Is your Nalgene bottle safe?

Rather than argue directly with Canada, the FDA review ruled only that the quantities in which it occurs mean it's not dangerous. This may overturn a San Francisco ban on the substance.

Pete Myers, environmental scientistYes, says the FDA.

No, says Canada.

If you have a new one, probably so.

We're talking here about bisphenol A, a chemical which is common in plastics, including Nalgene bottles and baby bottles.

All this came about after Canada moved toward naming bisphenol A toxic back in April, banning its use in baby bottles.

In the wake of that decision Nalgene said it would stop using the chemical in its bottles. You can also get baby bottles which don't have it -- sites selling such products often refer to the chemical as BPA.

Rather than argue directly with Canada, the FDA review ruled only that the quantities in which it occurs mean it's not dangerous. This may overturn a San Francisco ban on the substance.

This has lawyers smelling a possible lawsuit. It also upset scientist-activist Pete Myers (above), who basically called it an industry-fed whitewash. Myers runs the Web site Ourstolenfuture.org.

Myers writes that a review by a scientist with the California Board of Toxic Subtance Control (on his own time) called current literature on bisphenol-A "flawed by errors of omission, commission, misreprentation and misinterpretation."

Other stories on Myers' site state that the amount of bisphenol-A in your body right now is above levels which cause harm in the lab, link low-level exposure by babies to uterine disease, and challenge the assumption that the dose makes the poison.

A point of personal disclosure. My own wife carries a Nalgene bottle to work, preferring water in that bottle to bottled water. I think I will buy her a new one.

While scientists may disagree, I'm afraid lawyers may have the last word.

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