Washington: We could soon have safer plastic as scientists have found a way of locking in harmful additives, called plasticizers, from seeping out of one of the most widely used groups of plastics.
Plasticizers increase the plasticity or fluidity of plastics.
The advance could lead to a new generation of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics that are safer than those now used in packaging, medical tubing, toys, and other products, says a new study in Spain.
Helmut Reinecke and colleagues of the Institute of Polymer Science and Technology, Spain, note that manufacturers add large amounts of plasticizers to PVC to make it flexible and durable.
Plasticizers may account for more than one-third of the weight of some PVC products. Phthalates are the mainstay plasticizers.
Unfortunately, they migrate to the surface of the plastic over time and seep into the environment. As a result, PVC plastics become less flexible and durable, says a release of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Besides, people who come into contact with the plastics face possible health risks. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2009 banned use of several phthalate plasticizers for use in manufacture of toys and child care articles.
Their study is in the ACS Macromolecules, a bi-weekly journal.