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is a BPA-free water bottle really better? a guide to BPA and how to shop safer for your family

is a BPA-free water bottle really better? a guide to BPA and how to shop safer for your family

I sometimes joke about how, as a kid, I hardly ever drank a drop of water. Now, the whole family carries a water bottle nearly everywhere we go, myself and my kid included. But, not all water bottles are created equally. If you’ve done any amount of shopping for water bottles, you’ve potentially heard of Bisphenol-A—more commonly known as BPA. 

According to health experts, it’s best to get a BPA-free water bottle. But that’s not the only requirement you should have when shopping. It can get confusing, so we’re here to help with more information about BPA, how to avoid it, and what you should look for instead.


what is BPA?

According to the Natitional Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical that’s been produced “in large quantities” since the 1950s. It’s mostly used to create a type of plastic called “polycarbonate” or PC. Our society’s demand for PC has remained steady because of its strength and ability to make transparent materials (think: windows!).  

a young child drinks from a clear, BPA-free water bottle in a field
There are better alternatives—like this BPA-free Tritan™ water bottle

We now know that BPA poses health risks, but PC is embedded in our day-to-day life, used for a wide variety of common items, like windows, eyewear, medical devices, food storage, and—the main focus of this article—water bottles.

why should you avoid BPA?

BPA can leach from the plastic used in your food storage containers or water bottles, into your food and beverages, and, eventually, make its way into your body. BPA can even find its way into breast milk. 

That being said, it’s tough to completely avoid BPA because of its widespread use, which is also why there’s so much concern. In the early 2000s, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found BPA in 93% of surveyed Americans. The FDA reports that small exposures to BPA don’t pose a threat to your health—however, it's still considered an “endocrine disruptor,” which means it’s capable of blocking or interfering with your body’s natural hormone processes. Endocrine disruptors (even in small amounts) have been found to have long-term impacts on things like your:

  • Attention span 
  • Immune system
  • Metabolism
  • Reproductive health

For your children, BPA and other endocrine disruptors can also have an impact on puberty, resulting in premature development. 

Fortunately, since that early 2000s study, more options for BPA-free products have entered the market for you and your children (and BPA was outlawed in baby bottles entirely!). So, luckily, you now have more options for limiting your family’s exposure to BPA. 

BPA-free is important… but it’s not enough

When you’re shopping for water bottles, looking for BPA-free brands is a great place to start—but it’s not always enough. 

Sometimes, the plastic used in place of BPA simply contains a different kind of toxic chemical, so you’re not actually doing your or your child’s health any favors. When in doubt, refer to the below list of materials which are considered safe. 

  • Silicone
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Stainless Steel
  • Tritan™ plastic

These materials are considered chemically nonreactive—that’s a fancy way of saying they don’t leach chemicals into food and other materials. So, you won’t get a sip of water with a side of an endocrine disruptor. 

BPA-free water bottle recommendations

insulated non-toxic water bottles

There are a few things I look for when buying a non-toxic water bottle for my kid:

  • Safe materials
  • Easy to use 
  • Kid-approved (i.e., mine likes the colors/designs—the water bottle doesn’t serve its purpose if she doesn’t use it)

You are reading this on the for kids website, so this probably won’t come as a huge shock, but we love the for kids insulated drink bottles

a close-up image of a for kids water bottle that appears to be held by a child

The insulated wall is made with stainless steel, and the straw and lid are made with silicone (all safe materials!). My three-year-old can open and shut the lid by herself and easily drink from the angled straw. 

Another reason we love this BPA-free kid’s water bottle? According to, it keeps drinks cold for 8 hours (or longer, depending on the size you get)—and they aren’t lying. We just took her water bottle to the beach during a heat wave, and she had cold water all day long. 

author's daughter sitting on the beach with a for kids insulated water bottle next to her
The for kids insulated water bottle is (literally) attached to my daughter's hip!

more non-toxic drink bottles

A more lightweight alternative to an insulated bottle is the for kids Tritan™ drink bottle. Tritan™ is a BPA-free plastic that offers some of the same benefits associated with PC—but without the toxins. It’s durable and transparent, offering a see-through design.

The Tritan™ drink bottle is also available with a sports spout lid, designed for kids three and up who might benefit from the free-flowing spout. With a silicone lid and Tritan™ base, you know your kids are hydrating safely with a drink bottle that’s built to last. 

a girl drinks from a pink sports spout
the  Tritan™ drink bottle with the sports spout (credit: @allabouteverly)

BPA-free sippy cups

For younger toddlers and babies, for kids also makes BPA-free sippy cups, training cups, and 360 cups. No matter where you are on your child’s hydration journey, you can navigate it safely with silicone and stainless steel products. 

a close-up shot of a for kids sippy cup between a baby's feet

My favorite thing about these cups is that they’re truly leakproof. Babies and toddlers are messy enough without a spill in the diaper bag, so I appreciate that has this covered. 

meet for kids

When two moms decided to make mealtimes easier for parents, for kids was the result. They created a loyal base of mom-fans in Australia before making their way to the US with safe products that are easy for kids to use. Their hydration products stand out above anything else I’ve used—so I’ll take a step back and let you shop for yourself!

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