SIGG Bottles Now BPA Free. But What Were They Before?

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Blue aluminum reusable water bottle on its side

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A year and a half ago we asked if Sigg aluminum bottles are BPA free, and our answer was inconclusive. SIGG bottles consistently tested with no detectable levels of Bisphenol A (BPA), but when we asked if their liner was made with BPA, CEO Steve Wasik told us that the liner chemistry was proprietary, and "as there are many copy-cat manufacturers in the market (most based in China) that would like to get their hands on this formula, our supplier has an agreement with SIGG to keep his formula confidential."

Now SIGG has gone public with an announcement that all of their bottles are completely BPA free, thanks to their new "EcoCare" powder-based, co-polyester coating.

Inside view comparing inner coatings of two bottles

But Steve Wasik now admits that bottles made previous to August, 2008 were lined with a water-based epoxy liner which contained trace amounts of BPA. Was I misled last year? When I wrote that it's time to pack in the polycarbonates, was suggesting people get a SIGG instead bad advice?

BPA in aluminum bottles comparison chart

One can only answer, yes and no. SIGG bottles did consistently test at "no detectable" levels for BPA, but what concentrations were the tests looking for? Scientists were suggesting that as an endocrine disruptor that mimics the female hormone estrogen, it could have an effect on people at a concentration of a few parts per trillion; the test results are in parts per billion.

Aluminum water bottle BPA comparison chart

CEO Wasik alludes to the changes in perception about BPA:

The primary reason that I am writing this letter today is because I believe that the BPA conversation has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. Last year, the primary concern was that of BPA leaching from bottles. Since that time the dialogue has evolved such that now some people are concerned about the mere presence of BPA and some states are considering legislation.

I was unhappy when I read this, essentially an acknowledgment that there was a presence of BPA; This morning I spoke with SIGG CEO Steve Wasik about it. Strictly speaking, he is correct; a year ago his bottles tested at no detectable levels of BPA; now we want to know that there is none, period, used in the manufacturing process.

When I complained that there was nothing special about yet another water based epoxy lining in his earlier bottles, he disagreed and replied:

-The lining really WAS proprietary, and that is why their epoxy lining tested at zero parts per billion and the Chinese knockoffs tested at 19 parts per billion.

-they intend to be completely transparent and "have developed this special section on our website that we will be updating regularly where you can find independent laboratory testing on SIGG and other bottle brands as well as an update on the BPA situation as it continues to develop. We want our current and potential customers to have the facts."

Wasik told me that he wants to

"make sure that people continue to appreciate the quality and have confidence in the brand."

So where does that leave us?

1. SIGG bottles made prior to August, 2008 still test at "no detectable levels" of BPA. However, if that is not good enough for you and you want to discuss replacement, Steve Wasik suggests that you contact the company directly. His email address is at the bottom of his letter here.

2. SIGG bottles made since August, 2008 have a new lining that does not contain any BPA and does not use BPA in its manufacturing processes.

3. SIGG is acknowledging that there is concern about BPA at trace levels, which is a lot more than just about any other company using epoxy liners is doing. As I have noted, most companies are still hiding behind the FDA standards, which almost everyone now agrees are ridiculous.

4. Notwithstanding Steve Wasik's openness and quick response, whenever I hear the word "proprietary" again I am going to run in the opposite direction. People are entitled to know what is in their stuff, what they are putting in their mouths. That is the new bottom line.