Firms allege US Eastman's Tritan lawsuit stifles scientific inquiry

13 August 2012 23:22  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Two companies alleged on Monday that a lawsuit filed by US-based Eastman Chemical is an attempt to stifle what they called are legitimate questions about the safety of the producer's Tritan co-polyester, which is being marketed as a safe replacement for plastics that could leach bisphenol-A (BPA).

Eastman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

BPA is a suspected endocrine disruptor, and some groups have called for it to be banned from food containers.

Eastman has marketed its Tritan co-polyester as a safe replacement for polycarbonate (PC), a plastic suspected of leaching BPA.

Eastman has alleged in court documents that its health claims for Tritan have come under attack by the two companies, PlastiPure and CertiChem.

Eastman accused the two companies of using an unreliable test to discredit Tritan. Specifically, the two companies claim that plastics such as Tritan could still leach endocrine disruptors – even if they lack BPA.

In fact, the test is part of the companies' strategy of capitalising on anti-BPA sentiment, according to Eastman, by drawing a distinction between plastics free of BPA and those free of endocrine disruptors.

The two companies have allegedly embarked on a media campaign that exaggerated the extent that endocrine disruptors are present in plastics – particularly those made with Tritan, Eastman said.

The company alleged that PlastiPure has made false and misleading comments about Tritan.

Eastman said it has done extensive testing on Tritan to confirm that the plastic does not exhibit endocrine disruptors.

Eastman has spent time and effort alleviating concerns about its co-polyester, the company said.

PlastiPure and CertiChem responded by saying their testing method is reliable and is regarded by some as the gold standard for detecting endocrine disruptors.

Because of the potential danger of endocrine disruptors, companies should be able to test whether products such as Tritan are safe, the companies said.

"Public policy requires that scientific debate, especially when related to an issue of public safety, not be stifled by those who would put profit motive above safety concerns," the companies said.

Eastman's lawsuit is an attempt to silence what PlastiPure and CertiChem said were legitimate questions about the safety of Tritan, the companies alleged. They accused Eastman of "silencing dissenting voices through threats and intimidation, lawsuits and attacks on credibility".

PlastiPure and CertiChem filed their own counter suit against Eastman.

They accused Eastman of stifling competition and preventing the general public from receiving what the companies called complete and accurate information about Tritan.

Also, PlastiPure and CertiChem accused Eastman of making false statements about their endocrine-disruptor test.

PlastiPure and CertiChem as well as Eastman are seeking unspecified damages.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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