Breast Cancer Fund Statement on SIGG BPA Disclosure
The Breast Cancer Fund is deeply disappointed to learn that SIGG, as revealed to the public via the company’s Web site last week, used an “epoxy liner which contained a trace amount of BPA” in its aluminum water bottles until August 2008. [source]
BPA is an estrogenic chemical linked to increased risk of breast cancer, as well as prostate cancer, neurological problems, developmental delays, early onset of puberty and obesity. Infants and young children are particularly susceptible to BPA’s harmful effects. Studies of human breast cancer cells in culture show that BPA induces cell growth and proliferation, and causes direct damage to cell DNA. In addition, BPA has recently been shown to interfere with chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. For more information about BPA and breast cancer, visit www.breastcancerfund.org/BPAfacts.
Consumer food and beverage products that contain BPA include hard plastic (polycarbonate, labeled #7) baby bottles and water bottles, the lining of food and soda cans, and even baby food jar lids and infant formula cans. According to the National Institutes of Health, a primary source of this synthetic estrogen in people is food and drink that has been contaminated by the containers in which it was packaged, stored or heated.
Because of the link between BPA and breast cancer, the Breast Cancer Fund is actively engaged in state and national efforts to ban the chemical from food and beverage containers. We are currently co-sponsoring California’s Toxics-Free Babies and Toddlers Act (SB 797), working with environmental health allies across the country to support other state efforts to limit BPA exposure, and supporting the federal Ban Poisonous Additives Act (S.593/H.R. 1523).
A few years ago, as we sought a safe alternative to BPA-containing polycarbonate water bottles for our Climb Against the Odds participants, we approached SIGG for in-kind sponsorship. Breast Cancer Fund staff was assured by then-SIGG USA President Steve Wasik that the proprietary liner used in SIGG bottles was safe.
We trusted Wasik’s personal assurances and the SIGG company statement, dated March 12, 2007, that “…SIGG bottles have been thoroughly tested in Europe to ensure 0% leaching of any substance – no trace of BPA, BPB or any phthalates.” In the same statement, Wasik adamantly denied that “SIGG bottles contain plastic liners with bisphenol A (BPA).” [source] The Breast Cancer Fund understood this statement to mean SIGG bottles were not made with BPA.
SIGG made an in-kind donation of a few hundred water bottles for Breast Cancer Fund event participants in 2007 and 2008, including Climb Against the Odds team members.
This month’s revelation that not only did SIGG bottles contain BPA prior to August 2008, but the company also waited a year to tell the public that it had removed BPA – shipping countless bottles to retailers around the world in the interim – has broken our confidence in SIGG. We find it hard to believe that even after punishing use, like mountain climbing, a bottle liner made with BPA could be assured not to leach BPA. In fact, the company recommends that bottles with chipped or cracked liners be replaced. We are concerned that scientists don’t yet know what a “safe” level of BPA is; the no-detect level in SIGG’s testing was 2 parts per billion. Most of all, we are discouraged and feel the Breast Cancer Fund was misled. Had we known the linings of SIGG bottles contained BPA, we would not have approached the company or accepted its in-kind support.
SIGG has made a customer e-mail line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and phone line (203-321-1220) available for comments and questions. The company is offering replacement bottles in exchange for SIGG bottles that use the old liner. However, because SIGG has not revealed the components of its new liner, we cannot recommend that option.
The Breast Cancer Fund recommends that people, especially pregnant women and young children, minimize their BPA exposure by ceasing use of food and beverage containers that contain BPA, and reducing consumption of canned foods and beverages. If you’re looking for a safe alternative to your old SIGG bottle, we suggest stainless steel bottles that have been verified BPA-free, such as Klean Kanteen.