Sunday, August 23, 2009
I shouldn't be surprised. Really. How many times have I been let down by companies that have taken my money, and led me astray? First there was Nalgene, and all the toys with lead and PVC, body and home products with phthalates and dioxane.
Now Sigg has revealed that their water bottle liners made before 2008 have contained trace amounts of BPA as I discovered in this post on Eco-Child's Play). They did this revealing, of course, in a way that made them look like green heroes. It is pretty nauseating to read. The full story is one of half-truths, well crafted statements, and delaying the sharing of information. In fact, it reminds me much of the Bush presidency.
Sigg CEO, Steve Wasik, said in the confessional (bolds added my me):
"To be clear, all SIGG bottles made since August 2008 contain our new BPA free EcoCare liner. SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008 have the former water-based epoxy liner which contains trace amounts of BPA. These bottles have been thoroughly tested and showed 0% leaching of BPA. It is easy to determine which liner you have, as they are of 2 distinctly different colors. Visit www.MySIGG.com/liner to see photos comparing the two.
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 am proud to say that SIGG took action quickly back in 2006 to begin the development of a high performance bottle liner that is BPA free. In addition, we 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."
Sigg "took action" to develop a BPA free bottle liner, all while saying that their current liners were completely safe, non-BPA leeching, and environmentally responsible.
It's a bit like Bill Clinton's comment "I did not have sex with that woman," during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It's all about how you define sex. Sigg's CEO's multiple comments about the liner of their bottles being "safe, non-toxic, not made from plastic, non-BPA leeching", but containing BPA, smacks of the same logic.
For a detailed history of Sigg bottles, their liners and BPA (with lots of quotes and analysis from the intrepid Jeremiah at Zrecommends) visit this post. Attached to this post is all the carefully worded statements in Sigg documents about the liner. Jeremiah also astutely points out that Sigg was sitting on the knowledge that their products contain BPA for years, and carefully crafted their messages to hide that fact.
Alicia at the Soft Landing has been out in front of this problem with Sigg before any of us. She didn't like the answer they gave her about the liner they used. The Soft Landing sells baby gear that is BPA, PVC and Phthalate Free. Alicia describes what she did in this post:
"We were being told that the lining was “leach-free” and that they could not disclose their proprietary formula. When we insisted that they confirm whether the lining was BPA-free, they responded with the same tired rhetoric we were accustomed to hearing from companies like Fisher Price and Similac. We made the decision that day to stick with our policy of not carrying products made by companies who refuse to be transparent. We immediately stopped selling SIGG aluminum bottles based on our gut feeling that there was more to this story. We also stopped recommending them based on failure to confirm their products BPA-free status."
I wish I would have noticed that Sigg bottles were lacking from Alicia's line of safe sippies and waterbottles at the Soft Landing.
Many green parenting sites, including my own, have recommended Sigg water bottles as a safer alternative. And, they are, when compared to BPA containing plastic sippy cups and bottles. But how safe are they, if they contain any BPA? Sure, the tests indicate no BPA leeching, but I bought Sigg bottles to be absolutely safe and sure of this. After repeated dishwashing and years of use can I be sure? No way. I promoted a Sigg waterbottle partnership with Jane Goodall on this site and on Eco-Child's Play. I deleted that post immediately. I will also modify my past posts to take Sigg out of the recommendations. I really don't care that they have a snazzy new eco-liner that is guaranteed 100 percent BPA free. It's that like Nalgene, Melissa and Doug toys, Johnson and Johnson, and countless others, they've duped us.
So, here's a tired parents' summary:
*Sigg bottles made before 2008 (and many on the market right now), contain BPA.
*Determine if you have the new or old lining. See the link above for a photo comparison. No time? The old lining is brassy and shiny. The new one is white and chalky looking.
*If you have a bottle or bottles with the old lining (as I do) use this email email@example.com and ask for a replacement of the new BPA free type.
*Spread the word. This company has benefited greatly ($$$) from the BPA in plastics news. Parents in droves ditched the plastic sippies and bottles and bought Siggs. It's time to find a better, more honest and straightforward company and product. I have one Kleen Kanteen and think I might buy a few more of these. I will also be looking over the options at the Soft Landing.
What do you parents think of this? Do you feel angry and betrayed? What will you do? Please tell me here, including if you have success contacting the CEO of Sigg. What are your best pics for BPA free waterbottles and sippy cups?
Photo Credit: EthanPDX via Creative Commons