January 25, 2010
At Nestlé Waters North America, the safety and quality of our bottled water products are our top priorities. We regularly conduct tests on all of our bottles and our waters for safety, quality and performance, and closely monitor external scientific research on plastic safety. Recently, there has been much public discussion about the presence of bisphenol-A — commonly referred to as BPA — and its use in a wide variety of food and beverage packaging.
BPA is not present in our bottled water packaging smaller than three gallons. Our single-serve bottles (typically 1.5 liters and smaller) are made from PET plastic (marked with the “1” symbol), which is flexible and lightweight. Our three-liter, one-gallon and 2.5-gallon sizes are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), identified by the “2” symbol.
Our three- and five-gallon bottles are made from polycarbonate, a strong, clear and reusable type of plastic. Polycarbonate (identified by the “7” symbol) is used in a wide range of food storage containers, and is commonly found in the epoxy resin lining of canned food products. It is also found in other products such as lab equipment, medical devices and clear plastic utensils, as well as PVC pipes, sometimes used in municipal water delivery systems.
Polycarbonate is one polymer that contains trace levels of BPA. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a limit for the amount of BPA to which people can be exposed orally (referred to as an “oral reference dose”) according to body weight. Based on that limit of 0.023 milligrams of BPA per pound of body weight per day, a child would need to drink at least 150 gallons, and an average male would need to consume 1,093 gallons, of Nestlé Waters bottled water from a polycarbonate three- or five-gallon container per day to reach the oral reference dose.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not prohibited the use of BPA in any food products or advised adults to avoid exposure. In fact, in its reexamination of the issue in January 2010, the FDA cautioned against making any changes in food packaging or consumption by either industry or consumers that could jeopardize food safety or reduce intake of food needed for good nutrition. However, the FDA also stated that studies of the chemical provide reason for some concern about BPA’s potential health effects on fetuses and young children. The FDA went on to say there are significant uncertainties regarding the interpretations of the BPA studies, and will therefore pursue additional research to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the potential risks.
Nestlé Waters’ most recent tests show that, 30 days after bottling and sealing, the water inside the bottles had non-detectable levels of BPA when analyzed at detection limits of less than 1.0 part per billion. This is a very low detection limit achieved with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Unlike many other food or beverage products packaged in polycarbonate, Nestlé Waters’ bottled water products are not hot-filled nor are the contents pasteurized. Since heat increases the likelihood of migration of BPA, our bottles are much less subject to migration than other potential everyday sources of BPA.
While our tests show there are no detectable levels of BPA in our home and office bottles, we understand consumers may be concerned. We are actively researching alternative materials and expect to provide an update later this year.
To maintain the high quality of our bottled water products, we recommend people store all of our products, including our 3- and 5-gallon bottles, in a cool, clean, dark or shaded location, out of direct sunlight, as they would any other packaged food product.
For more information on plastic safety, please visit our Web site www.nestlewatersnorthamerica.com.