Bindle, a popular brand of water bottle on Instagram, has recalled its insulated bottles after Consumer Reports found they pose a risk of lead poisoning.
Bindle issued a voluntary recall of its dual-compartment water bottles, acknowledging that the dry storage container at the bottom contains a dot of finishing solder which may contain excess amounts of lead.
“This potentially poses an exposure risk to lead if unpackaged food is placed in the dry storage compartment,” the company said.
All Bindle bottle sizes and colors are affected. Bindle is telling consumers to stop using the dry storage compartment of the bottles immediately and to register to receive a free repair kit.
In its tests of the product, Consumer Reports found that the Bindle bottle could expose users to “extremely high” levels of lead. The advocacy group also said some bottles contained bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause fertility problems and some kinds of cancers. Bindle markets the product as BPA-free.
Bindle calls its water jug a “sip and stash” bottle, with an upper compartment that holds a liquid and a bottom section suitable for storing snacks, keys or other personal items.
Consumer Reports said it found lead on the bottle’s “sealing dot,” a small, circular piece of metal at the bottle’s base, in the lower storage compartment. The part is about 10% lead and contains lead levels that are roughly 1,100 times higher than what’s generally considered safe, according to the publication, noting that anything that comes into contact with the dot is at risk of lead contamination.
Consumer Reports is calling on the public to immediately stop using Bindle products. It also has asked the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate.
Following the report, Bindle issued a consumer safety alert acknowledging a “potential lead issue” in its products.
“Recent testing has shown that this soldering dot contains lead,” the company said in a statement on its website. “While we believe the small area of lead poses negligible risk to the health and safety of users, we are taking this very seriously and are working on steps to ensure we resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”
The company claims it is able to retrofit existing products to eliminate the risk of lead exposure. Bindle is also offering full refunds on all products to customers who request them.
Still, Bindle maintains that the liquid compartment of every bottle is “completely safe to use and drink from.”
“The health and wellbeing of our customers continues to be our top priority,” Bindle co-founder Houston Max said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. He added that the company is “in the process of rolling out a solution that would help remedy any lingering concerns.”
Child health advocate and activist Tamara Rubin, who runs a small business for consumer goods safety as well as a blog called “Lead Safe Mama,” first alerted Consumer Reports to the potential health hazard. In January, she urged consumers to immediately stop using Bindle bottles after claiming to have found “significant lead contamination” in the products’ bottom storage chamber.
At the time, she posted a letter to the company encouraging its owners to alert consumers of the possible presence of lead in its bottles and to stop selling them.
Bindle, which was founded in 2017 and which raised more than $40,000 in a Kickstarter campaign, got a big boost the following year when its products were featured on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list.