Plastic fantastic lovers, hold on to your lids: Nalgene recently announced it will stop making colorful, transparent water bottles out of polycarbonate, which contains the suspected hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A or BPA. Talk about rapid market response! The company's announcement follows a recent release of draft findings by the U.S. National Toxicology Program which, based on 250 animal studies, warned that BPA poses a potential danger to human health.

"The possibility that bisphenol A may alter human development cannot be dismissed," the report said.

The chemical was recently found in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans by the amazing U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which somehow manages to sample all of us without our noticing. Just how did BPA get inside of us, we'd like to know? We may never get a definitive answer, since ethics prevents testing it on humans (thank goodness).

However, BPA has been observed to leach out of polycarbonate plastic into liquids under certain conditions, such as when the plastic is heated, scratched or worn. Because sports bottles (and baby bottles, for that matter) are a ubiquitous and often-dropped warm weather accessory, the negative conditions are likely being met a lot of the time. Nalgene is switching to a BPA-free plastic, Tritan copolyester, that shares only the good qualities of its hormone-challenging cousin. Tritan bottles are already available in Nalgene's OTG line and the Camelbak line at REI

Starting now, Nalgene's new "Everyday" Tritan series is for sale on its website as well as those of REI and other retailers who carry Nalgene products.

Story by Mindy Pennybacker. This article originally appeared in Plenty in April 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008