Lululemon Athletica Inc. will stop selling plastic water bottles that contain bisphenol A, a chemical which studies have linked to infertility and cancer, but stopped short of pulling the bottles from its shelves.
The company said Tuesday it has been following this issue closely for more than a year and that starting in January all new water bottles arriving in its stores will be made of acrylic and free of the controversial chemical.
Earlier this month, outdoor equipment retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op removed all of the hard plastic bottles from its store shelves.
Advocacy group Environmental Defence applauded Lululemon for becoming the second large Canadian retailer to stop selling the bottles.
"They recognize that there are alternatives and have made their customers' health the priority. I have no doubt that other large Canadian retailers will be following suit in short order," Environmental Defence executive director Rick Smith said in a statement.
Bisphenol A, which can also be found in baby bottles, sippy cups and the lining of food cans, has been shown to mimic the female hormone estrogen and could lead to hormonal disruptions such as early puberty.
Health Canada is examining the health risks of bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and is expected to report back to the federal government by May.
Last month, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also promised to take action after meeting with experts and parents who want the chemical banned, saying he would appoint a panel of medical experts to study chemicals like BPA and look at the possibility of a provincial ban.
Some baby-bottle manufacturers, such as England-based Philips Avent, are standing by products that contain bisphenol A, arguing that tests demonstrate small amounts of the chemical are not harmful.