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7 posts from September 2009

September 24, 2009

Vom Saal claims BPA leaching in SIGGs

Z Recommends - 9.3.09

Researcher Frederick vom Saal stated that four years ago, he conducted an unpublished test on SIGG bottles and found leaching in the parts-per-trillion range.  In light of vom Saal’s statements in an article in The Star, Z Recommends was able to discuss test results they received from a different independent test conducted on a SIGG bottle with the old liner.

“The bottle was found to leach BPA at 1.25 micrograms per liter, which is roughly equivalent to 1.25 parts per billion. In relative terms, this is more than what vom Saal states he had found, although he has not yet provided many details of his tests. In absolute terms, both values are very, very small. Everyone - you included - is exposed to BPA at higher levels from other sources, many of them entirely outside of your control. Canned foods tested by the Environmental Working Group contained up to 385 ppb, and even if you avoid those, there are plenty of others. Labs testing water bottles for BPA have to correct for background BPA in the water - sometimes up to 2 ppb.”

Read the entire Z Recommends article.

Our Take:  We wanted to make sure to acknowledge this story that's been swirling around some media - the whole thing seems a bit weird and leaves us with more questions than answers. Why didn't vom Saal decide to publish his study four years ago, and why is he bringing it up now? Where are the details on the independent study cited by Z Recommends? (etc.)

The article does reaffirm the fact that leaching at anything below the 2ppb level is very minute. A Canada Health study helps put this in perspective, finding that the average bottled water contains 1.5 ppb of BPA.

We'll keep you posted if/when more information on these unpublished tests comes out. Meanwhile, you can learn more in our BPA and SIGG FAQs.

September 18, 2009

BPA Present in Some Aluminum Bottles

SNEWS - 8.10.09

Snews SNEWS was among the first to press with news that “Both SIGG and Laken have acknowledged to SNEWS that until August 2008, every aluminum bottle they produced and sold was lined with a water-based epoxy that contained BPA. To their credit, both have told SNEWS that since August 2008, all bottles manufactured by Laken and SIGG are being made with new liners that are certified to be BPA- and phthalate-free.”  Get fee access to the entire SNEWS store here.

 
Our Take
: As you can imagine, this has been the topic of conversation around the office since this article was released, and it’s something we take very seriously. Many of you have been asking for our take on this issue. We’ve been collecting information, sorting facts from rumors and presenting it an easily-digestible format. Please read our updated SIGG and BPA
FAQs for more information.

Bottom line?

1.     There’s no question SIGG messed up by waiting until now to come out with the contents of their old liner. That said, if you have a bottle with SIGG’s old liner, we believe it is safe for most people. Since unanswered questions remain about BPA in general, we recommend you read our SIGG FAQ see which liner your bottle has and determine what makes sense for you.

2.     SIGG’s new EcoCare liner is safe. It’s been independently tested and SIGG confirms it is free of BPA, phthalates, BPB and other harmful chemicals. Nothing harmful is used and nothing leaches from this liner.

As far as Laken is concerned, all bottles we offer (and have ever sold) by them use their certified BPA-free liner. To learn more about their old liner, see our Laken FAQ.

5-cent Bag Fee Passed in Fairbanks, Alaska

Daily News-Miner 9.11.09


Newsminer copy

Fairbanks, Alaska's Borough Assembly passed a 5-cent bag fee that automatically applies to a few dozen major retailers. The fee is characterized as a "user fee" to address the city's solid waste issues. Revenue from the fee will go toward emerging recycling programs.

Read more here.

September 14, 2009

Voters Do Not Pass Seattle Bag Fee

Business Week 08.19.09SeattleTimesBagFee

On August 18, Seattle voters rejected a 20-cent fee on use-and-toss bags. With about half the votes counted, the bag fee was falling behind 58 percent to 42 percent in the primary. The city had originally passed an ordinance to implement the fee, which would have started in January. However, the plastic industry incited a referendum that brought the issue to voters in an election this August. Groups against the fee outspent opponents by about $15-to-1.

Read more here.

Our Take: Having backed the fee from the start, we are disappointed it didn’t pass. However, more than 46 percent of people voted for the fee, which is pretty huge and shows that bag fees represent a smart, market-based solution to the problem.

September 09, 2009

OUR SCOOP: The Endangered Campus Water Fountain

 The Polaris Institute 9.09

WaterfountainA recently-released study by Canada's Polaris Institute reveals the "good, bad and ugly" on water fountains in the country's university campuses. The report's primary findings show "a disturbing trend of some institutions decommissioning water fountains in older buildings and excluding water fountains in new buildings. In these cases, students, staff and faculty are left to either bring water from home, drink from bathroom sinks or purchase bottled water."

The report ends with recommendations for improving access to public water sources, such as promoting water fountains as an aspect of sustainable campus design and requiring fountains in public buildings as part of provincial building codes. This would be a first step to "help combat the commodification of drinking water in public spaces and ensure access to this vital resource."

Read the full report.

Our Take: Cutting access to drinkable water is not a smart way to cut costs! Not only do people have to shell out big bucks at the vending machines just to stay hydrated – the amount of plastic trash will be huge! Hopefully, the Institute’s recommendations stick, and using high-quality reusable bottles will be encouraged.

Plastic Pieces Large and Small found in Expedition to Giant Garbage Patch

Inside Bay Area.com 9.1.09

Garbage Patch Plastic "Scientists who returned to the Bay Area this week after an expedition to the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' brought piles of plastic debris they pulled out of the ocean - soda bottle, cracked patio chairs, Styrofoam chunks, old toys, discarded fishing floats and tangled nets. But what alarmed them most, they said... was the nearly inconceivable amount of tiny, confetti-like pieces of broken plastic..."

An investigator described this excessive marine debris as the "new man-made epidemic," since the tiny pieces are believed to contain toxic chemicals and can absorb banned substances such as DDT. Not only is there a chemical threat, but the growing garbage patch debris poses danger to marine life and birds.

Read the entire article.

Our Take:This is an issue we’ve been covering for year - see our information on the lingering legacy of plastic in our oceans. Mindless over-consumption of use & toss items is at the root of this problem, and it's up to all of us to wake up and consciously consume far fewer of them.

September 08, 2009

Mexico City another Big Metro to to Ban Use & Toss Bags

Wend.com  8.24.09

Mexico-City-490x367 "Add another city to the list of those that have understood the severe negative effects of single-use plastic bags. Last Wednesday, Mexico City banned businesses from distributing plastic bags that are not biodegradable. The ban affects all stores, production facilities and service providers within the Federal District, which encompasses the city limits. Nearly 9 million people live inside the district, which makes it the second large metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw single-use plastic bags..."

For more, read the entire article.

Our Take: It’s always good news when a major metro region takes action on the plastic bag issue. However, instead of bag bans, bag fees designed to curb consumption are smarter, market-based solutions. Ireland’s PlasTax, for example, reduced plastic bag consumption by more than 90% in the first year alone.