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BPA in Aluminum Bottles continued...

“If you pick up an aluminum bottle from your super-cheap discount retailer, you can’t be so sure what’s in it,” Belcher tells WebMD, “Especially aluminum, because they do require a lining of some sort.”

Sometimes, that sprayed-on liner is made with an epoxy resin that contains BPA.

“It may be aluminum on the outside, but if it’s plastic on the inside or this epoxy, it’s the same thing as a polycarbonate bottle,” says Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C.

Experts say that epoxy liner usually looks copper-colored and may feel slightly tacky to the touch, but it may also not feel like anything but bare metal, making it tough to know when it’s there.

“For the consumer, this is a tricky issue, to try to boil this down to some simple, useful tips that people can use to distinguish products,” Lunder says. “This study is kind of showing that you can’t just look at what’s outside of the container, you need to know some specifics about what’s on the inside.”

One thing people can do to reduce their exposure, Lunder says, is to carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions about how to use the bottles.

The study found that epoxy-lined bottles released even more BPA when the water was heated before it was poured in.

BPA-Free Claims May Hold Water

The good news is that some companies that make reusable water bottles have already listened to consumer concerns about BPA and removed it from a newer generation of materials for their containers.

Those bottles, which say "BPA-Free" on the packaging, largely live up to their promises, the study showed.

Two containers, an aluminum bottle with a newer kind of proprietary liner and a next-generation plastic bottle, both had low-to-undetectable BPA levels in the test.

That’s an important finding, researchers point out, because “BPA-free” really doesn’t have any regulatory meaning or definition. Consumers are left to trust companies about their claims.

The study also exonerated uncoated stainless steel bottles.

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