The Nalgene Outdoor Products web site now features a response to concerns about BPA leaching, stating with confidence that their product is safe. Scientists studying endocrine disruption, however, suggest limiting potential exposure to BPA as much as possible. In a January 2004 presentation in Oregon, Our Stolen Future co-author Dr. John P. Meyers addressed the issue. "I personally recommend avoiding polycarbonate plastics - don't let them come into contact with your food or water," Meyers said. "I think the science is strong enough to justify precautionary measures today."
Meyers added that despite industry assurances about the supposed safety of polycarbonate, baby bottles made from the material have "quietly disappeared from the market." Many studies have shown that the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals are most devastating during early development, so babies are highly at risk.
Polycarbonate plastics are still used in a variety of products, including plastic resins lining some food storage cans, dental sealants, and the Nalgene Lexan bottles, and can be identified by the symbol "#7 PC" on their recycling logos. Normal wear-and-tear and cleaning of polycarbonate plastic bottles in a dishwasher, Hunt says, can cause BPA to leach out of the plastic, and the amount of leaching increases as the plastic ages and is degraded by use.
According to Sierra magazine, plastics that are safer to use for storing food and beverages include polypropylene, designated "#5 PP," high-density polyethylene, designated "#2 HDPE" and low-density polyethylene designated "#4 LDPE," none of which are so far known to leach harmful substances. Single-use water bottles (the type bottled water is sold in) made from polyethylene terephthalate, "#1 PET" or "PETE" are not recommended for repeat use, as a study found they may leach a suspected carcinogenic substance known as DEHA.