Polycarbonates are lightweight, strong, break-resistant plastics that have been used for years in many applications, including baby bottles and water bottles. Polycarbonates contain a chemical, bisphenol A (BPA). Over recent weeks, polycarbonate usage has become a hot news item, particularly after the Canadian government released a report in April that the chemical may pose some risk to infants. Currently the FDA is continuing to evaluate polycarbonates, but has not recommended that anyone stop using them. Wikipedia has more information about BPA and polycarbonates, including the current recommendations of governmental safety organizations around the world.
What does that mean if you’re looking to buy water bottles for a promotion? We would recommend individual buyers use their best judgment based on the information available. Polycarbonates have been used, and studied, for decades and are currently considered safe by the FDA. There are also plenty of non-polycarbonate water bottles to choose from as well.
One final tip: some publications have mistakenly said that the #7 recycling code means the item is made out of polycarbonate, which is actually not true. Type seven in the plastic recycling codes is actually Other, which includes polycarbonates, but also includes other types of plastic that do not contain BPA.