There is much debate on the internet about the safety of SIGG water bottles. Much of the debate arises from the fact that there has been little to no research on their safety compared to stainless steel and plastic water bottles. In this article I will go over the limited information available (and why it is limited) and ultimately try to answer the question: are SIGG water bottles safe?
What we know for sure about SIGG water bottles is that the exterior is made of aluminum while the interior is lined with a “water based epoxy resin.” The liner is added to prevent the aluminum from leaching into the contents of one’s water bottle since consuming aluminum is likely to be bad for your health.
This liner is what makes it very difficult to answer the question, are SIGG water bottles safe? due to many unknowns about the liner. According to SIGG’s website(SIGG has since removed this from their website) “the ingredients (like the formula for Coca-Cola) remain secret and unavailable to 3rd parties so as to ensure SIGG retains its competitive advantage. The key of course is that the SIGG liner is FDA approved and independently tested to be taste and scent inert – and resistant to any leaching (0.0%) so 100% safe.” There are three problems with these statements: 1) the last time I checked, the ingredients for Coca-Cola are right on the can; 2) the FDA has approved many plastic and canned food products that contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical which simulates estrogen and in animal studies has been shown to cause a wide range of health problems; and 3) the 0.0% leaching they are referring to is from an “independent” study in which SIGG paid Alliance Technology LLC, a for profit company, to conduct.
In this study (SIGG removed it from their site but luckily I saved it. You can view it here), the testers used an LOQ (limit of quantization) of 2 PPB (parts per billion) which basically means that they didn’t attempt to detect BPA below this level. In the scientific world, the LOQ can be considered zero. This allowed SIGG to legally (or should I say, deceptively) claim that their bottles leach no BPA.
This liner, which was the focus of the study, at one time was described as a “water based epoxy resin” by SIGG. Those words have now been removed from their website, but it continues to be displayed on product web sites such as Amazon.com. According to Wikipedia, “most common epoxy resins are produced from a reaction between epichlorohydrin and bisphenol-A.” Another interesting fact is that BPA epoxy resins were co-invented by Dr. Pierre Castan of Switzerland, the same country in which SIGG bottles are manufactured. Dr. Castan’s work was then licensed by Ciba, Ltd. of Switzerland which is now one of the three major epoxy resin producers in the world.
In summary, we have learned: 1) the liner is made of a “water based epoxy resin”; 2) most epoxy resins contain BPA; 3) BPA epoxy resins were co-invented by a Swiss scientist; 4) one of the three largest manufacturers of epoxy resins is a Swiss company; 5) SIGG bottles are manufactured in Switzerland; 6) SIGG paid a for-profit lab to do an “independent” study where not all levels of BPA were tested; 7) SIGG has deceptively used this study to claim their bottles do not leach any BPA; and lastly 8) at one time they described the liner as a “water based epoxy resin” on their website, but it has since been removed. At this point you may still be asking yourself, are SIGG water bottles safe? The reality is that there isn’t enough information to say for sure. Until SIGG releases more information, you are going to have to use your best judgment to decide if you want to believe what SIGG is marketing and take the risk of your water bottle leaching a dangerous chemical such as BPA. In my opinion, I would rather go with a stainless steel water bottle, such as Klean Kanteen, which has been proven to be safe and doesn’t leach any chemicals.