Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nalgene - Good or bad?

Worries about a hormone-mimicking chemical used in the trendy sports accessory led a major Canadian retailer to remove Nalgene and other polycarbonate plastic containers from store shelves in early December.

"It's definitely a concern but I'd like to learn more before I make any decisions about my water bottles," McHugh, 26, a business manager for a reggae band, said with an easy laugh. "For now, I'll probably keep using my Nalgene until it breaks. It's indestructible, I've heard!"

Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-op is waiting for Canadian health regulators to finish a preliminary review in May before it reconsiders restocking its 11 stores with the reusable, transparent bottles made with bisphenol A, or BPA, a compound created by a Russian chemist in 1891.

There is little dispute that the chemical can disrupt the hormonal system, but scientists differ markedly on whether very low doses found in food and beverage containers can be harmful. The US Food and Drug Administration sides with the plastics industry that BPA-based products do not pose a health risk.

I'd like to follow the money on this story. Who is funding the research to take down the Nalgene bottles? One avenue would be to look at who stands to gain? That is look at the major water suppliers - Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc. After the FastCompany article earlier this year debunking the water bottle industry as a waste, why not retaliate against the competition.

Read the full story in today's Boston Globe here.