Although the colorful, durable and lightweight Nalgene water bottles have been the hydration choice of outdoor enthusiasts, scientific evidence has shown the plastic used to make the bottle may pose serious health hazards.
Made from Lexan polycarbonate resin and marketed through Nalgene Outdoor Products, Lexan was envisioned to be the ideal material for water bottles due to its durability and the way the material of the bottle didn’t hold any odors or flavors to distort the taste of the liquid being stored in the bottle.
A study that involved researching birth defects and developmental abnormalities that caused miscarriages in mice raised the suspicions on all polycarbonate plastics.
The study revealed a sudden increase in aneuploidy, a defect consisting of abnormal loss or gain of chromosomes, which in humans could possibly lead to miscarriages or disorders such as Down Syndrome.
The spontaneous jump in mouse aneuploidy was traced back to a lab worker, who used a strong detergent to clean the mice cages and water bottles. The effects of the detergent resulted in the plastic attaching itself to bisphenol, a chemical that mimics the female hormone estrogen.
Research has shown that low BPA levels have had an adverse effect on prostate development, tumors, breast tissue development, sperm count and enlargement of fat cells in the body.
Scientists have warned against allowing any polycarbonate plastics near your food or water and stated the devastating effects of these chemicals posed the biggest risk to babies during early development.
Despite the warnings, polycarbonate plastics continue to be used in a wide variety of products including food storage cans, dental sealants and the Nalgene Lexan bottles.
Well, they fooled me. Even though I knew plastics could leach BPA from the study I posted last year the research did not yet indicate that Lexan leached this chemical. Now, there is enough of a concern that I am throwing away my Nalgene Lexan bottles.
The only time I used them is when I traveled though, as glass is far too fragile to travel with on planes. Nalgene does make a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle that is identical in size and shape to the more popular Lexan model and that is the one I will be getting.
Plastics that are safer to use for storing food and beverages, none of which are known to leach harmful substances include:
- Polypropylene, designated "#5 PP"
- High-density polyethylene, designated "#2HDPE"
- Low-density polyethylene, designated "#4 LDPE"
So pay attention to the container you store your water in. If you can’t use glass, only use one of the above "safe" plastic jars. Also, don’t forget to apply this information when using baby bottles and other food containers.