BPA-free plastic alternatives

Consulting firm Nexant recently published a report discussing several bisphenol-A (BPA)-free alternative resins for baby bottles production. Some of them include high density polyethylene (HDPE), metallocene polypropylene (PP), polyethylene naphthalate, Eastman’s Tritan copolyester, and polyethersulfone.

The consulting firm discussed the pros and cons of these alternative plastics in terms of process economics and properties compared to polycarbonate.

BPA has been subjected to much worldwide scrutiny these past few years as several studies linked the chemical to health problems and environmental risks.

BPA is primarily used as a feedstock for polycarbonate and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate’s applications include food containers and water and baby bottles. Epoxy resins are utilized for lining food and drink cans, and for dental sealants.

Early this month, another study from the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in France reported that in their research, laboratory rats exposed to BPA have impacted intestinal barrier function and gut health. According to the researchers, few studies have focused on the impact of BPA on the gut, despite food being a major source of exposure.

Despite the chemical industry’s assurance of BPA’s safety based on decades-long scientific studies, several regulations are on the pipeline to restrict and even ban the use of BPA.

As of January 1, 2010, Minnesota will became the first state to ban the use of BPA in the manufacturing of sippy cups and bottles. The ban extends to all retailers in the state a year later.

Other states such as California, Connecticut, Michigan and New York are said to be considering similar legislation.

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