times higher than that (395 micrograms) to get enough BPA into the blood to surpass the maximum safe level for humans."


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By Joseph Stover
From Batesville, AR
Mar 4, 2008

Doesn't almost any material lose particles over time? So if you use plastic(or material X) for consumption, you're consuming plastic(or material X) as well, period.


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By Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2008
Future Goal

John Langston wrote:
So yesterday I was cleaning up some camping gear and I came across my old Nalgene brand lexan coffee mug. I got it in 2001 and it's got old grounds, dried up chocolate, tea, general grime, and a broken handle. After reading this thread, I decided not to try (unsuccessfully) to scrub it down once more and get another season. Its time has passed. Goodbye old friend.


John, you've got it all wrong. All that grime is a protective coating against BPAs leaching into the cup's contents.


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By Steve McCorkel
Mar 4, 2008

I think I may have found some sort of answer to my question (above). I just bought a #3 container thinking I was being smart by avoiding the obvious Lexan, #1 and #2 plastics.

#3, I found out, is PVC; the worst. Much of the pipe, caring water supplied to water services - which then turn to copper - is PVC.

I believe Nagene still makes the softer plastic bottles (#2, I think). According to the link bellow, they are better than the polycarbonate bottles.

I may return to reusing the Gatorade bottles.

www.grist.org/advice/ask/2004/08/02/umbra-bottles/


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By James Beissel
From Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2008
Ghostride da whip!

Obviously, the only solution is to stop drinking water.


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By nick moeckel
Mar 4, 2008

I don't feel very passionately one way or the other about this, but I'd use caution regarding the site Braxton linked to. Trusting chemical companies to tell me how safe their controversial product is seems sketchy*. Make your own mind up, though. I agree that there are bigger issues to worry about, but it's been pretty easy to start phasing these things out of my life.


  • This study:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16256977?dopt=Abstract
mentions that "Not one [of 11] industry-funded in vivo study has led to the conclusion that observable effects occur in response to low doses of BPA, while over 90% of the 109 government-funded in vivo studies conclude that such effects do, in fact, occur."


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By Avery N
From Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2008
Canadian Rockies Ice 2008.

Braxton Norwood wrote:
Hot water does increase BPA levels, but it's a transient effect. If you were to subsequently rinse the bottle thoroughly with cold water, it'll be back to normal


Braxton, wherever you read that -- it conflicts with the recent study that I listed above, which was conducted with actual waterbottles. Note that interestingly enough, none of the industry studies found any issues. See below for a comparison of industry versus non-industry studies.

Here is an excerpt from the published study:
"An elevated rate of BPA liberation was detectable following subsequent incubation with room temperature water suggesting that the effects of heating on BPA migration were not limited to acute effects of heated water, but that there were longer term effects upon migration rate."

Also, your first links point to a page that is setup by the American Chemistry Council -- seems like a vested interest group to me, but I don't know much about them.

Also, I think your numbers are off.

The CDC actual #'s for folks in the US are 0.4 ppb (10%ile) to 8 ppb (95%ile). The European union adjusted it's 'limit' to 30ppb recently (US is 50ppb). The following review indicates many studies showing adverse results in the 1-10ppb range... just an FYI.

From (a very good literature review):
vom Saal, Frederick S., and Claude Hughes. "An extensive new literature concerning low-dose effects of bisphenol A shows the need for a new risk assessment. " Environmental Health Perspectives. 113.8 (August 2005): 926(8).

 
Table 1. Biased outcome due to source of funding in low-dose in vivo
BPA research as of December 2004.

All studies CD-SD rat studies

Source of funding Harm No harm Harm No harm

Government 94 (90.4) 10 (9.6) 0 (0%) 6 (100)
Chemical corporations 0 (0) 11 (100) 0 (0%) 3 (100)

All studies except
CD-SD rats

Source of funding Harm No harm

Government 94 (96) 4 (4)
Chemical corporations 0 (0) 8 (100)

Values shown are no. (%).


No, BPA probably isn't going to kill you in itself... but it doesn't hurt to limit your exposure and avoid multiplying your exposure, eh?

Edit: Nick -- didn't see your post until mine was up, but it seems you found the same info. I think your personal approach is smart.


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By Braxtron
From ...
Mar 4, 2008
Nearing the end of Escuelar de calor, a great route!

Like Nick, I don't feel passionate about either side of this issue, either. In fact, I dislike big corporations as much as I do anti-corporation science. Either side pushing their own personal agenda via science is BS.

Avery Nelson wrote:
Braxton, wherever you read that -- it conflicts with the recent study that I listed above, which was conducted with actual waterbottles.


The study I referred to was also done in actual bottles, though they weren't 1 liter Nalgenes (this particular study used baby bottles). I'm going to do more research on this BPA issue and will post some sort of unbiased summary when I get a chance.

  • I edited my previous post since I was completely wrong. I wish there were some way to see before and after editing versions of posts...


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By Braxtron
From ...
Mar 10, 2008
Nearing the end of Escuelar de calor, a great route!

I got this reply today, regarding BPA release from Nalgene bottles:

Hi Braxton,

We just had a reader write in asking about this very thing and we directed the question to Julian Saunders, the doctor who writes the column, "Ask Dr. J." Look for his answer in the next issue. And thanks for the query...

JJ

Jeff Jackson
Editor, Rock & Ice
jjackson@bigstonepub.com


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By Brian Adzima
From the Paris of Appalachia
Mar 29, 2008
somewhere in WV

Don't your standard PE nalgenes have pthalates in them? Whether you use aluminium, lexan, or polethylene there seems to be some poorly quantified boogieman out to get you. Pick you poison.


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By Braxtron
From ...
Apr 18, 2008
Nearing the end of Escuelar de calor, a great route!

www.nytimes.com/2008/04/16/business/worldbusiness/16plastic.>>>
I say stick with stainless steel or aluminum.


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By Richard Radcliffe
From Louisville, CO
Apr 18, 2008

Here's one to torque your brain a little bit: Wal-Mart has decided to ban all BPA-containing products from their shelves.

www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2008/04/bpa.html


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