I got my first SIGG because of my concerns about BPA and, well, because they were prettier than the stainless steel options. When others started to ask about them, I gave the same spiel. I reasoned that if it was good enough for me, of course it was good enough for your kids, my students and the world. In fact, the very first time I appeared on The Oprah Show, I laid down the line and said I could not promote the bottles in its giveaway because they were #7 polycarbonates, known to leach Bisphenol-A. The producers ended up replacing them with another kind of plastic bottle because they already had a deal set up with the company. But when it came to the bottles I talked about on-air, I spoke about SIGGs.
At no point over the past few years, in the handful of conversations and e-mail exchanges I have had with SIGG's PR firm Truth Be Told, were my perceptions that the bottles were free from BPA corrected. For the record, I don't think I said they were BPA-free, but that's really not the point, is it? You trusted me to tell you the truth. And I did, to the extent that I knew it. And Truth Be Told did, too, to the extent that they knew it. My August 27, 2009, e-mail exchange with a member of the TBT team and follow-up phone conversation with another member demonstrate they did not. "As you can imagine, we were surprised and disappointed as well—we found out this information only a few days before you did," says the TBT staffer.
In my conversation with Steve Wasik, he said SIGG did not reveal the BPA information because of a nondisclosure agreement they had with their manufacturer. He said he thought it was enough that their studies—indicating there was no leaching—were sufficient. Yet, at the same time, SIGG began development on a new BPA-free liner back in 2006. When I asked Wasik about this contradiction, he pushed the responsibility back on to the supply chain, stating: "Our confidentiality agreement with our suppliers would not allow us to talk about the liner. ... We couldn't just come out and talk about what they were made of since we were bound by our old suppliers not to talk about the ingredients." Wasik punctuated his statement with a rhetorical question, "Could we have been more transparent? We made a mistake and probably should have said something, but we did not have a new liner to go with." Finally, he went on to remind me that testing indicated the bottles were always "100 percent safe" and did not leach BPA.