I was recently looking into how to keep things hot in a cooler and came across this idea of “Cooler Corn” where you put boiling water in a cooler to cook corn.
Some people said you could do it while others said it was dangerous and could cause plastic leeching. So I wanted to do my research and to find out if coolers are BPA free or not.
I searched all the major brands to see what they had to say about their coolers and whether or not they contained BPA.
Do Coolers Contain BPA?
Coolers are generally made from either polypropylene (in the cheaper coolers) and polyethylene (in the more expensive coolers). Neither of these plastics contain BPA (bisphenol-A) and so it can be assumed that pretty much all coolers are unlikely to contain any BPA, making them BPA-free.
This Quora answer perfectly outline what types of plastics you find BPA in and that is polycarbonates. Coolers are not made from polycarbonates and thus are highly-unlikely to contain and BPA.
They are used almost exclusively in producing polycarbonates. Anything that isn't a polycarbonate won't contain a bisphenol residue. Thus, polypropylene is certifiably BPA-free (and free of other bisphenols as well) and could have carried that label decades before anyone thought BPA might be problematic.
According to an educated user from this forum post coolers are made with polypropylene or polyethylene which does not contain BPA.
This backs up my own research into what Yeti coolers are made from where I looked at both expensive roto-molded coolers as well as cheaper coolers:
Coolers are made with polypropylene and polyethylene which do not contain Bisphenol-A and are rated to about 175F for low-density polyethylene and around 230-240F for high-density polyethylene and polypropylene. Some warping of the thinner portions of the coolers will be evident after long term exposure to the hot stuff but PP and PE are about the most benign plastics available and are commonly used for many food contact implements and surfaces.
The Spruce Eats did a good write up on how to tell if a plastic is BPA-free. They said in this post:
You can pretty much assume that any opaque plastics are BPA-free.
Are Yeti Coolers BPA Free?
Yeti coolers are made from polyethylene which is roto-molded to give them their shape. Polyethylene plastic does not contain BPA so it can be assumed that all Yeti coolers are BPA-free.
I actually contacted the company via email to ask them whether or not their coolers were BPA free as well as whether or not you could use hot water in a Yeti.
They answered with this:
Thanks for reaching out to YETI!
To answer your questions:
Yes, Yeti products are BPA free.
Yes, Yeti products are food safe.
I would not advise putting boiling water in any of our coolers as the material is made from a form of plastic and could damage the product.
Hope this helps!
The YETI Outfitters
The company doesn't talk about whether or not their coolers are BPA free anywhere on their website or on their Amazon listings but they do have this page where they talk about their rambler cups and bottles being BPA-free:
Yes, all YETI drinkware and accessories are BPA free.
BPA is used in a variety of plastics – but not the YETI Rambler. All YETI drinkware is BPA-free, including Triple-Haul caps, MagSlider lids, and accessories. We think what goes inside our Ramblers is just as important as how it performs outside. With YETI, you get the freedom to go anywhere with on-hand hydration combined with BPA-free peace of mind.
Are Coleman Coolers BPA Free?
Coleman Coolers are extremely popular cheaper coolers and I personally own a Coleman Xtreme which, in my opinion, is the best budget cooler on the market.
Coleman coolers and Coleman insulated jugs do NOT contain BPA. Coleman have stated in customer service responses that “none of Coleman's insulated coolers of jugs contain polycarbonate or BPA”
A customer Brad asked Coleman customer support about the use of BPA in their products and he shared their response in this Homebrew Forum post. They said (emphasis added):
BPA is a chemical in some polycarbonate bottles and utensils. Although a few of Coleman products contain BPA, none of Coleman's insulated coolers or jugs contain polycarbonate or BPA.
All of the materials used in Coleman Coolers and Jugs are approved for food contact.
Our coolers are produced from materials that are approved for food contact. That is not the same as saying the cooler is FDA approved. We do not have any certificate from the FDA. We do have a letter from our material supplier that says the raw material is acceptable to be used in food contact applications.
On another note, our coolers are intended for recreation purposes and are not specifically designed for commercial applications like a restaurant.
Coleman Consumer Service
Are Igloo Coolers BPA Free?
Igloo coolers are BPA-Free because they are made from polypropylene on the inside and polyethylene on the exterior. Both of these plastics don't use BPA, so Igloo coolers can be considered BPA-free.
According to this Amazon question Igloo coolers confirmed that they are BPA free:
@IglooProducts: All of our products are BPA-free! Igloo Coolers are great for homebrewing.Jan 28, 2012
Apparently this response was given back in 2012, however I was unable to locate the original response from the company itself.
This Amazon response takes a quote from Igloo's FAQ page back in 2015 and talks about what Igloo coolers are made of:
Hard-side coolers: The exterior body of most Igloo hard-side coolers is made of high-density polyethylene, while the interior liner is made of FDA-grade polypropylene. The insulation is made of Ultratherm – a proprietary blend of polyurethane foam.
Are Rubbermaid Coolers BPA Free?
Rubbermaid coolers are BPA-Free because they are made from polypropylene on the inside and polyethylene on the exterior. Both of these plastics don't use BPA, so Rubbermaid coolers can be considered BPA-free.
Are ORCA Coolers BPA Free?
ORCA coolers are made from polyethylene which is roto-molded to give them their shape. Polyethylene plastic does not contain BPA so it can be assumed that all ORCA coolers are BPA-free.
Are RTIC Coolers BPA Free?
RTIC coolers are made from polyethylene which is roto-molded to give them their shape. Polyethylene plastic does not contain BPA so it can be assumed that all RTIC coolers are BPA-free.
Are Roto-Molded Coolers BPA Free?
Roto-molded coolers are made from polyethylene which is roto-molded to give them their shape. Polyethylene plastic does not contain BPA so it can be assumed that all roto-molded coolers are BPA-free.