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New plastic technology limits toxic outgasing

Sunday, August 15, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: plastics, chemicals, health news

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(NaturalNews) Researchers have come up with a solution to the problem of plastic outgasing -- or the toxic release of plastic chemicals into food and the environment. The new technology prevents chemical leeching from certain plastics by stopping polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a commonly used plastic chemical, from migrating to the surface of plastics and escaping.

Published in the bi-weekly journal Macromolecules, the study is a breakthrough in plastic technology that could change the way food packaging, tubing, children's toys and other consumer products are made. By preventing "plasticizer" chemicals from detaching themselves from plastics, scientists hope to improve the safety and quality of these consumer plastic products and many others.

In 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned several phthalate plasticizers from being used in children's products because of their threat to health. Though a positive step in the right direction, these chemicals are still used in other consumer products even though they are a threat to people of all ages and to the environment.

Plasticizers are typically used to make plastic more flexible and durable. According to reports, they can account for more than 30 percent of a plastic product's weight. But after some time, these phthalate plasticizers slowly separate from their bonds and release, degrading the plastic's integrity and threatening human and environmental health.

In tests, the new technology completely prevents this migration from occurring and keeps the plastic intact as originally intended.

"This approach may open new ways to the preparation of flexible PVC with permanent plasticizer effect and zero migration," explains the article about the study.

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