Sigg Bottles and BPA

by updated 2014/10/18

Red_Sigg_Bottle_reduced I received a comment on a post and 3 emails last week asking me about the saga of Sigg and the plastic liner they use on their metal water bottles. After years of deflecting questions about possible BPA in the liners of their bottles, Sigg finally admitted to the presence of the endocrine disrupter bisphenol-A. Sigg insists that the chemical does not leach out of their liners under any circumstances. They may indeed be correct on that point, but the way in which they handled the disclosure of this information was much less than forthright. Even as they were deflecting questions about their liners, they started back in 2006 to develop a new, BPA free, liner.

Of course I am disappointed in Sigg handling of this situation which has been covered by many other bloggers, and large media outlets. One of the better, more in-depth articles is on the Z Recommends website. It is difficult for me to write in a negative way about a product that I have used for years and a company I thought of as very responsible in their pronouncements of safety. I have written articles about the concerns over plastic water bottles, but even now there is no proof that Sigg’s bottle liners are unsafe.  In fact they may be one of the few companies that has been able to show that no BPA leaches into the water stored in these bottles. Many people questioned Sigg about BPA in their bottles over the years but answers were hard to get. The big environmental site, Tree Hugger, had an article as long ago as April of 2008. Then recently Sigg started to try to control the adverse publicity.

I suggest that people read all the above links if you use Sigg bottles. The stories themselves shine a light on the difficulty of getting information from even the most reputable of companies. Sigg has perhaps the most environmental credibility of any water bottle manufacturer, yet they did not come through in the best manner once the story was out in the open. Even today there is controversy surrounding Sigg. The company has offered a temporary bottle exchange program where if you pay to ship your old bottles back to them, they will send you a replacement with the new BPA free liner. The biggest problem is that the exchange program ends at the end of October. This is an issue because even though Sigg claims they stopped manufacturing the BPA containing bottles over a year ago, major retailers like Amazon continue to sell the old bottles. I am not sure if this is because Sigg is still shipping old stock or if it really does take years to clear the system of the BPA containing bottles, but Sigg does not appear concerned about this. I sent Sigg an email last week and received the following reply echoing the company line that the concern about the BPA liners is unfounded.

“As the bottles pass stringent international tests for safety and have been shown not to leach BPA into your beverages, there is no product recall.  Many folks are not alarmed by the publicity and are choosing to keep their bottles with the former liner, and some folks have even requested older bottles from us.”

Using a metal bottle rather than the disposable single serving bottles so popular right now, is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint. Some people say that if we are concerned about plastic lined bottles, we could use stainless steel bottles. The idea of stainless is great for some people, but unfortunately many of us can taste the metal when drinking out of a stainless bottle. The Sigg bottles impart no taste at all to the water, but after their less than forthcoming approach to concerns about their liners, some have lost trust in the company. Plus, the idea of a plastic liner goes beyond the concern of BPA as there so are many other chemicals in plastics. If indeed Sigg can absolutely prove that under no circumstances is there any leaching from their liners to the water, then many will have faith restored in the company. But they must do more that claim this leach free result. They must fully publish the research, studies, and tests that prove the bottles are free from leaching.

Come clean Sigg. Go beyond your attorney reviewed open letters from Steve Wasik, your CEO. You had one of the most loyal customer bases of any company world wide. Many of these faithful feel personally let down by the way you have handled this situation. Most of these disappointed customers are following you closely looking for a sound reason to have restored faith in Sigg.

Will Sig
1 JD at I Do Things

Thanks for posting this AND the links. I’ll definitely check ‘em out.

I love my Sigg bottle and felt so virtuous when I started using it. I’m still using it, but I, too, was a little disappointed in how Sigg handled this whole thing.
.-= JD at I Do Things´s last blog ..I Cut Hair so you don’t have to =-.

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2 SIGG Bottle Fan

I’m a fan of SIGG bottles and I think they have done a pretty good job of “coming clean.” They have stated that their aluminum lined bottles were tested and they never leached. Their new lining has no BPA.

Now they have a new stainless steel bottle that they call the SteelWorks by SIGG. They are light, look nice and cost a bit less than the regular SIGG aluminum bottles.

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3 Will

You know JD, I have 4 or 5 Sigg bottles. The oldest is at least 25 years old. I just returned two of them using the exchange program so we will see how that works out. I use a one liter bottle at work and probably fill and drink it dry 3 or 4 times a day, 5 days a week. When I am hiking of backpacking, I always have a couple along. They are great bottles and a great company but could have handled this better for sure.

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4 Shane Poznikoff

I have 4 Sigg bottles. The ones I bought 4 years ago never have and still do not impart a taste to the water inside even if they sit for a week (in the refrigerator). I recently dropped one of my bottles and bought a replacement. I opted for the new wide mouth version. I noticed right away that the inner coating is a different color on this new bottle. I have found that the new bottle imparts a plastic-y taste to the water within a 4 days.

Has anybody else had any experience with the new lining?

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5 Will

Interesting Shane. The concern with the original bottle, for those that had concerns, was with the BPA in the lining. It did not impart a taste, and may not have even leached from the lining, but that particular chemical is very bad, even, or maybe especially, in small amounts. I have two of the new bottles, my son and one of my daughters have one also and none of us notice any plastic taste.

But taste is often a personal thing. I know many people happily use the camel back water bladders, but I never could because of what I perceived as a strong plastic or rubber taste.

The best and safest container is probably glass, but we all know how impractical that is!

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6 Stephen Settle

These plastics are just human made chemicals & they are not even degradable, thus in the end they affect our environment.

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7 Shane Poznikoff

Update on my new Sigg bottle…

A couple of months have passed with the new Sigg bottle with the new lining. After writing my previous post (October 19, 2009) I paid very very close attention to the taste of the water coming from that bottle, and honestly, I cannot remember a time it tasted like plastic. I have a feeling that the taste came from the lid (which is plastic) and not the bottle. Perhaps if I stored the bottle and its contents on its side so the plastic lid is awash.

At any rate, I am very happy with my Sigg.

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8 Mark Hubbard

I know that when I lived in Tucson, that was a year ago, some stores had an exchange program where you can bring you old SIGG and exchange it for a new SIGG… so that was nice of them, but I don’t think that happened nation wide or just at this non-chain store.

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9 Karen

I purchased a SIGG water bottle last year and recently noticed my water has a strong chemical smell. I flushed it out, let it dry, sans cover, and the bottle smells awful – a very strong petro-chemical odor that leaches into my drinking water. I was going to contact SIGG, but got waylaid reading about the events surrounding the BPA/chemical leaching back in 2009. I haven’t noticed anything posted about recent problems. Now I’m wondering what to do, as it doesn’t appear, from the posts, that the company is very forthcoming. Any suggestions?
Karen

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10 Will

Hi Karen – I have not noticed any taste of smell from any of my 4 SIGG bottles. I only use water in them, but it sounds like that is true for you too. Many people have had pretty good luck dealing with SIGG so you could try to exchange it. I use one of mine in particular 4 days a week, pretty much every week, filling it 2 or 3 times a day. That one is 2 years old now and still fine. Maybe you just got a bad one. I don’t much like the idea of drinking so much water from a plastic lined bottle. But I can not use glass in my line of work and the few stainless steel bottles I have tried made my water taste very bad.

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