Recently there's been some customer concern regarding the Berkey Light product and the potential for Bisphenol A to leech from the plastic into the filtered water. This is a valid concern that's been brought upon by recent studies linking BPA exposure to possible breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other health problems. According to research, BPA mimics naturally occurring estrogen, a hormone that is part of the endocrine system, the body's finely tuned messaging service. While there is much controversy over accurately assessing and quantifying this risk, many consumers are now making a conscious effort to avoid the toxin altogether. In light of this, Berkey customers will be happy to learn that the Berkey Light went BPA free in 2008.
Why the Concern with the Berkey Light?
Prior to 2008, Berkey Lights were historically constructed of Lexan plastic to take advantage of the high durability and strength that this plastic possesses. Lexan is made by reacting Bisphenol A with carbonyl chloride, also known as phosgene. Studies showed that in some occasions the leeching of BPA can occur from polycarbonates like Lexan into the containing fluid when either exposed to high strength industrial grade alkaline detergents or when they are repeatedly exposed to temperatures in excess of 192 degrees Fahrenheit (over 88 degrees Celsius). As far as what the Berkey Light was built for, along with the stated care instructions, these situations would not and should not occur. Regardless, the knowledge that the Berkey Light was made of a Lexan plastic known to contain the chemical BPA brought this highly regarded berkey product into the controversial discussion raising some questions and concerns.
Why The Transition to a Copolyester Then?
To alleviate the concerns of customers, New Millenium Concepts Ltd. decided to change the Berkey Light plastic to a new copolyester in early 2008. This new copolyster is BPA free, highly durable and dishwasher safe, in addition to being stain, scratch, and odor resistant. While the Lexan Berkey Light is considered to be of no risk of leeching BPA's, NMCL recognizes that their customer base is very health conscious and a change in production materials would be beneficial to all parties. This move away from BPA plastics is a growing market trend and NMCL is one of the early adopter companies, Eastman being another example, that have made the transition to Copolyester.
Older Berkey Light Models
For customers who already own the Berkey Light, you can determine the makeup of your system by looking at the date stamp on the bottom of either of the 2 canisters. There should be a circle of numbers labeled 1-10 with a 2-digit number in the middle. The 2 digit number in the middle is the year of production and it will have an arrow pointing to the outer circle. The outer circle numbers represent the plastic recycle code. If it points to a 6 or higher with an "08" in the middle you possess the new BPA free Copolyester. Any year prior and you possess a Lexan Berkey Light.
It's important to reiterate that simply because you have a 2007 or earlier Lexan built Berkey Light does not mean that you are at risk of BPA leeching into your water. There is simply a great deal of misinformation on how BPA leeches from various types of plastic confusing much of the general public as to their level of risk exposure. The value that a Berkey system possesses from everything to water purification to emergency preparation is priceless and excuse the pun, but should not be watered down by confusion.