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Two Nalgene bottles for laboratory use. These bottles include the NFPA 704 color code for hazardous materials identification.

Nalgene is the main product line of Nalge Nunc International, a distributor and manufacturer of plastic laboratory containers that has diversified into the field of containers for outdoor sports. The Nalgene Outdoor division is responsible for Nalge Nunc's outdoor product lines. The Nalgene Packaging line focuses on vials, bottles, bags and carboys for packaging, shipping, and storage and the Nalgene Laboratory division specializes in Nalge Nunc's tradiational laboratory market.

That original Nalgene line included jars, bottles, test tubes, graduated cylinders, Petri dishes, and the like. At the time of introduction, these products were helpful to laboratory workers such as chemists and biologists because they were shatterproof and lighter than glass. The properties of the respective plastics make them suitable for work with many materials, in various temperature ranges.

Contents

Nalgene Outdoor

In the 1970s, conservationists began discouraging the former wilderness approach of disposing of cans and glass containers by burning and burying, lest such debris clutter or otherwise damage wilderness and recreation areas, and some places began forbidding such materials by regulation. Nalgene products became popular replacements among backpackers for storing consumables; the light, wide-mouthed, HDPE and Lexan bottles were more secure than plastic bags, and found use for both liquids and solid foods.

A much-used one-litre narrow-mouth Nalgene bottle.

Originally, wilderness travelers purchased Nalgene products through laboratory-equipment suppliers (or perhaps got access to them in their workplaces). Company lore has it that the company president discovered that his son's Boy Scout troop was using Nalgene lab containers on campouts. Since then, the company has re-packaged and marketed items that most appeal to them for consumer sales through their line of Nalgene Outdoor Products.[1] By the late 1990s, the "Nalgene" trademark was recognized by many hikers and sales of the 1-litre wide-mouth bottle of translucent polycarbonate (originally typically grey, but now commonly in bright colors, often with custom labels made for the bottle retailer) with a screw-on plastic top that stays attached when the bottle is open, began to increase. Now, most hikers and others recognize the distinctive appearance of Nalgene-branded bottles. Its laboratory pedigree is suggested by the markings, in hundreds of millilitres, of the volumes contained when filled to the corresponding levels. The materials resist stains or absorbing odors, and permit filling the bottle with boiling water. The wide-mouth bottle is recommended over the newer, narrow-mouth bottles in sub-freezing conditions as well since it is easier to break through frozen ice in the wider mouth.

Products originated by other manufacturers, that are designed for compatibility with this item's overall dimensions or its 63 mm neck include:

  • Screw-on water-purifying filters
  • Stainless-steel collapsible-handle cups, for drinking and/or stove-top cooking, that store compactly with a Nalgene litre-bottle nested inside them
  • Insulated Nylon-fabric cases for Nalgene 1 litre bottles; features include stable attachment points and, in most cases, nesting for a cup
  • Snap-in plastic "splash guards" that narrow the neck opening to a size where drinking while in motion is less likely to cause spilling
  • Screw-in filters, which allow the user to add coffee grounds or tea, pour boiling water over the contents, seal the lid, and brew the beverage.
  • Screw on LED lights, creating a usable lantern with low power consumption.

Another widely available Nalgene Outdoor product is a 650-ml (22-fl oz) "All-Terrain" or "bike" bottle. The bottle itself is LDPE, and its screw top has two moving parts: a drinking nozzle that seals until snapped open by pulling on it, and a hinged Lexan dome, that when closed both snaps the nozzle closed and protects the nozzle against contamination. Unlike traditional Nalgene containers, this item can be damaged and potentially ruined by filling it with very hot water.

Recently, Nalgene has added hydration systems to its cycling and wilderness product line. The line features 1- to 3-litre bladders with hose-and-bite-valve assemblies in small back-carried packs (mostly under 1000 cubic inches (16 L) of additional storage). Nalgene offers the option of two different bladder materials for a choice of superior taste and bacteria resistance versus improved durability. In addition, the bladder on these products can be quickly detached from the hose and pack by a self-sealing connector on the bladder. These features seemed aimed at dissatisfaction in traditional hydration systems with problems of awkward filling and/or spilling water into gear that shares the pack.

Increased awareness of the importance of hydration - and perhaps a fad of wilderness chic - has led to the appearance of some Nalgene containers in urban and suburban settings like gyms, offices, and campuses. Many colleges give or sell Nalgene water bottles to their students, and Nalgene bottles are also customized and sold as retail promotions.

Possible Health Risks and Company Efforts to Resolve

In recent years, studies have suggested that polycarbonate plastics such as the ones Nalgene used may leach endocrine disruptors.[2] Nalgene denies that the quantity leached from their products posed a significant threat to health.[2] Among the secreted chemicals, Bisphenol A (BPA) is a concern as it binds to estrogen receptors, thus altering gene expression.[3][4][5] Other research has found that fixatives in polycarbonate plastics can cause chromosomal error in cell division called aneuploidy. Nalgene claims these chemicals are only potentially released from Nalgene products when used at temperatures outside of the designed range.

In November 2007, Mountain Equipment Co-op removed all hard, clear polycarbonate plastic water bottles (including Nalgene-branded product) from their shelves and no longer offers these items for sale. In December 2007, Lululemon made a similar move. In May 2008, REI removed Nalgene-branded polycarbonate water bottles and replaced them with BPA-free Nalgene bottles.

On April 18, 2008, Health Canada announced that Bisphenol A is "'toxic' to human health".[6] Canada is the first nation to make this designation.[7] On the same date, Nalgene announced it would phase out production of its Outdoor line of polycarbonate containers containing the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA).[8] Nalgene’s current product mix includes the recently launched Everyday line of bottles (made from Eastman's BPA-free TritanTM copolyester) and the original bottles made from BPA-free materials such as HDPE, LDPE, stainless steel, polypropylene and PET. [9]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Nalgene Outdoor Products History". http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/about/history.html. Retrieved 2008-09-29.  
  2. ^ a b "Nalgene's Statement on Toxins". http://www.nalgenelabware.com/techdata/technical/phthalates.asp.  
  3. ^ "Our Stolen Future: Scientists call for New Risk Assessment of Bisphenol-A and Reveal Industry Biases in Research". http://www.ourstolenfuture.com/NewScience/oncompounds/bisphenola/2005/2005-0413vomsaalandhughes.htm.  
  4. ^ "Endocrine Disruptor Group Bisphenol A Studies". http://endocrinedisruptors.missouri.edu/pdfarticles/pdflist.html. Retrieved 2007-02-20.  
  5. ^ Patricia A. Hunt et al. (2003). "Bisphenol A Exposure Causes Meiotic Aneuploidy in the Female Mouse". Current Biology 13 (7): 546–553. doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(03)00189-1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VRT-4893N7S-J&_user=458507&_handle=V-WA-A-W-WD-MsSAYWW-UUA-U-AABUZADCWU-AAWYAEYBWU-BDWVVYWUA-WD-U&_fmt=full&_coverDate=04%2F01%2F2003&_rdoc=2&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%236243%232003%23999869992%23413543!&_cdi=6243&view=c&_acct=C000022002&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=458507&md5=16bf9c2fee5bf51e436f49fa221f76fe#toc3.  , doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(03)00189-1
  6. ^ "Questions and Answers for Action on Bisphenol A Under the Chemicals Management Plan". http://www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/faq/bisphenol_a_qa-qr_e.html.  
  7. ^ globeandmail.com: National
  8. ^ [http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/PDFs/08NAL_BPA_PR.pdf "Nalgene to Phase Out Production of Consumer Bottles Containing BPA"] (PDF). http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/PDFs/08NAL_BPA_PR.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-29.  
  9. ^ "Nalgene Choice". http://www.nalgenechoice.com/everyday.html. Retrieved 2008-09-29.  

External links

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