According to Canada’s Globe and Mail, Mountain Equipment Co-op has pulled most food and beverage containers made of polycarbonate plastic from its shelves due to possible health risks. The action will see nearly all plastic containers removed from the retailer’s shelves, including most Nalgene products. MEC said that it decided to take this drastic step after increasing concerns from members.

The concerns come from a petrochemical called bisphenol A, which has been shown to leech out into food and water. Bisphenol A mimics estrogen and has been linked in dozens of independent research studies to illnesses that could be caused by hormone disruption. Health Canada is currently conducting a research study into the issue and expects final results sometime in 2009. Until then, MEC has decided to keep any plastics containing Bisphenol A out of its stores.

Environmental Defence, a Canadian grassroots eco group has been lobbying Canadian officials to ban Bisphenol A. The organization was pleased with MEC’s decision. “When a product loses consumer confidence to this extent it's obviously time to move to the safer, comparably priced alternatives,” said Dr. Rick Smith, executive director, Environmental Defence.

Other outdoor industry vendors that produce non-plastic containers, such as Klean Kantine, have launched media campaigns touting the safety of their products in reaction to this decision made by MEC.