In February 2017 we were made aware of a concern about lead being present in a small solder spot at the bottom of our BottleRocket water bottles. Our initial response was to review test results and conduct further governmental compliance testing with a certified laboratory. We want to share with you that our test results show that OUR WATER BOTTLES PASS THE TESTS FOR SAFETY. To see the report results please click here for Capsule, and here for Booster.
However, we hold ourselves to the highest standards we can achieve in regards to the safety for our products, and we know our customers do too. We decided to go beyond the requirements of the regulatory testing and specifically test the solder dot ourselves, and it does appear that lead solder was used in production, despite our specifications requiring no lead to be used in our products. As you might imagine, we were extremely disappointed by this news.
For customers who currently own bottles purchased before April 19, 2017, we have designed a permanent encapsulating seal that will completely cover and seal off the solder spot. For those customers with 11oz Capsule bottles, this will serve as an extra layer of protection to be used in conjunction with the plastic base you already have that clicks and firmly locks onto the bottom and covers the entire metal bottom. For those of you who own the 18oz Booster bottle, which is designed for older kids and adults, this seal will sit in the recessed area at the bottom of the bottle and completely cover the solder spot.
If you would like us to mail you these encapsulating seals that will make your current bottle even safer, please fill out this form so that we have your current mailing address and we will ship that right out to you: https://planetbox.com/bottle-spot-register
We understand you may have additional question, and we would like to provide helpful answers:
Does the solder spot ever come into contact with your drink? NO! The solder spot never comes into contact with your drink inside the double walled bottle. The solder is on the outside only and is there to seal the vacuum in the empty space between it and the separate inside vessel that contains your drink. It is also in the form of hard solder, which does not flake easily like paint does. Please know that we take concerns about lead very seriously. By way of background, our co-founder Caroline worked for a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in San Francisco for 4 years before joining forces with her husband Robert to start PlanetBox. And although we are very disappointed in this new development, we want to emphasize that we truly believe there is no cause for alarm.
Why aren’t we taking back your current bottles and sending you new ones? We think that this product enhancement is the best approach for 2 main reasons. First, shipping back thousands of current bottles to put them into the waste stream, and manufacturing and shipping thousands more is very harmful for the environment. We look to minimize the negative environmental effects that come from the production and shipping of our products whenever possible. Second and most importantly, encapsulation works. It is consistent with all the cumulative scientific evidence about how to prevent lead exposure, which is that lead is not a potential hazard if it is inaccessible, and will be an effective solution for our current products.
Do any of your other products contain solder? NO! None of our other products, including our lunchboxes, bags, pods, etc. - contain any solder, and we routinely test them for safety. Our lunchboxes are pure stainless steel, and have no solder on them.
If you have additional questions you would like answers to, we are including below the following FAQs:
- Why was lead solder used in the first place?
- How do the bottles have lead solder and still pass safety standards?
- Should I continue to use the bottle I have?
- Do I have to use the encapsulating seal?
- Should I be concerned about possible lead exposure from the solder dot?
- What about the bottles you are currently selling?
- What about your other products?
We understand that you turn to us looking for safe products for yourself and your family, and it is unsettling to read something that says that a product you are using might be unsafe. We are deeply sorry for any alarm this news may have caused you. Please know that we want to make this right for our customers just as soon as we can, by making the bottle that you own right now even safer. We want to thank you for the trust you have shown in our company thus far, and we assure you that we will do everything in our power to continue to earn that trust.
Caroline and Robert Miros, PlanetBox Founders
Why was lead solder used in the first place?
Our specifications call for no lead to be used in our bottles. However, we have learned that use of lead solder is widespread among manufacturers when making stainless insulated bottles, as that type of solder is effective forming and keeping the vacuum seal that insulates the bottle. From the research and independent testing we have done since we were made aware of this issue, we have learned that many other stainless insulated bottles on the market use lead solder. On some bottles the solder spot is exposed and on some it is covered in various ways, including a seal, or a plastic or metal bottom.
How do the bottles have lead solder and still pass safety standards?
For our CAPSULE (small 11oz bottle with plastic base): The government required testing standards that apply to the Capsule, which is designed for kids over 3, focus on testing for lead hazards in the areas that are accessible to kids. These standards recognize that lead is only a potential health hazard when it is in an accessible form. As such, the testing standards do not call for the spot to be tested, as the bottom is designed to be permanently covered by the plastic base. For BOOSTER (large 18oz bottle): The testing standards that apply to our Booster, which is designed primarily for older kids and adults, do not call for this area to be tested, as it is not considered a potential risk to older kids and adults.
Should I continue to use the bottle I have?
The bottles you currently own pass rigid safety standards and you can continue using them just as they are. Of course, you are welcome to put your bottle aside until you receive the additional seal from us.
Do I have to use the encapsulating seal?
No, you do not have to use the encapsulating seal as your products pass safety standards as they are right now. We designed the seal for those wanting extra safety measures.
Should I be concerned about possible lead exposure from the solder dot?
We understand that it is unsettling to learn about the presence of lead solder on your bottle and you may be concerned about potential exposure from that dot. It is important to remember the presence of lead alone does not pose a potential hazard. Lead exposure can only happen through ingesting lead or inhaling lead in the form of particles in the air. By far, the biggest sources for exposure are lead in paint and soil. Even lead in tableware – where food can leach the lead out from leaded glaze - is not considered a significant risk on its own for lead exposure. On our bottle, the 1 centimeter solder dot on the bottom of our water bottle never comes into contact with your drink and is made from hard solder, which does not flake easily like paint does. From all we know about the scientific research about what poses a risk for lead exposure, we truly believe there is no cause for alarm about the possibility of exposure.
What about the bottles you are currently selling?
Once we found out about this issue we set right to work finding effective alternatives to lead solder for our bottles. This was a difficult process, as the industry standard is to use lead solder. We are happy to inform you at as of April 19, 2017, all our bottles that we are currently selling on our website are sealed with a glass based, lead free solder.
What about your other products?
We want to re-iterate that none of our other products have solder on them. Our stainless lunchboxes are pure stainless, which by definition of its composition contain no lead. The latch is attached by heat welding it on, which just involves heat, and no solder.