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Biggest Headline of 2008: Nalgene and BPA

For fitness fanatics and nature lovers, owning a Nalgene water bottle was as essential as a sports bra — a must-have to stay hydrated and reduce your plastic footprint. For years it seemed like there was a Nalgene bottle next to every machine at the gym. Then the scare hit.

The chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA) used to make these polycarbonate bottles was found to possibly cause cancer, UTIs, and early puberty in preliminary animal studies. Other research showed that exposure to BPA was also linked to diabetes and heart disease. Women were worried because it was suspected to affect fertility and the development of babies.

Many people stopped using their Nalgenes immediately, replacing them with stainless steel (Klean Kanteen), aluminum (Sigg), or BPA-free water bottles. Folks who felt bad about adding to landfills found new uses for their bottles as lanterns.

So what did Nalgene do? To find out

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Even though Nalgene refuted that its products were harmful to humans, the company reacted quickly by designing a BPA-free water bottle. BPA is still found in some plastic baby bottles and the lining of cans, although many government agencies feel the risk is nothing to worry about. Many experts believe that the amount of BPA humans are exposed to is too small to cause any harm, and further evaluation is necessary.

I agree with Tufts professor and researcher Dr. Ana Soto, who says, "We cannot wait that long to discover whether this chemical is harming human reproduction and development." If there is even a slight chance BPA could negatively affect humans, why take the risk? Do you agree, or will you continue to use BPA products until scientists declare this chemical a definite risk?

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