RE: [Hammock Camping] is nalgene a killer?
- 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.
From: jjoven_49 [mailto:hoz49@...]
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2004 7:20 AM
Subject: [Hammock Camping] is nalgene a killer?
found on a backpacking site:
STUDIES SHOW THAT THE POPULAR WATER BOTTLE
MAY POSE SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS
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
According to the Sierra Magazine article, plastics that are safer to
use for storing food and beverages include polypropylene,
PP," high-density polyethylene, designated "#2 HDPE" and low- density
polyethylene designated "#4 LDPE," none of which are known to leach
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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