Chemical Plastic

March 29, 2011

For Our Health Sake, Use Less Plastic for Food Packaging

Recently, researchers at Texas A&M University say they may have found a more eco-friendly plastic to keep packaged foods fresh longer, and scientists at Texas A&M University also have developed a material to keep packaged foods airtight, while using less plastic.

At a meeting of the American Chemical Society this weekend in Anaheim, Calif., scientists presented “nano-bricks,” a product developed from the same material used to make bricks that they say will make plastic food packaging virtually airtight. Nano-bricks are composed of only 30 percent plastic polymers mixed with a natural clay material, making it more environmentally responsible than other types of plastics used to seal packaged food.

Plastic food packaging is often coated with another material to block oxygen from entering the package and spoiling the food inside. Some packaging has a layer of silicon oxide, a material similar to sand. Others products, like a bag of potato chips, use metalized plastics, plastics with a thin coating of metal or foil.

But some plastics can crack or break during transport, while metalized plastics cannot be microwaved and is not transparent, allowing shoppers to see the food inside. Nano-bricks solve these problems, its developers say, while using a material that is better for the environment.

February 28, 2011

Do you Know How are Plastics Produced?

Plastic is a polymer (which are large molecules), that consists of a long repeating chain of smaller molecules, which are called monomers.

Monomers are made of atoms, and easily extracted from organic sources, and fall into the class of chemicals known as petrochemicals. 

Plastics are produced by a process called polymerization.

In this process, thousands of monomers are joined together to form a polymer chain.

Common monomers used in the production of plastics, such as vinyl acetate, styrene, butadiene and vinyl chloride, are extracted from crude oil or natural gas.

In the world of “plastics”, there are two main types – thermosetting plastics and thermo-plastics.

Both of these main types are produced by pouring liquid monomers into molds, and they undergo a process called polymerization.

The thermosetting plastic type is permanent once molded, while the thermoplastic type will melt under heat.

The monomer liquid is superheated during the molding process, which causes polymerization to occur, and we end up with a product that is uniform and solid.

Some of the well known plastic products on the market today include: Formica, Teflon, Tupperware, Nylon, Synthetic Rubber and PVC.

Plastic is the most widely used synthetic in the world.

January 30, 2011

Choose your Water Bottle of Plastic very carefully

Choose your water bottles very carefully in order to prevent chemicals in the plastic from leaching into your water. So, which plastic water bottles don’t leach chemicals?

Plastic water bottles are very convenient for carting water around when we are on the go, as they don’t break if we drop them. However, it is worth paying attention to the type of plastic your water bottle is made of, to ensure that the chemicals in the plastic do not leach into the water.

If you taste plastic, you are drinking it, so get yourself another bottle. To be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a No.2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a No.4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a No.5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine.

The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a No.1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it. Better to use a reusable water bottle, and fill it with your own filtered water from home and keep these single-use bottles out of the landfill.

Unfortunately, those fabulous colourful hard plastic lexan bottles made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the No.7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA. Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies.

Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. For more of the science on the effects of BPA on our endocrine system etc.

See these studies: Environmental Health Perspectives Journal. Nalgene, the company that manufactures the lexan water bottles also makes #2 HDPE bottles in the same sizes and shapes, so we have a viable alternative. Order one at Nalgene. Unfortunately, most plastic baby bottles and drinking cups are made with plastics containing Bisphenol A.

In 2006 Europe banned all products made for children under age 3 containing BPA, and as of Dec. 2006 the city of San Franscisco followed suit. In March 2007 a billion-dollar class action suit was commenced against Gerber, Playtex, Evenflo, Avent, and Dr. Brown’s in Los Angeles superior court for harm done to babies caused by drinking out of baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA. So, to be certain that your baby is not exposed, use glass bottles.

Check the recycling numbers on all your plastic food containers as well, and gradually move to storing all food in glass or ceramic. Store water in glass or brass if possible, and keep it away from direct sunlight.

December 31, 2010

New Synthetic, Chemical-free, Antimicrobial Surfaces Inspired from Marine Animals

A team of five companies has come together to create anti-microbial surfaces for use on ships, lenses and even medical devices – all inspired from marine lifes.

Researchers from A*STAR’s Industrial Consortium On Nanoimprint (ICON) are using nanotechnology to create synthetic, chemical-free, anti-bacterial surfaces, which can reduce infections caused by pathogens such as S. aureus and E. coli and can be used on common plastics, medical devices, lenses and even ship hulls.

Nanoimprint technology, a form of nanotechnology, gives the engineered material ‘natural’ properties such as luminescence, adhesiveness, waterproofing and anti-reflectivity.

“With millions of years of experience behind her, nature has produced some of the most rugged, adaptable life forms. Who better to learn engineering from than Mother Nature?” said Dr Low Hong Yee, IMRE’s Director for Research and Innovation and head of the consortium.

“ICON and nanoimprint research gives our own R and D an added dimension and provides us with alternative options on how our existing technology can be applied”, said Mr Steve Ferriday, Technical Manager, Worldwide Marine Foul Release, International Paint Ltd (UK).

Chemical additives in biomedical devices can adversely affect different users in different ways. The anti-microbial surfaces derived from nanoimprint technology without the need for additional chemicals and coatings may offer us an alternative solution to this issue”, said Mr Tsuyoshi Watanabe, General Manager, R and D Center of Hoya Corporation, a Japanese-based company dealing in advanced electronics and optics technologies. (ANI)

November 29, 2010

Chemical in Plastic Baby Bottles Raises Alarm

Bisphenol A (BPA), a compound in hard, clear polycarbonate plastics, is getting official scrutiny — and things are looking less than rosy for the controversial chemical.

The European Commission voted Thursday to ban the estrogen-like chemical BPA, or bisphenol A, from plastic baby bottles by the middle of next year – 2011.

The U.S. government’s National Toxicology Program yesterday agreed with a scientific panel that recently expressed concern about physiological changes that occur in people when they ingest BPA that has leached from plastic into their food.

In spite of what it called some “uncertainty” in the science, the commission said in a statement that it was concerned about BPA, which helps make plastic hard and shatterproof, and its effects on children’s development, the body’s immune response and cancer risk. Studies have linked BPA exposure to heart disease, diabetes and low sperm counts in men.

“This is a good news for European consumers,” said John Dalli, commissioner in charge of health and consumer policy for the European Commission.

The Canadian government is even considering declaring the chemical toxic, reports today’s New York Times.

European Union countries must stop manufacturing polycarbonate plastic baby bottles with BPA by March 2011; they must stop selling or importing them by June 2011, according to the statement.

The vote comes a week after American opponents of BPA failed to include a ban on the chemical in a $1.4 billion food-safety bill. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who had championed a ban on BPA in baby bottles, blamed the chemical industry for defeating her proposal.

Although consumer backlash has prompted major American baby bottle manufacturers to stop using BPA, the chemical is used in cheaper products sold in discount stores, according to Janet Nudelman of the Breast Cancer Fund.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents the plastics industry, maintains that BPA is safe. “Government agencies worldwide have examined the science of BPA, including a recent European Food Safety Authority review of 800 studies, and concluded that low doses of BPA are not a risk to human health,” the council’s Steve Hentges said in a statement. “Based on the science, an international panel of experts organized by the World Health Organization recently concluded that public health measures on BPA are premature.”

In a statement, the Environment Working Group, an advocacy organization, commended Europe’s decision, noting that more than 90% of Americans have BPA in their urine. The group’s tests have found BPA in babies’ umbilical cords. “It is absolutely unacceptable that American babies are born pre-polluted with this toxic chemical,” group President Kenneth Cook said.

Canada, France and Denmark already have banned the use of BPA in baby bottles. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed “some concern” that BPA may alter the brain, behavior and prostate gland in children, both before and after birth.

This could set the stage for banning it from plastic baby bottles, water bottles, and food containers. At the very least, some people will be even more eager to buy foods and beverages in BPA-free containers.

In March, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would consider adding BPA to its list of chemicals of concern, looking at levels of BPA in surface, ground and drinking water.

Legislatures in at least 20 states have considered banning BPA in children’s products. As of October, seven states had voted to ban BPA in baby bottles: Connecticut, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont, Maryland and New York.

Chicago and four counties in New York — Albany, Rockland, Schenectady and Suffolk — also have banned BPA in baby bottles.

Beyond switching baby bottles, another way to lower exposure to BPA is to avoid heating foods and liquids in plastic containers that contain the compound. The amount of BPA that leaches out, the NTP says, may depend more on the temperature of the liquid, food, or container itself than on the age of the plastic bottle or dish.

A Massachusetts health advisory warned pregnant and nursing women last year to choose fresh or frozen products, rather than food in cans, which often contain BPA in their plastic linings.

The whole Europe is going BPA-free.

November 1, 2010

US Study Discovered Plasticizer BPA may Cause Male Infertility

The controversial plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA) has been used in the lunch boxes, baby bottles and other plastic products for decades. As the material had been implicated in male impotence, it was dubbed as a “sex changing chemical”. According a report issued by the British “Daily Telegraph” on 28, Oct., “a latest study published on the United States magazine “Fertility and Sterility” shows that bisphenol A can also reduce sperm motility and quality, thus leading to male infertility.

BPA can interfere with human’s endocrine system, leading to abnormal secretion of hormone. There were early studies has found that BPA is relevant to low sexual desire, impotence, as well as sperm DAN damages. While a latest 5-year study found that the BPA levels in blood has direct correlation with men fertility.

Researchers in The Oakland Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Oakland, USA took a survey among 514 Chinese workers and found that men with higher urinary BPA levels, who occurred with the risk of lower sperm concentration, and poor vitality increased 2-4 times. In addition, men in USA with lower BPA levels in the blood to the average level in USA, whose fertility will be affected greatly, too. 

The major charger of this new research, Chinese genesiology expert Li Dekun (phonetic) , MD said: compared with men whose urine had no BPA, men with higher BPA level occurred with the risk of low sperm concentration and lower livability may increased by 3 times, and the sperm quantity decreasing risk may increased by more than 4 times, and the risk of sperm vitality decreasing may increased 2 times.

MD Li Dekun warned that everyone should try to stay away from BPA, BPA may hurt women’s reproductive too, which may add the incidence of various types of cancers or new type metabolism diseases. 

According to some authentic reports, the U.S. and Canada have banned the use of BPA presently.

September 29, 2010

Plastics Recycler MBA Polymers wins Energy and Environment Award

Michael Biddle, founder and president of MBA Polymers, will receive the Energy and Environment award at the The Economist magazine’s Innovation Awards ceremony, to be held on 21 October at the Science Museum, London.

Dr. Michael Biddle founded Michael Biddle & Associates in his garage in 1992 to demonstrate that it was possible to recycle plastics from complex waste streams. MB&A was expanded to a pilot line in Berkeley, CA and renamed MBA Polymers in 1994 after he brought on his former colleague, Laurence Allen.

From this humble beginning, MBA Polymers now has headquarters and a research centre in Richmond, California, and recovers materials from a variety of sources, including computers, electronics, appliances and automobiles. The company has developed numerous proprietary processes for separating polymeric materials from highly complex waste products.

These are then reused in a number of different applications, making it a more sustainable option than using new virgin plastics. MBA’s process requires less than 10% of the energy compared to making plastics from petrochemicals.

MBA Polymers now has headquarters and a research centre in Richmond, California, and recovers materials from sources including computers, electronics, domestic appliances and automobiles. The company has developed proprietary processes for separating polymeric materials from complex waste products for reuse in a variety of applications.

The Innovation Awards, now in its ninth year, seek to identify the individuals, rather than companies, who are responsible for innovations that have been a proven success in the past decade. The seven categories are: bioscience, business process, computing and telecoms, consumer goods and services, energy and the environment, social and economic innovation, and “no boundaries”.

Commenting on the decision by an independent judging panel, Tom Standage, digital editor at The Economist said: “With this award, the judges have recognised Michael Biddle for the outstanding contribution his innovative way of dealing with plastics has made to improving the environment. MBA Polymers and the US Department of Energy estimate that 5.4m tonnes of mixed durable plastics are discarded in America each year. By using MBA’s recycled plastic pellets as raw material, plastics manufacturers can save lots of money and significant amounts of energy. MBA’s sorting technology also means that material that might otherwise end up in landfill can be recycled.”

The Awards ceremony will be followed by the Innovation Summit on October 22nd, which will celebrate those people whose ideas have shaped the world we live in, and also explore how these ideas can be identified in their early stages. How should entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders decide which ideas to put their faith in?

August 31, 2010

Evils of Bottled Water

Filed under: Chemical Plastic Research — Tags: , , — Administrator @ 7:23 am

Drinking water is a basic human right, there is about a billion people around the world are not access to drink tap water safe and cheap. In the United States, about 1,000 bottles of bottled water were consumed per minute needs a lot of fuel, a high-quality public water supply systems should be established imminently.

World renowned water expert Peter Gleick has a new book – released in May 2010 – outlining the scientific evidence that bottled water use in the U.S. has become unsustainable. The book is called Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind our Obsession with Bottled Water.

Twenty five years ago in the United States, each American probably drank a gallon of bottled water a year, on average. Today it’s up to 30.

In the book, Gleick told us: Every second in the U.S. – we consume about 1,000 bottles of water. He spoke of the tremendous amount of fuel burned in order to make and transport these bottles, most of which ultimately end up in a landfill.

Peter Gleick: We did an estimate at the Pacific Institute that if you calculate the energy requirement of making all of the bottles that are consumed in the United States in a year, it’s on the order of 17 or 18 million barrels of oil equivalent.

He said that globally consumption of bottled water is about 40 billion gallons a year. But that’s not his biggest concern.

Peter Gleick: Probably my biggest concern is that I believe very strongly that water is a human right. There are a billion people worldwide today that don’t have access to safe, affordable tap water. The solution is not bottled water. The solution is developing high quality public water systems that can provide inexpensive water for everyone.

July 28, 2010

Watch baby’s food

Filed under: Chemical Related Story — Administrator @ 7:00 am

Hi, little baby! watch the bottle which you drink.

      Nowadays with the rapid development of economy, the standard of people’s living level is ever increasing, especially those new born babies. As is known to all, the child is the future of nation, so parents pay great attention to baby’s health, but recently, parents have began to find that food which is used to feed baby are threatened  by plastic which can cause great harm to baby’s health.

      An Auckland mother says she found a piece of plastic in her daughter’s baby food.

      She is now considering a boycott of all Wattie’s products.

      The woman said she bought a 170 gram jar of Wattie’s Moroccan Lamb baby food from a Countdown Supermarket in Upper Hutt while on holiday there last week.

      She was upset to find a piece of plastic, about the size of a 10 cent coin, in the jar when she was feeding her eight-month-old daughter Sophia on Sunday night.

      “I thought it was a piece of onion because it was clear but then realised it was actually plastic.”

      Though Sophia did not swallow the plastic, the woman was concerned that residue from the plastic may have seeped into the food when it was heated in the microwave, because her daughter vomited soon after consuming the product, forcing her to seek medical advice.

      The woman said it took three attempts to contact someone at Wattie’s. She was told the company was unsure what the plastic was or how it got into the food. Wattie’s said it would send her a voucher that could be used to buy any Wattie’s product, the woman said. “I think it is a big safety issue. I could easily have put it [the plastic] into her mouth.

     “I just want Wattie’s to check their products properly and I want to warn people that they need to be careful as this could happen to them.”

     Wattie’s general manager of quality Paddy O’Brien was surprised to hear of the plastic find.

    “Baby food – we obviously treasure our reputation there. We don’t have many issues at all with baby food. We have all the sophisticated systems we can get to try and stop this sort of thing happening.”

     Wattie’s would need to send the bit of plastic to the factory in Australia where the product was made to find out exactly what it was.
     A  lot of measurement have been put to investigate this thing which apprears in baby’s stuff.Hopefully, everything will be checked out.

consumer takes different stands on plastic bags

Filed under: Plastic Market News — Administrator @ 2:42 am

     Every coin has two sizes, when we are enjoying the conveninent life which plastic bags bring, at the same time, we are suffring the polluted environment it causes. People has realized the bad environment which  plastic bags cause, and is determined to ban plastic bags to protect environment.
     Sandy-area residents shopping at the Sandy Fred Meyer appear split over the idea of banning plastic grocery bags.

     Welches resident Nora Galbee had plastic bags in her shopping cart, but said that was just because she had forgotten to bring her reusable bags into the store. She gave the ban a thumbs-up.

   “I think it’s something we should be doing,” she said. “(Plastic bags are) not environmentally friendly. They last too long in landfills.”

     She and others would remember to bring in their reusable bags if a ban were enacted, Galbee said. “We’ll adjust.”

    Valerie Walbert, a Sandy resident whose shopping cart contained several reusable bags, said she started shunning single-use bags – both paper and plastic – a few years ago.

   “I feel like I’m kind of taking care of my carbon footprint, my contribution to the environment,” she said.

    Everyone takes divergent stands on plastic bags, someone approves it, someone opposes it.In my opinion, we should ban plastic bags and use paper bags instead. Because it takes a long time for decaying plastic bags,also the process of decaying it will emmit a lot of toxic gas which is extremely bad for human health and our living environment.

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