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OT: is nalgene a killer? Probably Not

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  • Risk
    ... Subject seems a bit off topic to our hammock discussions, and the post is not a balanced view of the topic. It has been making the round of lists. For a
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 27, 2004
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      --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "jjoven_49" <hoz49@h...> wrote:
      > found on a backpacking site:
      Subject seems a bit off topic to our hammock discussions, and the post
      is not a balanced view of the topic. It has been making the round of

      For a review of the Sierra Club article that brought the whole topic
      up, see:


      My personal opinion is that this is a bunch of hubbub 'bout nothing.

      BTW, If anyone wants to get rid of their Lexan bottles, I would be
      glad to have you mail them to me.

      If we want to discuss this further, I think the Kampfire group is a
      better place to go with this.

    • firefly
      I don t remotely care. Something is going to get each of us, eventually. No offense to this poster, and I have no problem with people posting stuff like this
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 27, 2004
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        I don't remotely care. Something is going to get each of us, eventually. No
        offense to this poster, and I have no problem with people posting stuff like
        this to the list, but I just want to state that I think it is a bunch of
        over blown BS, and even if it's not, I don't care.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: jjoven_49 [mailto:hoz49@...]
        Sent: Friday, February 27, 2004 7:20 AM
        To: hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Hammock Camping] is nalgene a killer?

        found on a backpacking site:


        By Brenna Doheny, Daily Barometer (OR), Feb. 18, 2004

        Studies show that the popular Nalgene water bottles may pose serious
        health risks, breaking down and contaminating their contents. The
        bottles are made of Lexan polycarbonate resin, the same material used
        bulletproof windows, compact discs and DVDs. From outdoor enthusiasts,
        to athletes, to students at OSU, the hydration method of choice is a
        colorful Nalgene water bottle.

        While these durable, lightweight and undeniably trendy bottles seem
        like the perfect choice for the health-conscious consumer, scientific
        evidence indicates that the very plastic which makes the bottles so
        ideal may pose serious health hazards.

        The durability and beauty of the Nalgene bottle comes from the
        it is made of, Lexan polycarbonate resin. This plastic polymer was
        developed by General Electric Plastics in 1953, when, according to
        Web site, (www.gelexan.com) Dr. Daniel W. Fox was developing a polymer
        for wire insulation material.

        Fox accidentally created a polymer that was unbreakable when it
        hardened in a beaker, and patented this revolutionary material. Lexan
        has been used over the years in a vast array of products, including
        space helmet visors, bulletproof windows, compact discs and DVDs,
        phones, computers, baby bottles and, of course, water bottles.

        The Lexan bottles are marketed by a division of the Nalgene company
        known as Nalgene Outdoor Products. Nalgene was founded in 1949, and
        company soon cornered the market on plastic laboratory equipment. The
        outdoor products division was created in the 1970's after the
        underground use of Nalgene products by outdoor enthusiasts was made

        Lexan was an ideal material for the water bottles both for its
        durability and because the material neither holds odors or flavors nor
        imparts any taste to fluids stored in it.

        Nalgene has marketed its original gray Lexan water bottles for many
        years, but sales increased dramatically in 2002 when a color
        made possible by GE's VISUALfx Lexan finishes was launched.

        The April 2003 volume of "Current Biology" published a study that cast
        suspicion on all polycarbonate plastics, including Lexan.

        The principle author, Dr. Patricia Hunt of Case Western Reserve
        University in Cleveland, Ohio, has spent many years researching
        developmental abnormalities leading to miscarriage and birth defects

        In 1998, her lab documented a sudden, inexplicable increase in a
        known as aneuploidy, which is an abnormal loss or gain of chromosomes.
        In humans, aneuploidy usually leads to miscarriage, or to disorders
        Down Syndrome, which occurs when an embryo ends up with three copies
        chromosome 21, instead of the normal two copies.

        In Hunt's lab, the spontaneous increase in mouse aneuploidy was
        eventually traced to a lab worker using a harsh detergent to clean the
        polycarbonate mice cages and water bottles.

        The detergent caused the plastic to leach one of its constituent
        chemicals, bisphenol A (BPA), which has been shown in other studies to
        mimic the female hormone estrogen. The researchers duplicated the
        detergent accident, with the same end results.

        They then conducted another experiment in which female mice were given
        a daily dose of pure BPA, again with the same end result, and they
        concluded that low doses of BPA had significant effects.

        The polycarbonate industry has criticized the Hunt study, saying that
        data from experiments on mice may not be transferable to humans. The
        industry has also conducted its own studies with rats, modeled on the
        Hunt study, which did not find the same results.

        In a November/December 2003 article for Sierra Magazine, Hunt
        that the industry studies did not look at the effects of BPA on eggs

        "The [plastics] industry says this is just rodent studies," she said,
        "but we know that the human egg is more fragile than the mouse egg. If
        we wait for really hard evidence in humans, it will be too late."

        A University of Missouri study in the July 2003 issue of Environmental
        Health Perspectives further confirmed the Hunt study's conclusions.

        In addition to determining that used, or discolored, polycarbonate
        plastics leach high amounts of BPA at room temperature, this study
        that detectable levels of BPA leach from brand-new polycarbonate
        plastics at room temperature.

        In other studies, BPA has been implicated in more than just
        disorders, and it is just one of many chemicals known to be
        environmental endocrine disruptors - synthetic chemicals that
        with hormonal messages that are central to important body processes
        growth and development.

        According to the Web site for the 1996 book "Our Stolen Future," which
        introduced the field of endocrine disruption to the public, BPA at
        levels "far beneath the levels currently deemed safe by regulatory
        authorities" has been shown to have adverse effects on prostate
        development and tumors, breast tissue development, and sperm count.

        A 2002 study even linked low levels of BPA to the creation and
        enlargement of fat cells in the body, suggesting that exposure to BPA
        may be a cause of obesity.

        The Nalgene Outdoor Products web site now features a response to
        concerns about BPA leaching, stating with confidence that their
        is safe. "Polycarbonate like that used in Nalgene bottles has been
        studied, tested and safely used for more than 40 years in products for
        human consumption," the site states.

        Scientists studying endocrine disruption, however, suggest limiting
        potential exposure to BPA as much as possible. In a presentation last
        month in Eugene sponsored by the Oregon Environmental Council, "Our
        Stolen Future" co-author Dr. John P. Meyers addressed the issue.

        "I personally recommend avoiding polycarbonate plastics - don't let
        them come into contact with your food or water," Meyers said. "I think
        the science is strong enough to justify precautionary measures today."

        He added that despite industry assurances to the safety of
        polycarbonate, baby bottles made from the material have "quietly
        disappeared from the market."

        Many studies have shown that the effects of endocrine disrupting
        chemicals are most devastating during early development, so babies are
        highly at risk.

        Polycarbonate plastics are still used in a variety of products,
        including plastic resins lining some food storage cans, dental
        and the Nalgene Lexan bottles.

        Polycarbonate products can be identified by the symbol "#7 PC" on
        recycling logos.

        According to the Sierra Magazine article, plastics that are safer to
        use for storing food and beverages include polypropylene,
        designated "#5
        PP," high-density polyethylene, designated "#2 HDPE" and low- density
        polyethylene designated "#4 LDPE," none of which are known to leach
        harmful substances.

        Nalgene makes a HDPE bottle identical in size and shape to the more
        popular Lexan model.

        Single-use water bottles (the type bottled water is sold in) made from
        polyethylene terephthalate, "#1 PET" or "PETE" are not recommended for
        repeat use, as a study found they may leach a carcinogenic substance
        known as DEHA.

        The Sierra Magazine article suggests other hydration options,
        using only very mild detergents and warm water to wash polycarbonate
        bottles, and discarding them as soon as they show signs of
        or avoiding plastics altogether in favor of glass or lightweight
        stainless steel containers.

        For more information, visit http://www.ourstolenfuture.org and the
        Nalgene Outdoor Products and http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com

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