The big SIGG BPA letdown

Water bottle manufacturer SIGG has found themselves in the hot seat recently after they revealed that their bottles, which many environmentally-aware, health-conscious consumers and parents fell in love with, have actually contained bisphenol-A (BPA) all along. SIGG claims they never said their bottles were BPA-free, but only that they “did not leach BPA.”

Z Recommends was one of the first blogs to break the story with their very thorough and informative post:

“Swiss sports and children’s bottle maker SIGG has admitted what many consumer advocates have suspected for years, but never proven: That the epoxy lining used for years in SIGG bottles – which they secretly swapped out for a new liner last summer – contained the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A.”

How do you know if your SIGG bottle contains BPA? According to SIGG, “all SIGG bottles made since August 2008 contain our new BPA free EcoCare liner. SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008 have the former water-based epoxy liner which contains trace amounts of BPA. These bottles have been thoroughly tested and showed 0% leaching of BPA.

The photo and information below (from SIGG) should help you determine which liner you have.

New SIGG EcoCare Liner Former SIGG Liner
* Dull pale yellow coating*Special powder-based co-polyester liner certified to be 100% BPA and Phthalate Free*Utilized in the manufacturing of SIGG bottles since August 2008 * Shiny copper bronze finish*Proprietary water-based epoxy liner thoroughly tested and showed absolutely no leaching of BPA*Found in SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008

EcoCare Liner:

Former Liner:

In case you didn’t just do the math, SIGG is saying they have been manufacturing bottles with the new liners since August 2008. But wait, what year is it now? Oh yeah, 2009. Which means they’ve been sitting on this information for an entire year. Ouch.

Lynn from Babble discusses the problems with bisphenol-A in her post BPA: How Bad Is It? Get ready to clean out your cabinets.

It is a type of compound called an endocrine disruptor, which means it mimics or alters the effects of a particular hormone — in this case estrogen — in your body, throwing everything out of whack. It is bad for you, and your pregnancy, and your kids, and it is, almost literally, everywhere: in baby feeding items, water bottles, soda and soup cans, PVC pipes, carbon-paper-style sales receipts, dental fixtures, the water supply, even in the goddamn air. (And probably in your body: the CDC has detected BPA in 93 percent of people 6 years old and up.)

… BPA is thought to cause disorders of the neurological, cardiac, immune, and reproductive systems, with adults, children, and developing fetuses all exposed and at risk.

To say that people are upset about SIGG’s admission would be an understatement.

Alison from Green Me feels deceived and wrote an open letter to SIGG expressing her outrage.

While pregnant I drank from my SIGG bottle 4 days per week as I had a long commute to a college campus where I did not have easy access to water. When my son was born I breastfed him and carried my SIGG bottle around with me to have water on walks and at the store. Last year, when my son turned one we got him a big boy SIGG water bottle. I would not have made any of these purchases had I known your products were lined with BPA.

I am outraged…

Cool Mom Picks feels disheartened at the news. “It’s disheartening to support a brand like SIGG for making safer, BPA-free drinking bottles for kids and adults when it turns out that nope, that wasn’t the situation at all. Or as the old saying goes, ‘we was played.’”

Miriam from Tripletly Blessed said she will take the replacement bottles from SIGG and donate them because “I have no intention of supporting a company that would blatantly mislead their consumer base.” She also plans to tell others of SIGG’s betrayal. “Yes, SIGG technically did nothing wrong. They never stated that their bottles were BPA-free. However, the manner in which they marketed themselves left many people with that impression. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t see that there is really a case here, though some are suggesting it. What I am, though, is a mom and a blabbermouth. Would you like to guess what I’ll be talking about for the next few weeks and whenever I see someone with a SIGG bottle?”

Kellie from GreenHab: The Browns Go Green is feeling disappointed. “I’m feeling kind of like I did when I found out that John Edwards cheated on his wife. It isn’t the worst thing to ever happen in this world, but I still feel really disappointed because I thought SIGG to be a genuinely green company. They say ‘never trust a politician.’ I guess we shouldn’t trust companies that claim to sell green products either.”

Despite all of this, Sonja from Girl with Greencard says she will continue to use her SIGG from the early 90s. She said she has two old SIGGs, and she’s going to keep using both of them. Why? Because “test shows BPA doesn’t leak and SIGGs are pricey and I don’t use mine on a daily basis.” She said she also has no qualms about letting her 1-year-old son drink from her old SIGG bottles either.

Jeremiah from Z Recommends said:

Whether or not you are comfortable using a bottle that contains but does not leach BPA, for us the real story here is how a company using BPA that would have been absolutely sidelined by consumers seeking BPA-free alternatives managed to make itself a central player by carefully controlling information about its products, challenging consumer advocacy organizations when they made statements that were unproven but that the company knew to be true, and “coming clean” only when it suited its own purposes.

Alicia at The Soft Landing believes it’s an issue of proprietary versus transparency. She said, “It’s not about the ‘mere presence of BPA’ or that their studies didn’t show any leaching – it’s about the principle of trust. We as parents, consumers and advocates should demand transparency from companies who build their entire foundation on being healthy and green.”

While SIGG encourages dissatisfied customers to contact their customer service department (liners@mysigg.com) to trade in their old SIGG bottles for ones made with the BPA-free EcoCare liner, many bloggers would rather find more transparent companies to support. In case you are concerned about what will happen to the bottles that are turned in to SIGG, CEO Steve Wasik assured Lisa from Retro Housewife Goes Green that “All ‘retired’ SIGG bottles that we receive are always sent to recycling.”

Lisa from Condo Blues suggests four BPA-free water bottle alternatives.

Over at Mamanista, Candace recommends Stainless Steel BPA-free water bottles.

I also wrote a post earlier this year about several different reusable water bottles.

Lastly, Z Recommends has some additional information about possible problems with the new BPA-free SIGG liners that you should take a look at before you email to get your replacement bottle. Unfortunately, this information might turn off even more consumers.

What are your thoughts? Are you surprised? Upset? Fine with all of it? Will you trade in your old SIGG bottle for a new one or will you seek out an alternative?

I have to say the only reason I’m not fuming mad is that we never splurged to buy SIGG bottles until a few months ago when my husband Jody got one for Ava and one for himself. Thankfully, they both have the new liners. While I had been thinking about getting my own SIGG bottle in the near future, after learning all of this, I’ll stick with my BPA-free Camelbak for now, thankyouverymuch.

Related posts:
- SIGG Controversy: Older SIGG Bottles Have Bisphenol A (BPA)
- SIGG Bottles and BPA
- Really? SIGG bottles contain BPA

Cross-posted on BlogHer

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46 thoughts on “The big SIGG BPA letdown

  1. I’m outraged, too. I switched to Sigg about 3 years ago when a student told me my plastic reusable bottle contained BPA, which was linked to breast cancer. I did the research and got a Sigg. Last fall, I bought a Klean Kanteen because the mouth was wider and I could put ice in it, so I’ve been using that almost exclusively. Also, it can go in the dishwasher.

    Speaking of the dishwasher, I popped my Siggs in there a few times, even though I know they’re not dishwasher safe. I wonder if this affected the structural integrity of the lining and caused it to leach…

    Since I’m pregnant, I’m not using my Siggs at all and will continue to use my stainless steel, unlined Klean Kanteen. I’d like to find another use for the Siggs, though, as they are expensive.

  2. I have to say I’m not suprised about Sigg. When searching for companies to buy reusable bottles to sell on MamaGoesGreen, I never felt assured by the round-a-bout proprietary statements made by Sigg. The very fact that aluminum bottles need a lining made my mommy radar pique. This is why we’ve only carried stainless steel reusable water bottles at our site. It was tough to find ones with the adorable patterns and prints that Sigg offered, but we think Earthlust and EcoUsable offer great alternatives in stainless steel. The green consumer is not one to take being lied to and deceived lightly. Shame on Sigg.

  3. I must be out of the loop, but I think it’s better to spend your time being outraged about world issues. Do you know how you all sound? Like a bunch of whining, ungrateful too-much-time on-your hands mothers! Get REAL people. Is this a scandal? If you make it out to be. Did they fix their error? Yes. Are there people in this world who don’t EVEN HAVE WATER TO DRINK AND WOULD LITERALLY DIE TO HAVE A WATER BOTTLE FILLED WITH WATER whether it is an old bottle or a new one? One with the latest cutsie designs for your back to school theme? Pay attention to the news….Imagine all the people who have nothing and here you are bitching about something petty like this. Go turn on the tap and get a drink and get over yourselves!

  4. I’m not impressed, but not surprised… I bought a Klean Kanteen for the very reason that I thought their secrecy surrounding what was in their lining was SKETCHY. However, I agree that it’s less to do with whether or not the previous liners are safe, and more to do with trust.
    Speaking of trust, after all this, how do we REALLY know that the old bottles are being recycled? Despite the oodles of information on both the SIGG and mySIGG websites about how buying a SIGG decreases waste, there is NO information on recycling. How to recycle your sigg bottle, or how THEY recycle those that are returned.

    Not sure that the CEO’s word at this point (with no official statement on their website) is enough for me.

  5. I am feeling pretty lucky that I bought EcoUseable stainless steel bottles. I did that more for the fact that aluminum dents and I have two children than any other reason.

    EcoUsuable bottles were pretty reasonable in price (12$? I think) and the kids could find some little ones that had cute pictures on them.

  6. I am livid about this. Absolutely livid. The reason I bought the Sigg bottles is because I wanted non-plastic, BPA-free water bottles for my children, and SIGG were the only ones I could find that were not made in China. I even waited to purchase the bottles until I found them at a significant discount. Had I any inkling BPA was in the lining of those bottles, I NEVER would have purchased them.

  7. It is just disappointing. It bothers me that their whole marketing campaign is geared towards people who are looking for stainless steel BPA free bottles. While they might not feel dishonest, they are certainly misleading.

  8. very well-done roundup, Amy. I really don’t like the taste of the metal bottles (I know, I know…) and so we also use the BPA-free Camelbaks. Still, I do hate to feel like we’re all being deceived, it makes me wonder about *everything*!!!!!

  9. I don’t know what to do about this whole thing. I’m still using my bottles though I have to say my husband has been sent with his ecocare liner bottle each day and I have been using my stainless steel ones.

  10. At the risk of feeding the trolls, the problem is that this company abused the trust of the public to profit from a safety scare. And, yes, I do think this is worth some ink. SIGG did not make a mistake and fix the problem, they purposely mislead consumers so that they could sell more bottles to people concerned about BPA.

    And if you wish to “upgrade” you bear the cost of shipping back the old bottles to get the new ones that have liners that flake.

    The fact that others do not have clean water does not mean I should not be concerned about the quality of the water my children drink or about the ethics of the company that sold me that bottle.

    Obviously, Amy writes about a number of very important issues and the “aren’t there more important things” trope is as stale and old as “American love it or leave it”. Just because you are grateful, that does not mean you can’t write about ways to improve things.

    Ethical corporate behavior IS an important issue.

  11. I bought Klean Kanteen over Sigg due to the secrecy about the liner. I did not want to buy a product made in China if I could help it, but now I am glad I went that route anyway. I am just really disappointed in this company for the bold-faced lies about BPA in their lining.

    The potential health concerns of BPA are not to be minimized, especially considering the number of sources. Why would we want to buy a water bottle specifically to avoid it and then be told a year later, “Oops, NOW it is BPA-free, but it wasn’t before”?

  12. We do have access to clean water in Western countries and for that I am very grateful. But part of what keeps water clean is accountability to the public. That is exactly the reason that it is so important that people take the time to exercise their purchasing and speaking power to promote & critique methods and products. SIGG’s marketing (and prices) implied that its products were safe–free from known harmful chemicals. The company needs to be held accountable for the message it sent (and profited from).

    Thanks for this summary article, Amy. It’s helpful to see where people stand. And it’s refreshing to see so many parents standing up for the rights of their children to drink water (a basic human need) without concern for bodily harm.

  13. I’ve used Klean Kanteen for a long time, but I recently bought a SIGG for my son. It was a few months ago, but I just checked and it has the ‘old’ liner. I chose the SIGG because my son is a toddler and it’s much lighter than Klean Kanteen, plus SIGG has so many adorable designs.

    After hearing this, I am going to get rid of the SIGG. I will send it back for recycling, and then I will move on to another company. I can’t support SIGG in conscience any longer.

  14. We have numerous Sigg bottles and I’m quite annoyed and upset by this. A number of our bottles were special ones picked out by our children when we were vacationing in Europe. Somehow I don’t think if I send them back in that I’m going to get the same one that we had originally purchased and that mean something to the kids.

    I think based on the info provided by Zrecs that the bottles apparently do not leach BPA, we may keep the ones that are special to the kids until they find something new that they want and then replace and toss the old ones.

  15. I first bought a SIGG in 2004 before I got pregnant. By 2007, I’m pretty sure I knew that SIGG had BPA in their linings, but I was reassured by their posting of lab testing results showing no leaching of BPA after some very extreme conditions. I realize now I don’t know how sensitive the tests were, but I did have the impression they were much safer than lexan bottles (Nalgene).

    There was something weasely about the phrase “water-based epoxy” they used to refer to the lining. I was always puzzled that you could use something water-based that wouldn’t wash off in contact with, say, water! And coupled with their secrecy about the components of their liner… well, I was suspicious, but again, comforted by the test results.

    I don’t feel too deceived since I’ve had this all in mind for years. But since I’ve figured this out I have not bought more SIGGs… I’ll just keep using them until they get lost, and then replace with something purely stainless steel. I do think there were a safer alternative to Nalgene and it was fair to market themselves as such, but now that even safer alternatives are widely available I’ll move on to greener pastures :)

  16. Pingback: » The Deceit of SIGG Green Me: Healthy and Green by the Day

  17. Barbara, The issue here isn’t that of being a spoiled Westerner or not having clean drinking water. The issue is that customers feel deceived about what was in the liner of Sigg’s bottle when many asked the company point blank if it contained BPA. They feel that the company lied by omission by telling its customers who wanted to avoid BPA, that their product didn’t leach BPA inferring that the liner was BPA free when they now find out wasn’t.

    This is coupled with the fact that this water bottle is a more expensive option. These customers decided that they trusted what the company said about their product to purchase their product in what they thought at the time was a safer/waste free portable water alternative because they believed in the company.

    Sigg eventually gave its customers what they wanted – a completely BPA free bottle but did it quietly – some feel on the sly – by not promoting the new liner. It was only after a back to school Twitter event, where this was mentioned and that broke the story on the Internet year later after Sigg quietly introducing the new product and still has the old product currently for sale.

    Sigg has a marketing department and should have used that to promote the BPA free liner in 2008 but chose not to because they’d have to answer to customers who bought the first version of the bottle believing that it was a safer alternative.

    Sigg customers are upset and now Sigg had to formally deal with the issue. Even now, many customers feel that Sigg is giving a lot of double talk and pointing fingers at everyone but themselves for promoting the BPA free liner which is reinforcing the lack of trust issues with their loyal customers. That’s the issue. Not whether the bottles look cute or trendy or about the availability of clean drinking water.

  18. We switched from Nalgene to Sigg a few years ago (and I gave them as Christmas gifts that year, too), but recently we starting using mainly Klean Kanteen because they was more easily in the dishwasher. I am very disappointed in Sigg and will miss the fun patterns. :( I’m not sure what to do with the old ones we have…

  19. I have to add to Condo Blues comment above that getting upset about an issue such as the deceit of SIGG is as important as being outraged by “world issues.” As a result of our affluence and our access to adequate food, water, health care and education it is vital that Americans and others from developed nations stand up and speak out against misbehaving corporations. Simply being “outraged” by world issues will get us no where…asking questions, demanding accountability from corporations and from governments may eventually get us somewhere…we would be remiss to let this or any similar issue fly under the radar.

  20. Huh, I thought this was sort of common knowledge? Before my daughter was born in August 2007, I researched reusable water bottles and found only unlined stainless steel containers (ala Kleen Kanteen) were BPA free. While it is reprehensible that SIGG sat on this for a year, this information was not hidden. Not being snarky, but this just goes to show that you really do have to be careful and do the research yourself, PR firms and big business cannot be trusted.

  21. Barbara- I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using my fortunate status to research chemicals that are linked to cancer and try to avoid them, or to be upset with a company that misrepresented itself.

    BTW- I teach environmental science and BPA is something I might mention one or two times throughout the year. Alternately, I’m going to spend the first month and a half of school talking about water issues. You can’t judge what’s important to someone based on one blog post, comment, or conversation.

    I’d like to know what you’re doing to help end the problems of access to clean water around the world. It’s easy to get high and mighty in an almost anonymous blog comment. Action is much tougher.

  22. I’m very upset, when the whole BPA scared happened, Sigg bottles were some of my first purchases so that I could have “safe” containers for my then 3-year-old’s lunch. I used a Sigg too. I was a nursing mother to a 4 month old baby. I continued to nurse and use my Sigg (though not as frequently as the person you quoted) until my baby was 24 months old.
    That is a lot of risk that I thought I was INTENTIONALLY avoiding by using a Sigg.
    What jerks!

  23. Yeah, I’ve always suspected that liner… We’re sending ours back and won’t be getting replacements from them either. I had already been slowly replacing our SIGGs with stainless. I also use glass jars, but they’re much harder for my kids to drink out of in the and on the go. Plus, I fear breakage!

    I really enjoy your round-up posts, Amy. Thank you!

  24. I have never used these bottles, however many of my friends with younger children have been using them for years.

    As you said, it’s absolutely unforgiveable that the company sat on this information for a year before doing anything. It makes you wonder if it hadn’t leaked out somehow would they ever have ‘fessed up?

    I’ve found a new brand here in Australia that I’ve just ordered one for each of the family, and they all seem safe, so I shall also continue NOT to support SIGG.

    Thanks for such an informative post!

    ST in Australia

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  26. Great recap Amy and thanks for including Cool Mom Picks here.

    I’m with Candace and Jeremiah, my issue is less with any sort of safety issue and more with SIGG playing fast and loose with customer trust.

    I don’t feel the bottles are inherently unsafe and we haven’t tossed ours so quickly. But I do believe consumers have the right to ask for BPA-free products…and to know the difference.

    Our next bottles won’t be SIGGs.

  27. If SIGG is recycling the old bottles, are they able to remove the liner first, or does it get recycled into the new product? If they can’t remove it, the new product would obviously contain BPA too.

  28. I have to say that I’m disappointed to hear this. I ditched all of my kids’ BPA-laden water containers quite a while back and even put aside their beloved Nalgene bottles in favor of the much-pricier Siggs.

    Although I’m happy to hear that they don’t leach BPA like the Nalgenes do, I agree that their advertising around all of this has been sketchy at best and downright deceiving at worst.

    Thanks for posting this info, Amy!

  29. I think SIGG removed me from their facebook fanpage…
    I followed the link someone left in the comments, became a fan so I could comment, and then left the following comment:
    SIGG: “For all those mothers concerned about any trace of BPA in anything, you should know BPA is also used to make dental sealants, flame retardants, and is an additive in many other widely used consumer products. CDs / DVDs, even the cellphone you use to call us….”
    me: “I get annoyed when I read stuff like that. So, BPA is basically everywhere? That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to avoid it whenever possible. SIGG needs to stop pointing fingers at canned tuna and admit that what they did was wrong and deceitful. “We never said it was BPA free.” is not the line people need to hear.”
    They took the post (and all other comments) down the same night.

  30. Pingback: Are you kidding me?! « The Mindful Merchant

  31. Pingback: Sigg's BPA Confession | Save Green and Live Green!

  32. Thanks for the post, but I am outraged!!!!! What an evil company. I will never EVER buy another Sigg product.

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  36. Hello, I’m hoping someone might be able to help me with a Sigg/BPA question: does anyone know whether the thermal bottles manufactured before August, 2008 have BPA in the lining? Because they’re stainless steel, I believe, not aluminum, and have always had linings that are entirely silver, I have no idea how to tell. Thank you so much!

  37. Pingback: Spilling the truth on Sigg bottles | Pure Mavens

  38. Pingback: SIGG Sucks.

  39. I just spoke to Maria at Sigg and she didn’t care about the BPA Poison. I’m stuck with about 18 of these junk Sigg trash bottles. I’ll throw them out and NEVER buy Sigg shit again. Her number is 1-203-321-1190 extension 190.

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  42. The picture is now obsolete because Sigg has developed a new generation of liner (100% free BPA) more stable and neutrale.

    Sigg has really change since this Bpa case, and work on new directions. Sigg try to create good products, healty, ecofriendly and smart in colaboration with designers, engineers, organitions…

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