Could your Nalgene bottle give you cancer?

Nalgene bottles did for non-water drinkers what Harry Potter did to non-readers — they made what was previously a chore into something easy and cool. I jumped on the Nalgene bottle bandwagon years ago — I’m sort of a water addict. I crave water the way some people crave chocolate, and I drink upwards of a gallon a day. I have a water bottle with me at all times (right now it’s on the floor next to my desk).

But a Canadian outdoor-gear company, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), is pulling Nalgenes off its shelves due to research that indicates that the bottle’s plastic material Lexan is toxic. MEC pulled other products off of it’s shelves, but so far the Nalgene bottle boycott is getting the most media attention. Lexan, a brand name for the chemical compound “bisphenol A,” a polycarbonate plastic which contains the chemical compound “bispenol A,” possibly leaches toxins into whatever the Nalgene is holding, and studies have shown that these poisons can cause cancer and low sperm counts.

The Canadian group Environment Defence tested a sample of Canadians for toxic chemicals and found that every single person had bisphenol A in his or her blood. Yikes. MEC is keeping Lexan products off of its shelves until a study of the compound by the federal government is finished.

I switched to a stainless steel bottle last year, but still pull from my Nalgenes. I wonder what my bisphenol A levels are — but I don’t think I want to know.