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Do Nalgene Bottles Have Phthalates?

Phthalates have been widely used in plastic products for over 50 years and they can have a significant impact in your health.Phthalates have been eliminated in most consumer products over the last decade, but they’re still found in low quality plastic water bottles. I use my Nalgene water bottle almost everyday so I would hate to find out it contained phthalates and other dangerous chemicals.

Do Nalgene water bottles have phthalates? Modern Nalgene water bottles are phthalate, BPA, BPS, and BPF free, but your older water bottle might not be. Nalgene had to recall all of their older water bottles in 2008 due to BPA and other chemical concerns. They didn’t specifically state that the recall was due to phthalates, but most plastic products before that era used phthalates as a softener to stabilize the product.

So that doesn’t really answer my question. Modern Nalgene water bottles don’t have phthalates, but the juries still out on bottles made before the 2008 recall. So I decided to dig deeper to see what I could find.

Do Nalgene Water Bottles Have Phthalates?

As I mentioned above, modern Nalgene water bottles don’t have phthalates, BPA,BPS, and BPF, but what about bottles produced before the recall? I tried reaching out to Nalgene and didn’t get much of a response. So I can only judge based on what I know from researching phthalates. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look good!

Phtalates are referred to as “everywhere chemicals” by scientists, because they’re extremely common. They are used in making countless products that we see and use everyday. Phthalates can be found in almost every type of plastic product that doesn’t specifically mention that they’re phthalate free.

Phthalates help make plastics flexible so they don’t crack under pressure. I can’t say with 100% certainty, but it’s a safe bet that phthalates were used at some point over Nalgene’s 70+ year production process. Plastic manufactures have been using phthalates since the 1920’s and there wasn’t safety data talking about the dangers of phthalates 70 years ago.

Does that mean you need to get rid of your old Nalgene water bottle? I probably wouldn’t drink out of a product containing BPA and Phtalates everyday, but it’s not much of a concern with occasional use. Just pick up a new Nalgene (preferably Wide Mouth) if you’re really concerned.

Do you drink out of disposable bottles of water or soda? Every single water bottle and soda bottle is PETE #1 which means it contains phthalates. The amount of phthalates that you absorb while drinking from water bottles is inconsequential when compared to exposure from every other piece of plastic you touch throughout the day.

How Do I Know If My Nalgene Bottle Is BPA and Phthalate Free?

Nalgene rarely changes there design so you probably have no idea how old your bottle is. I have 5-10 bottles that I’ve bought randomly over the past 30 years and I have no idea when any of them were purchased. They vary in size a little bit, but they all look basically the same.

So how do I know if my Nalgene Bottle is BPA Free? There will be a BPA Free imprint on the bottom of your bottle. If that imprint isn’t there, it’s safe to assume the bottle contains BPA and Phthalates. The picture above shows what I’m talking about.

How Dangerous Are Phthalates? (what about BPA, BPF, and BPS)

We really don’t know how bad phthalates actually are at this point. They’ve been linked with hormonal imbalances and reproductive issues in men, but it’s hard to definitively prove what’s causing the issue. There has been a drastic decrease in male testosterone levels since phthalates and BPA have been introduced to consumer products.

More men are getting on testosterone replacement than ever before. Over 20 percent of men over age 60 are diagnosed with low testosterone levels and when you look at the data those results are seriously skewed. What doctors consider a “normal testosterone level” for a 60 year old man is half of what it was 30 years ago. Way more men would be considered testosterone deficient if we compared testosterone levels to the average levels of the 1950s.

There’s also a link to prenatal birth defects when a pregnant woman is exposed to phthalates. There’s a rise in infant hormonal imbalances and neurodegenerative deficiencies. Serious issues with brain development are a serious concern to a babies health.

Older Nalgene’s Are Primarily A Danger When Heated Up

Phthalates and BPA found in water bottles are known to leech into water under normal conditions, but you would be ingesting a very small amount. Ingesting dangerous chemicals is never great, but your body absorbs way more phosphate/BPA from touching plastic throughout the day.

The only time you should really worry about older Nalgene’s is when you heat them up. Plastic softens under heat and they release a crazy a chemicals. That’s one of the main reasons why some bowls are advertised as “microwave safe”. It rarely has anything to do with the bowl melting. Heating up non microwave safe food containers leech dangerous chemicals into the food.

Modern Nalgene’s May Still Have Hormone Altering Chemicals

Modern Nalgene’s are labeled as BPA, BPS, BPF and Phthalate safe, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have hormone altering chemicals. A study from CertiChem, a private lab in Austin tested 50 reusable BPA-free plastic containers.

They determined that most BPA Free containers (including Nalgene) leech estrogen-mimicking chemicals (non-BPA) into their contents. Nalgene was actually one of the safest products that they tested, but it still tested positive for synthetic estrogen after exposure to UV light. They were safe under normal conditions without exposure to heat or UV light.

So why is that a big deal? Can’t I just avoid heating up my Nalgene in the microwave? A Nalgene water bottle would be safe from a hormonal standpoint under normal conditions, but think about the primary market for the product. Nalgene water bottles are extremely popular in the backpacking and camping community.

Boiling water to purify it and then pouring it into your Nalgene can cause estrogen-mimicking chemicals to leak into the bottle. You also have an issue with UV Light Water Purifiers like the SteriPEN. The SteriPEN was even designed to be used specifically with Nalgene water bottles.