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Are Plastic Water Bottles Harming Your Health?

Are the new BPA-free plastic water bottles estrogen free? Studies have shown that these polycarbonate replacements will leach synthetic estrogen under the right conditions. Check out this article to learn more about PC replacement bottles and solutions for hydrating right.

Water Bottles Are Still Messing With Your Hormones

Polycarbonate (PC) water bottles seemed like such a cool idea when they came on the market. They were a convenient way to stay hydrated during outdoor activities and at work. Of course now you know the dangers of BPA leaching from these bottles, and the many ways this chemical can mess with your hormones.

When we stopped buying these bottles, manufacturers came up with polycarbonate replacement plastics, also known as BPA-free plastics. Good news right? Not really. Turns out these PC replacements are also messing with your hormones.

BPA-free PC-replacement products are made from various types of resins, including acrylic, PETG (glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate), PS (polystyrene), PES (polyethersulfone), and Tritan™ resins. A study published in 2011 reported that “all BPA-replacement resins or products tested to date (n > 25) released chemicals having reliably detectable estrogenic activity (EA), including polyethersulfone and PETG, sometimes having more total EA measured than many PC products when stressed.”

A study released in 2014 found that “that many BPA-free PC-replacement products made from various types of resins, including PETG, PS, PES, and Tritan™ resins, could leach chemicals with EA, irrespective of whether these products were unstressed (13/25) or stressed (38/41).” All of the bottles made with PS and PES resins and 23 out of 25 of the Tritan bottles showed EA when stressed in this study. Tritan is the BPA-free, PC replacement now used in Camelbak and Nalgene water bottles.

In both of these studies the bottles were stressed by exposing them to UV radiation (to mimic sunlight), microwaving and sterilization at 273 degrees F. UV radiation had the greatest affect on both the probability and amount of leaching that occurred. So unless you can figure out a way to never expose your water bottle to sun light you should consider some non toxic options.

Non Toxic Solutions for Water Bottles

So how did we carry water with us in those pre-polycarbonate days? Do metal and glass ring a bell? It might be time to dig through the cupboards for those forgotten stainless steel thermoses and mugs. Don’t have any? Here are some solutions to help you wean yourself from plastic water bottles.


There are lots of glass water bottles available. Many of them come with protective silicon sleeves. I really like my water bottle by Epica. It's glass with a stainless steel screw on lid.

If you want a sippy cup experience with your water bottle, Lifefactory Flip Cap Glass Bottle comes in a variety of sizes and sleeve colors. Be aware though, that although the bottles are glass, the caps are plastic.

Another solution is to turn a canning jar into a water bottle with an EcoJarz Stainless Steel Drinktop lid. They even offer a version complete with a stainless steel straw.

Stainless Steel

Klean Kanteen offers a variety of stainless steel water bottles. To avoid plastic altogether choose one that comes with a stainless steel cap or you can buy the cap separately (Kleen Kanteen All Stainless Loop Cap).

Stainless steel is a good unbreakable option for kids. Check out Klean Kanteen Kid's Stainless Steel Bottle with 3.0 Sport Cap. There are other stainless steel water bottles available but they all have some plastic parts.

With BPA-free plastic water bottles proving to have the same hormone disrupting issues as the bottles they replaced, it’s time to get back to basics. Plastic and water, just like plastic and food, is just not a good combination. 

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