We’ve all been hearing a lot about BPA over the last couple years, and it seems like everyone has a different opinion. So, to help make sense of this complicated — and controversial — topic, we’ve sorted through some of the information out there and come up with this cheat sheet on what BPA is and why some people think it should be avoided. We hope it helps our customers make a more informed decision in the future about what products they buy for themselves and their families.

WHAT IS BPA?

BPA—Bisphenol A— is a chemical that is often found in plastic bottles and other plastic products. Since the 1960s, BPA has been used in the manufacturing of many hard plastic food containers, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles. Recently, however, BPA has been identified as a xenoestrogen, an endocrine disruptor that affects hormonal messaging in the body by imitating or enhancing the effects of estrogens.

While research on BPA remains disputed, some studies have linked the chemical to miscarriages, breast and prostate cancer and reproductive dysfunction. Policy makers, consumer advocacy groups and researchers are particularly concerned with the potential threat the chemical might pose to infants, young children and pregnant women — who can expose the chemical to their unborn children.

Since around 2008, concern about the chemical’s health effects has put increased pressure on manufacturers to move away from BPA, and consumers — especially parents — have increasingly avoided products known to contain the chemical. Polar Bottles however, have always been produced with BPA-free plastic, assuring our customers that our bottles are completely safe.

IS BPA BAD FOR ME?

The scientific community and policy makers have not taken a unified position on BPA and whether it adversely affects health. Over the past several years, however, studies have tied the chemical to a range of health issues.

According to The Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.), for example, reports from animal studies link BPA exposure to health problems as serious as reproductive disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Federal research on the effects to human health is ongoing.

IS BPA STILL ALLOWED?

While some nations, including Canada, have declared BPA a toxic chemical, the F.D.A. has not yet taken a firm stance to ban it entirely in the United States. It has, however, acknowledged some health risks and consequently supported policies to reduce the public’s exposure. In July 2012, for example, in light of concerns surrounding the chemical’s potential effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children, the administration announced that baby bottles and children’s food containers could no longer be manufactured using the chemical.

The F.D.A., with the help of other government consumer health organizations, is currently organizing additional studies to confirm the effects of BPA on human health. Federal officials are also drafting plans for better regulation and oversight over BPA in future manufacturing.

DO POLAR BOTTLE PRODUCTS CONTAIN BPA OR OTHER HARMFUL CHEMICALS?

Fortunately, Polar Bottle products are (and always have been) made from plastics that do not contain BPA or any other leaching chemicals, like Phthalates.

Phthalates are compounds that are frequently added to vinyl to make it soft and flexible. They are often used in soft plastic toys and PVC products. Phthalates are toxic and, if used in a bottle, can leach from the plastic into the water.

Our insulated sport bottle is made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE #4). Our Half Twist™ ERGO™ insulated bottle is made from HDPE plastic #2, and The Thermaluxe™ vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle is made of food grade 18/8 stainless steel. The caps on our insulated bottles are made of HDPE, and the valves are urethane. The Half Twist™ caps are made of BPA- and Phthalate-free Tritan™ plastic, fitted with a medical-grade silicone gasket.