Bisphenol-A (BPA), a toxicant found in the translucent, polycarbonate plastic used in many bottles and may cause whole mess of physical problems, including infertility and testicular cancer. So we tested six BPA-free alternatives.
Your old Nalgene has survived four girlfriends, 19 summits, and 96 drops, but now, scientists warn, it may be killing you softly. The trouble is bisphenol-A (BPA), a toxicant that’s found in the translucent, polycarbonate plastic used in many bottles and that can leach into water. BPA may mess with the endocrine system and possibly lead to infertility and testicular cancer. Companies have been frantically replacing their products with BPA-free bottles, and so should you. Ditch any with the letters “PC” on the bottom, and grab one of the six safer alternatives we tested. by Tobin Hack
Camelbak Better Bottle with Classic Cap
Yes, it looks like BPA polycarbonate, what with its hard, clear plastic body, but flip the Better Bottle and you won’t see the telltale PC stamp. That’s because Camelbak now uses a copolyester replacement instead. The solid twist cap means you can toss it upside down in your bag and everything stays dry. For less than 10 bucks, it’s cost-effective, if basic. [$9; camelbak.com ]
This Swiss-made lightweight favorite is lined with…something. Sigg won’t reveal what’s in its “patented secret formula liner,” but says the mystery material shows zero percent leaching in lab tests, even when the liner is cut, dented, or subjected to acidic liquids. Good to know, since the thin aluminum skin is prone to divots when dropped or smacked against something hard. [$22; mysigg.com]
UPDATE: Sigg recently announced that the liner of all bottles made before August 2008 contained trace amounts of BPA, but maintains that in testing the BPA never leached. Every Sigg bottle made since August 2008 uses a newer, BPA-free liner.
Kleen Kanteen 27 Oz.
This stainless-steel bottle is simple and bulletproof — a beefier cousin of the Sigg (and heavier, too, by nearly three ounces). Our biggest gripe: The cap squeaks so loudly with every twist that you’ll wish WD-40 were edible. The lack of insulation makes the Klean Kanteen a bad choice for hot liquids, as well as condenstation-slicked when carrying really cold ones. [$20; kleankanteen.com ]
The stainless-steel Bilt earns top marks for presentation, and the interior is liner-free, so no BPA here. Don’t let that chemical smell inside alarm you: One wash and it goes away. We like that the rim is plastic (not the bad kind) and that its threading fits most attachable filters. Just like the Klean Kanteen, it doesn’t have any insulation, so don’t mistake it for your coffee cup. [$14; bilt.ca ]
Nalgene OTG Tritan
Made with the same durable copolyester as the Camelbak, this fancy flip-top bottle is great for one-handed hydration situations (car, gym, bike). Just don’t chuck it in a backpack for a day of skiing, because the cap opens with little effort. For those who prefer a more classic design, Nalgene has reissued a BPA-free bottle from the 80′s that’s opaque, with a widemouth screw-cap. [$12; nalgene-outdoor.com ]
Watergeeks 16 Oz. Filtered Sport Bottle
It looks like a regular sport bottle, but inside is a level-two filter that removes chlorine and heavy metals. Consider it a mobile Brita: You may notice that your tap water tastes better, but it won’t protect against bacteria floating in yonder creek, like giardia or cryptosporidium. Also, the filter slows the flow, making a guzzle-friendly stream impossible. [$18; thewatergeeks.com ]