Crazy hazy today.
And the winner is...Klean Kanteen. Hands down, no question. And here's why:
Let's first compare the two. SIGG is a single walled (though they just started making doubled walled in China) aluminum water bottle, made in Switzerland out of virgin aluminum (with aluminum being the best truly recyclable material, this is not very eco after all) that is lined with a softish amber (it has to be lined) "epoxy based resin". SIGG is adamant that it is not a plastic but based on the definition of an epoxy, I don't know how that can be. Their slick CEO Steve Wasik does a nifty tap dance and never fully answers questions about the lining and passes it off to the makers wanting to hold the info. His words seem carefully chosen and vague.
Klean Kanteen is a solid, food grade, 18/8 stainless steel bottle that is not lined, made responsibly in China. Virgin stainless steel is almost unheard of which makes stainless steel appealing for it's high recycled content and its recyclable ability. Stainless steel is next in line to glass in terms of safety with a few concerns about nickel or chromium leaching. Luckily, our bodies actually need a minimum level of each for functioning and are capable of processing it. After all we cook and brew with food grade stainless steel.
So the real issue comes down to this. What the heck is the lining in the SIGG bottles made of? I mean give us the whole story, full disclosure, the ingredients - let's have it.
No one knows. It's a secret. Maybe a dirty little secret.
SIGG claims it can't divulge the lining ingredients for fear of copy cats. They claim their proprietary right to secrecy like Coca-Cola. Last I saw, the ingredients were on a coke can. There is a lot of discussion on green forums about the subject, much back and forth between the faithfuls. However, in the Land of Green, this lack of transparency just doesn't cut it. SIGG boasts meeting FDA requirements which as most of us know is pretty meaningless. So what are they hiding? Me thinks BPA.
BPA, bisphenol A, a chemical used for decades in resins, plastics and epoxy, has gotten a huge amount of press lately because of its ability to leach and cause health problems. Epoxy was co-invented by a Swiss, Dr. Pierre Caston, back in 1936 when he got an amber colored solid by mixing epichlorhydrin with...BPA. What a coincidence. As a severe hormone disruptor, BPA has been shown to cause many problems in animal studies even at very low levels, so much so that Canada has proposed banning BPA in baby bottles. Canada takes the better safe than sorry road. Yeh Canader, eh? BPA has recently been tested and found in canned foods in the range of 1.6 to 10 or more parts per billion, or PPB. Testing also can also take place at the smaller parts per trillion level, or PPT. In animal studies, very low levels of BPA in PPT have caused cell damage and cancer due to hormone disruption.
SIGG offers an independent study of their bottles to show their safety levels, though not exactly independent since SIGG paid for it. SIGG claims their bottles have been regularly tested extensively in Europe but have yet to cough up any studies despite being hounded. At close examination of this one independent study, the testers used a LOQ (limit of quantitation) of 2 PPB, which means they don't test for accuracy below that level. And in the scientific world, below the LOQ can be called zero, nothing, nada or "undetectable", because the calibration used doesn't go below the LOQ. How conveeeeenient. What's disturbing is that this gave SIGG permission to then claim that the test showed NO BPA leaching from their bottles. Now that's just plain twisting the truth as I see it. If tests can use the parts per trillion range, yet the chemistry lab uses a LOQ of 2 parts per billion and then declares the product BPA free, well ... you can draw your own conclusion. The lab was very careful in its wording saying that "no BPA was detectable above the LOQ". So if you're hanging your hat on this one, paid by SIGG study and declare SIGG totally safe, I have a covered bridge to sell you.
SIGG's marketing is nothing short of genius with long established tentacles and celeb endorsements but this dark shadow isn't going to go away. SIGG makes a big deal about great quality because of being Swiss Made (that's like saying if you've done this and that, you qualify for president) but SIGG was quick to go to China when they introduced their stainless steel bottles. Its time to look behind the curtain and find out the truth behind the lining. Until such time, I will stick to Klean Kanteen. I believe SIGG is hiding something, and you should too.
So don't just sit there. Write SIGG and ask for full disclosure. Write the EWG and ask them to do independent testing on SIGG bottles using PPT (parts per trillion). Don't settle for evasive answers or no answers at all. Don't be duped by fancy colors and cool designs, like Madonna and Crawford were.
Be healthy and safe drinking.