The Gear Junkie Scoop: Thinksport Water Bottle

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By Stephen Regenold

"Free of bisphenol-A. Free of polycarbonate. Free of phthalates. Free of cadmium. Free of lead. Free of PVC." Thus read the bullet points dissecting the makeup of Thinksport's 350 Silver water bottle. The $15.99 stainless-steel bottle comes from a Texas company that touts itself as addressing "the growing concern of toxic chemicals leaching from consumer products."

Last summer, upon the news that the popular SIGG aluminum water bottles contained the chemical bisphenol-A, an endocrine disruptor that mimics the female hormone estrogen, aluminum was out and stainless-steel bottles were suddenly cast into the light. A backlash against SIGG and aluminum bottles--echoing a backlash a couple years ago against polycarbonate bottles, which also contain bisphenol-A--prompted many companies to jump into the stainless-steel market.

Unlike aluminum bottles, most steel bottles have no synthetic lining. There are fewer chemical concerns. Cold steel, with cold water inside, no plastic taste, made of metal mined from the Earth! That was the draw, elemental and pure. Companies including Klean Kanteen, Innate, Laken, Nathan Performance Gear, CamelBak, Guyout, Stanley, New Wave Enviro, and Nalgene were in on the stainless game.

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Thinksport is still riding the wave. It is a company founded by Kevin Brodwick, a man who worked with a laboratory funded by the National Institutes of Health, according to the company bio. Brodwick's lab specifically focused on testing products for "estrogenic activity," which is the "largest type of endocrine disruptor." Hmm, bells are ringing again for that old foe bisphenol-A.

The Thinksport company bio continues: "Brodwick became aware of the extent to which harmful chemicals were present in everyday products. After unsuccessfully convincing several large companies to alter formulation, Brodwick took it upon himself to create an alternative line of consumer products."

Today, Thinksport makes sunscreen, yoga mats, and water bottles. All are touted as supporting the company's goal of creating safe products that are "sustainable, eco-friendly, super functional, and elegant."

In use, Thinksport's 350 Silver water bottle seems to support the above goals. You have to take the corporate word on sustainability and eco-friendliness. But the "super functional and elegant" parts are pretty much true.

The double-walled bottle, one of four bottles in the company's line, is vacuum-sealed like a Thermos. It keeps liquid temperature--hot or cold--stable for longer. Its capacity, 12 oz (350 ml), is enough for everyday use or short hikes. (A 750-ml size is also available.)

Unlike some stainless-steel purists--the Klean Kanteen bottles come to mind--the Thinksport 350 does have some "plastic." There is polypropylene under its screw-on metal cap. Your drink will contact this material as it sloshes inside.

But there is no liner in the Thinksport bottle. It's pure stainless steel inside and all around. There are no phthalates. As noted, it's free of cadmium, and, thankfully, free of lead. Your water is safe, I presume, in this "sustainable, eco-friendly" vessel of molded steel.

--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

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