First BPA Class Action Lawsuit Announced!

It begins! A woman in California, no doubt under the expert legal advice of people who only have her best interests at heart, has filed a lawsuit against Nalgene alleging that they “knew, but downplayed risks, that a toxic substance in its popular… plastic sports bottles could leach into the bottles’ contents and sicken consumers.” The woman says she used Nalgene bottles for herself and her two daughters for years.

“They address the issue of BPA in their bottles (on their Web site); they cite the (Food and Drug Administration) stating that they see no problem with it. The problem is they didn’t cite the many other studies that show there is a risk and there is a great concern about the issue,” attorney Harold Hewell, who represents Felix-Lozano, said.

The lawsuit does not describe any physical ailment suffered by the plaintiffs and seeks unspecified damages.

“Nalgene sports bottle maker sued over toxic claims” [Reuters]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. irfan says:

    no damages? whats she suing over? being put at risk? can I sue the city for not fixing a bent stop sign even if it didnt cause any actual problems for me?

  2. SonicMan says:

    So the FDA does not say that it is toxic, and she has not had any ill effects from BPA. What is this suit about again?

    How do you sue for damages when there are none?

  3. cmdrsass says:

    So which lawyer is she related to?

  4. Krobar says:

    I may have to sue the Consumerist as reading some of the stories here may cause me to bust a gut.

    Also, carpal tunnel. Or something.

  5. huadpe says:

    @irfan: Yes, but the most you can be awarded is restitution (them fixing it) and attorney’s fees.

    Oh, yeah, attorney’s fees. Wonder why they’re participating in a suit where nobody was demonstrably harmed.

  6. FightOnTrojans says:

    I was *SO* expecting Gloria Allred to be the attorney behind this. If there’s an opportunity to get in front of a camera, she’ll take it.

  7. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    Man, I should’ve called my bookie and bet that this lawsuit would have come out of…KAH-LI-FORNIA.

    I just love driving my diesel car there, smoking cigarettes and oppressing ‘rights’.

  8. jimconsumer says:

    Wow, this is dumb. If I were Nalgene, I’d tell the court, “OK, we’ll pay for any medical expenses for anyone who has a verifiable medical condition due to the BPA in our bottles. Now, who here is suffering from this? Anyone?” *sound of crickets* .. “Yeah, that’s what we thought.”

    OK, BPA is supposedly bad, etc, but I’ve yet to see anyone with a verifiable, diagnosable problem over these and other similar bottles.

  9. spinachdip says:

    @TheSpatulaOfLove: Yes, it’s shocking when a citizen of the most populous state in the union is the first to do something. Truly shocking.

  10. Hachi says:


  11. WolfDemon says:

    Yeah this will be swamped in court because it has to affect you in some way. You can’t sue for something that may affect you in the future (Though I wish it were that way.) It’s like suing an arbitration company because they may screw you over in the future.

  12. bjarmson says:

    Let’s not be naive people. Major companies don’t stop making a product they’ve spent millions tooling-up for and for which they probably still have a huge inventory, just on a little nebulous evidence. They stonewall, call in their lawyers to discredit any evidence, continue to market the product. We’ve had major retailers pull the product and a major maker decide to switch to a different product in the week or so since the story was picked up by the mainstream media. The evidence seems to indicate most of these big players were aware of some info still undisclosed, and are now rushing to “do the right thing,” in order to stem lawsuits.

  13. bobpence says:

    I can see it now: Multiple key plastics get pulled from the market for no good reason, and everyone has to buy their kids Amish toys. And then we all sue the Amish because of splinters.

  14. azgirl says:

    Bisphenol a is not good for you, and if you are not convinced, read a chemical material safety data sheet on it.

  15. Ninjastorm66 says:

    @azgirl: Did you ever read a MSDS sheet for sodium chloride. That stuff is terrible for you.

    Oh wait, its salt…

  16. Hachi says:

    Why do retards always like to compare bio accumulative chemicals with salt?

    Get a life. What are you a chemical lobbyist?

  17. cynicalliberal says:

    @azgirl: The levels it leeches out are ridiculously small. Read the literature (studies not proprietary MSDSs), there’s far from anything concrete…

    In reality she should be suing the people who make polycarbonate baby bottles, a baby is far more susceptible to chemical exposure than adults. I hope this goes down in flames, this BPA thing is getting ridiculously overhyped over nothing really all that conclusive.

  18. ironchef says:

    risk does not equal to damage.

    This lawsuit isn’t going anywhere until they can prove a hard link with actual damage.

    The link between tobacco and cancer is about 10000x more obvious yet look at that legal uphill climb that too just to get to a class action.

  19. Concerned_Citizen says:

    She already lost before this started. If you can’t show you were effected negatively by the product, clearly you have zero damages. Just because a chemical can be harmful, doesn’t mean it harmed you. Everyone can have different reaction to chemicals, and to the majority of people this chemical may have no effect.

  20. Leah says:

    @bjarmson: this isn’t some case like cigarettes or something. If people were reporting acute toxicity or other clear side effects of using bottles with BPA, then we would be talking. In this case, retailers are pulling BPA products because of *consumer* demand.

    I’m a biologist, and I still use my Nalgene bottles. The recommendations say you shouldn’t heat your bottles or use harsh detergents. Actually, the first study to find an issue with BPA was not actually a direct study of BPA. A research was looking at some reproductive something in rodents. One of her lab assistants used the wrong detergent on the cages (a much harsher detergent than recommended), and they noticed a huge amount of abnormalities. But plenty of researchers used plastics with BPA for endocrine studies before this, and no one noticed any difference in endocrine function. So, I figure that using gentle soap and only keeping cool or room temp water in my Nalgene is the way to go until studies show otherwise.

  21. azgirl says:

    “More Doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette! For 30 days test Camels in T-zone. T for throat, T for Taste.”

    I assess chemicals all day for my job, and my experience has shown that these long lasting materials have issues. Why risk it? If you are 50 and a smoker, I guess a little BPA won’t change you much- but children and people still in their reproductive years really should be looking at these things.

  22. nadmonk says:

    I knew there was a reason I liked the non-polycarbonate Nalgene bottles better.

    Although to be truely organic I’m switching wine pouches I make at home from salt cured leather havested from road kill.

  23. cronomorph says:


    Well, if you’re asking us to not be naive, let us not forget the history of litigation over silicon breast implants. I seem to recall people suing these companies out of existence over nebulous claims that ended up being false.

    Companies know that right now the public is anti big business, and so they’re gonna preemptively remove anything that people might sue over. There are plenty of stupid Americans who would think “Business bad! Chemicals bad!” and award millions in damages because 100 people all got a cold after drinking from one of these bottles. Heck, 100 people could have 100 different problems, and all of them would be attributed to this, even if there was no conclusive evidence. The correlary would be enough to convince a lot of people.

  24. S-the-K says:

    If she has been using the product and can not demonstrate a physical ailment caused by the product or show any actual harm done, the judge should throw the case out at the very least. A better result would be for the judge to summarily rule in favor of the defendant and order the plaintiff to pay all court costs and defendant’s legal fees.

  25. chartrule says:

    the only people that make money out of a class action suit is the lawyers

  26. MonkeyMonk says:

    I agree this is a silly lawsuit. The use of BPA in baby bottles is a much more serious case as babies are potentially more susceptible to harm from the chemicals — plus high-heat washing and heat sterilization are required steps for using baby bottles.

    My wife and I switched to Dr. Browns’ glass bottles a while ago although they were wicked hard to find. My guess is Dr. Brown is only making them available in tiny amounts just so they can claim down the line that they were being proactive about the problem.

  27. TheSmartMama says:

    The research for BPA exposure shows the strongest link in laboratory animals between low level exposures during pregnancy (fetal exposure) and infant exposure and adverse health effects. Fetuses and infants don’t produce the liver enzyme necessary to metabolize BPA – unlike adults. Adults process BPA in about 10 hours. But an infant at 3 months only produces the necessary enzyme at 25% of adult rate. So, fetal and infant exposure are more critical, at least in laboratory animals, and the conditions that cause leaching in polycarbonate plastic are the conditions that you might encounter using baby bottles. So, it seems prudent for parents of infants to switch out of polycarbonate plastic baby bottles. The regulatory agency that contends that BPA is safe, the FDA, assumes exposure for a 3 month old infant using a polycarbonate bottle with powdered infant formula, at 13 ug/l per day. For the same reasons, women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should probably avoid BPA to assure no fetal exposure early on, when Dr. Randy Jirtle has found the most significant effects.

  28. chubba-baby says:

    @Leah: Good summary of the initial findings. Close enough to what happened. I worked in the lab that it happened in when it happened. It was the animal facility staff that used, in essence, a floor cleaner in the cage wash cycle. The bottles and cages discolored and turned cloudy. After that, everything went south. It wasn’t a controlled experiment- Curr. Biol. 13 (2003) 546-553 that went looking for a cause and effect relationship- and that was the big point of the plastics industry. So, another study was done, this time looking for a cause & effect. The dosage of BPA from the bottles that leeched out into the liquid was enough to cause germ cell defects.
    PLoS Genet. 2007 Jan 12;3(1):e5.

    There are more studies coming out of the same lab (I’ve since left), and the findings are not surprising when you consider that polycarbonate was originally discovered & used as a synthetic estrogen replacement.

    I’m not trying to be a scaremonger- there’s enough going on in the world without this.

    I think many comments get it right when they note the infant / baby bottle connection. Especially female infants. All oocytes that female will ever have are in her ovaries before birth. Keep exposing them to *any* chemical, and you’re going to see results down the road.
    Start exposing them to chemicals as the mother consumes a hot or warm chocy beverage from a PC container, or reheats her meal in a PC container, and you’re affecting that child before they even have a chance.

    That’s perhaps the base of the suit-

  29. TheSmartMama says:

    It wasn’t polycarbonate that was first looked at for synthetic estrogen, but its monomer – BPA. BPA was considered along with DES in the 1930’s. DES was used instead. It wasn’t unti the 1950’s that scientists discovered that they could polymerize BPA and give us polycarbonate plastic.