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Safety of Plastics

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The safety of plastics in various uses has often been questioned. Thoroughgoing testing on various plastics and the additives that go into making products for various applications has generally proven plastics to be safe. A recent FDA report concluded that Bisphenol A (BPA), an synthetic estrogen additive used to produce polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resin, is safe for current uses in food contact packaging applications.

“Based on the FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging,” the FDA stated.

Many products such as soft children’s toys that young toddlers put in their mouths, and baby bottles have come under scrutiny and while generally found to be safe at the levels currently used, many products are now BPA-free to win the confidence of parents looking to choose the best products with minimal risk factors.

Food cans are now lined with BPA-based resins to help protect food and to eliminate the problems associated with acidic foods in metal cans, which can create a metallic taste in the food. The FDA did note in its report that it will continue to review the forthcoming information and studies on BPA, and evaluate this new information as it becomes available.

When we look back at the history of food containers, we know that even the metal cans were not 100% safe. Back in the 1800s, metal cans had their seams welded with lead-based materials that were extremely prone to leaching out into the food in the cans. While being able to preserve food in metal cans was a big leap forward, it came with risks.

Plastic materials and their additives are much more safe today than many products were even a half century ago.  Whether it’s food containers, water bottles, medical devices or toys, plastic has replaced other types of materials that contained lead, lead-based paint, or that needed careful sterilization.

PCC can provide you with the information you need to make the best choice for your applications with respect to plastic resins, colorants and other additives to provide the optimum safety for your products.

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