Are SIGG Aluminum water bottles safe?

SIGG Bottles Now BPA Free. But What Were They Before?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Do SIGG Aluminum bottles contain BPA? Not any more.

Did they last year, when everyone was getting rid off their polycarbonate bottles and replacing them with SIGGs? Yes, they did.

Did SIGG tell anyone? No, they did not and in fact they refused to. Instead they said and claimed that their lining was was water-based epoxy and the formula "proprietary".

So, did SIGG lie to us of the green media and the public in general when we asked them about a year to eighteen months ago as to where there was BPA in the lining of their aluminum water bottles when they replied with the silly comments about the formula being "proprietary" and there was no BPA present in the liner? Yes, they did in so many words while saying nothing.

Now SIGG has gone public with an announcement that all of their bottles are completely BPA free, thanks to their new "EcoCare" powder-based, co-polyester coating.

Steve Wasik, SIGG's CEO, now admits that bottles made previous to August 2008 were lined with a water-based epoxy liner which contained trace amounts of BPA. What are “trace amounts of BPA”?

Were we all deliberately misled by SIGG when the Nalgene story broke as to the BPA risk and the ban of the “old” Nalgene bottles in Canada when then everyone went for bottle made by the likes of SIGG (and obviously also competitors and copy-cat manufactures) and dropped PC bottles like a hot stone.

So did SIGG deliberately deceive us? I would say that is most certainly so and the answer in my book must be a yes here and a very loud yes indeed.

How many thousands of consumers bought SIGG bottles specifically in response to the BPA scare? How many would have bought them if we had been told “yes our bottles have BPA but it doesn’t really leach, at least not in the “per billion tests”?” There is no doubt in my mind that SIGG was working entirely on a model of protecting their own bottom line, not protecting our health or public confidence and to someone with a very sarcastic mind, like me, it also would appear that SIGG made good use of the fact that people were looking for safer alternatives from the hard plastic bottles such as Nalgene and similar.

Statements such as that SIGG bottles did consistently test at "no detectable" levels for BPA” is no reassurance and SIGG also has not completely, as yet, gone public with such reports.

Only total and independent testing could ever assure – and even then that could be questionable for how independent are the independent testers.

Scientists were suggesting that as an endocrine disruptor that mimics the female hormone estrogen, it could have an effect on people at a concentration of a few parts per trillion; the test results are in parts per billion.

Some writers in other sources have suggested that the fact that there has never been any test that showed BPA leaching from SIGG bottles means that those of us who have used them extensively, even with our children, do not have to panic that we have had dangerous exposures.

I would like to disagree with those writers and, personally, I would be concerned and in fact am very much so.

Who conducted the tests, I would like to know, and who paid for them. This is my fist and most pressing question and if those tests had anything to do with the FDA then everyone start worrying and that a lot.

What we are left now with is a shattered faith in a company that we thought we could trust, that we could look up to as a beacon of eco-friendly and healthy product designs in a marketplace infested with dangerous, toxic, profit-driven garbage.

And there are even many so-called eco-products that fall – nowadays – under the “dangerous, toxic, profit-driven garbage” label, or simply the greenwash and entirely useless label.

Once again, in our attempts to live more green and eco-friendly lives, it seems we cannot win and we are betrayed by corporate interests. Once again it has proven that, in the end, the bottom line is all what most companies are concerned about, unless, maybe, they are social enterprises with a real conscience. That conscience often, however, only lasts a certain distance, as has been shown with the Body Shop, for instance.


In order to be more or less entirely safe that there is no BPA present we may have to change over to stainless steel entirely. Aluminum without liner, even though that was common until not that long ago in the 1970s and 1980s even, is not a real option because of the problems associated with aluminum, and this despite the fact that military canteens and those for the Scouts were aluminum.

However, it has been shown that aluminum bottles must have some sort of protective lining, and non-SIGG cheaper knockoffs have been shown to leach BPA. Perhaps the best solution is to stick to non-aluminum, stainless steel options such as “Kleen Kanteen”, and similar, which are, of course, yet again “Made in China”.

While Kleen Kanteen (and I have yet to lay my hands on one for review and test) maybe – and indeed is – made in China, it is stainless steel and unless the origin of the steel from which they are produced is suspect then they should be the best alternative to plastic and aluminum bottles, whether lined with an “eco-liner” or not.

Another alternative one should source is stainless steel flasks made in India. Their stainless steel is an 18/8 and of good quality. 

Whether the current canteens of the military, whether UK, USA, or others, those that are made of plastic of one kind or another, are safe as far as BPA and such are concerned I cannot say. They are not, however, polycarbonate but some other “food grade” plastic and one would have to investigate that further.

Would the military put their personnel, who will use water from such bottles for days on end, at risk? Yes, they would, I am sure. But that is not, really, the question here.

Military canteens are not directly something that most would want to take on the train and into the office with them, or the child to school, and so the only alternative appears to be to go stainless steel. Stainless is also good for the reason that it can be recycled again and again and there is no problem with any liner that could contaminate the smelt in recycling, as there is with lined aluminum.  

© 2009