The SIGG Saga

After posting my last blog all about hope, and concluding that "there are still good people out there" and "honest companies still making quality products," I happened upon the Healthy Child Healthy World site and my jaw dropped to discover The SIGG Storm - Confessions of a BPA User

I had just purchased a new SIGG bottle for my toddler earlier in the day, thinking she only has one and I am constantly cleaning it so it would be nice to have a back-up. I have two SIGG bottles that I use daily for myself, and each of my boys have one that are all banged up and used daily as well. Whenever we go out we carry our own water and so they have gotten lots of use. We bought the bottles two years ago after following the debate over the safety of BPA in plastics, and concluding that we did not want to take a chance with the health of our family. We did our research, many sites listed SIGG bottles under the heading BPA-Free Water Bottles, we felt confident that they were made in Europe which has very strict health standards compared to other nations, and we could pick them up while grocery shopping at our local Whole Foods without having to order and pay shipping. So, much to my disdain, I was beyond mad when I heard that as a loyal customer and educated consumer I had been misled.

According to SIGG CEO, Steve Wasik, "To be clear, all SIGG bottles made since August 2008 contain our new BPA free EcoCare liner. SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008 have the former water-based epoxy liner which contains trace amounts of BPA. These bottles have been thoroughly tested and showed 0% leaching of BPA. It is easy to determine which liner you have, as they are of 2 distinctly different colors. Visit www.MySIGG.com/liner to see photos comparing the two." Basically the EcoCare liner has a dull, pale yellow appearance while the former liner has a shiny, copper bronze appearance.

Apparently, there was an industry memo to be released claiming this small little redacted fact, and my guess is that SIGG wanted to be the first to tell its' customers. But, is it a little too late? With an influx of consumer emails and online posts, they have initiated a voluntary exchange program of your old bottle for new ones with the new "EcoCare liner" (note: not a recall, because they claim that the BPA does not leach from the old liners), and you have to ante up the shipping to send it back. But in an update on SIGG's website just this week, they are closing this program on October 31, 2009, so you better send them back soon.

I went out yesterday to a local Nature Center that carries Kleen Kanteens and bought a complete new set for my family of five. And, when I told a friend about it all, who had a nicely well-worn SIGG in hand, she was outraged, went straight to our local Whole Foods and they exchanged it for her there for a stainless steel SIGG. I will probably do that to have back-ups, because I refuse to spend one more penny even in shipping to a company that misled in a big way. But, I am not sure I could even trust my kids to drink out of anything from them at this point. When you feel let-down, you have to stand up! And, in this case, a company that was one of the leaders in reusable water bottles may have lost a huge and very loyal customer base for good.

For more discussion on the controversy, see these sites:

http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/the_sigg_storm_-_confessions_of_a_bpa_user/
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/08/sigg-update-did-we-get-it-right.php?dcitc=th_rss
http://www.momgogreen.com/  - there is a blog on Sept. 1 and Aug. 21 (scroll down to find posts)
http://www.reusablebags.com/help.php?id=13#SAFE
http://www.zrecommends.com/detail/two-new-bpa-free-problems-that-could-drive-away-sigg-users

And, for some alternative reusable water bottles, including choices for baby and kids:

http://www.kleankanteen.com/index.html
http://healthychild.org/live-healthy/shop-healthy/category/85/141/
http://www.lifefactory.com

Angela Malson