I have several Tervis ™ cups in my house and I refuse to drink out of them. Every single one of them was a gift to my husband except for a princess one my daughter got, that she has grown attached to but try to never give to her to drink out of. There is a Tervis cup craze going on and it has been growing since last year. Last Christmas I believe 4 new Tervis cups came into our house.
I decided to figure out what they were made of and did they have BPA in them. I never saw BPA free written on anything related to their products. I went to their website and this is what it said about its BPA status (see it directly here):
We are committed to delivering the highest quality, most durable, and safest tumblers in the world. To that end we subject our tumblers to extensive testing by independent testing facilities to ensure that our product exceeds the strictest safety requirements of the FDA. In 2009, we began the process of converting our tumblers to Eastman Tritan™ – a new generation polymer. This conversion enables us to eliminate a step in the manufacturing process of Tervis tumblers while upholding our quality standards. Furthermore, Eastman Tritan™ contains no Bisphenol A. As of January, 2011, we have completed the transition of our entire line of Tervis tumblers to Eastman Tritan™. We will continue to search for new ways to enhance our offering and will strive to maintain our level of excellence.
So this bring up two additional questions: How do I know if my Tervis cup is BPA free? What is Eastman Tritan ™ and what chemicals are in that product?
So what is Eastman Tritan? It is a trademarked product used in a pharmaceutical products that does not contain BPA but is classified as a 7 in recycling codes. Code 7 plastics are basically a catch all of “other” plastics. Many items put in that category have properitary formulas that are protected therefore its actual “ingredients” are unknown. So do we know if there is anything dangerous in it like Phthalates or other known dangerous chemicals (or unknown)? Some doctors have recommended that you avoid eating anything that has come into contact with code 7 simply because it is unknown (see one doctors full comments on this subject here)
How do I know if my Tervis cup is BPA free? I am not really sure. They are billed to be long lasting so there is no reason to think the ones that you see on your shelf at your local Bed Bath and Beyond are not 3 years old. I checked the bottom of all my cups and I found that there was an 11 imprinted on a few of them and a 12 on a few of them but to be honest I do not know if that references the year it was made. No research I did could tell me exactly what it was.
Some other concerns about the cups is that they are billed to hold both cold and hot drinks. Generally speaking high heat liquids tend to be worse for leaching chemicals from plastic to the liquids in the cup.
In the US chemicals are considered safe until proven otherwise. The trademarked and proprietary nature of our free market system makes it hard for us as consumers to know what is in the products we use. I have chosen not to drink out of these cups because I am not sure what they are made with and how they might hurt my health. I also know that as a code 7 I am not able to recycle them in most cities so they are single use (meaning single owner) product which as an environmentalist I work to avoid.
So when you are shopping for new cups or looking for a gift to give do not fall prey to the marketing of allowing you to get a plastic cup for hot and cold drinks that has your favorite <insert: college, team, saying, anything > logo on it. You do not know what it is made out of and it could be bad for your health.
Do you have any Tervis cups? If a friend offered you a drink in one would you drink it? More importantly would you drink a liquid that you did not know the ingredients and you did not know if it was safe for your health?