The Green Blog

Et tu, Sigg?

It turns out that some SIGG aluminum water bottles had tiny amounts of BPA. It turns out that some SIGG aluminum water bottles had tiny amounts of BPA. (Associated Press/File)
By Beth Daley
Globe Staff / September 7, 2009

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Excerpts from the Globe’s environmental blog.

Even I, an environmental reporter who should know better, fell victim to the Hello Kitty Sigg bottle.

I’ve written a lot in the past two years about the growing concern over bisphenol A, which is used in baby bottles, sippy cups, and the linings of canned goods. It can leach out of the containers and be ingested. Research on laboratory animals shows that low levels of BPA might cause developmental problems in fetuses and young children.

I tried to reduce my family’s use of food cans, which use BPA to prevent corrosion. I threw out the hand-me-down, scratched sippy cups my friends had bequeathed to me for my 3-year-old. And I bought an aluminum Sigg bottle for my daughter.

I should have known better.

In April 2008, during an online Globe chat with a BPA expert, a reader asked if Sigg bottles were safe. Mia Davis of Clean Water Action warned that she did not know. Because aluminum has been linked to health problems, she noted, the cans are sometimes coated with a BPA resin. She said she had asked Sigg, but all the company told her was their resin did not leach BPA. That did not answer her question. She asked again. The company said it was proprietary information.

Now we know.

Last month, Sigg acknowledged the resin in bottles made before August 2008 had “trace amounts’’ of BPA. An Associated Press story notes the company had known about it since 2006. I e-mailed and called the company for a response, but have not heard back.

Any parent would want to know if a drinking container contained such a controversial chemical. If you are going to bill yourself as an eco-friendly company, be eco-friendly. And that includes being straightforward. Otherwise you’ll lose customers.

You’ve lost this one.

Strange sea level rise
You probably didn’t notice in June and early July, but tides in New England were as much as a foot higher than predicted.

The unusual phenomenon, brought on by a rare combination of persistent northeast winds and a weakened ocean current, highlights a growing body of research examining sea level variation from one region to another. Such differences are important to understand as sea levels rise because of warming ocean waters and melting glaciers.

“It averaged six inches higher [in the Boston area] during the peak in early July and was as much as a foot higher in Cape Cod,’’ said Mike Szabados, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The ocean is dynamic and it’s not uncommon to have anomalies. . . . What made this event unique was its breadth, intensity, and duration.’’

NOAA scientists observed water levels six inches to two feet higher from Maine to Florida, with the greatest change in sea level recorded in Baltimore and other mid-Atlantic areas.

After analyzing data from tide stations and buoys, the scientists found that weakening of an oceanic current that feeds into the Gulf Stream, along with steady northeast winds, contributed to the tides. The weakening was greatest in the mid-Atlantic, which is why tides were highest there.

While the tides were strong, they still paled in comparison to what occurs in during a northeaster.