Beyond BPA: Court Battle Reveals A Shift In Debate Over Plastic Safety – FEBRUARY 16, 2015 3:42 AM ET


BPA-free isn’t good enough anymore, if you’re trying to sell plastic sippy cups, water bottles and food containers.

Eastman Chemical went a step beyond calling Tritan plastic BPA-free, setting off a legal challenge.

Eastman Chemical went a step beyond calling Tritan plastic BPA-free, setting off a legal challenge. Eastman

The new standard may be “EA-free,” which means free of not only BPA, short for bisphenol A, but also other chemicals that mimic the hormone estrogen.

At least that’s the suggestion of a recent legal battle between a chemical company and an academic scientist with business interests in the plastics industry. The proceedings offer a glimpse of the struggle for the hearts and minds of consumers concerned about the safety of plastics.

The roots of the legal conflict go back to 2002, when Eastman Chemical began developing a new plastic called Tritan. It was designed to be “a tough, clear, high-temperature, chemically resistant and also dishwasher-resistant product,” says Chris Killian, a vice president for specialty products at Eastman.

And Tritan had another desirable quality. Unlike many plastics, it didn’t contain BPA, a chemical that, in large doses, caused hormone-related health problems in animals.

The absence of BPA in Tritan was a fortunate accident, Killian says, one that gave the new plastic a big boost when Eastman began selling it in 2007.

By then, many consumers were avoiding products made with BPA. And the FDA was still trying to decide whether these products posed any health risk. The uncertainty surrounding BPA gave Tritan a big boost, Killian says.

“We certainly became aware of the growing interest from both the consumers and from some of our customers with respect to having a BPA-free alternative,” he says. “But none of us could have predicted the magnitude of that interest.”

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/02/16/385747786/beyond-bpa-court-battle-reveals-a-shift-in-debate-over-plastic-safety

That Takeout Coffee Cup May Be Messing With Your Hormones – —By Mariah Blake | Mon Dec. 1, 2014 6:30 AM EST


A new study suggests that whole classes of BPA-free plastics—including the kind in styrofoam—release estrogenic chemicals.

Mike G/Thinkstock

Most people know that some plastics additives, such as bisphenol A (BPA), may be harmful to their health. But an upcoming study in the journal Environmental Health finds that entire classes of plastics—including the type commonly referred to as styrofoam and a type used in many baby products—may wreak havoc on your hormones regardless of what additives are in them.

The study’s authors tested 14 different BPA-free plastic resins, the raw materials used to make plastic products, and found that four of them released chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen. That’s not surprising. As Mother Jones reported earlier this year, many BPA-free plastic goods—from baby bottles and sippy cups to food-storage containers—leach potentially harmful estrogenlike chemicals. But until now, it wasn’t clear what role the resins played. The new study suggests that sometimes the resins themselves are part of the problem, though additives such as dyes and antioxidants can make it worse.

In the case of polystyrene, the resin used in styrofoam and similar products, the authors tested 11 samples and consistently found estrogen seepage after exposure to intense steam or ultraviolet rays.

Styrofoam is a registered trademark of Dow. The company stresses that its product is used for crafts and building insulation, not food and beverage containers. (“There isn’t a coffee cup, cooler, or packaging material in the world made from actual Styrofoam,” according to Dow’s website.) But generic polystyrene foam, which most people call styrofoam anyway, is ubiquitous in the food services industry, where its found in everything from meat trays to takeout containers. Polystyrene resin—which the Environmental Protection Agency has labeled a suspected carcinogen—is also used to make hard plastic items, including utensils and toothbrushes.

Article continues:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/11/tritan-bpa-free-plastic-styrofoam-estrogen

The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics – By Mariah Blake | March/April 2014 Issue


Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at Mar 4, 2014 2.39

Update (3/3/14): After this story went to press, the US Food and Drug Administration published a paper finding that BPA was safe in low doses. However, the underlying testing was done on a strain of lab rat known as the Charles River Sprague Dawley, which doesn’t readily respond to synthetic estrogens, such as BPA. And, due to laboratory contamination, all of the animals—including the control group—were exposed to this chemical. Academic scientists say this raises serious questions about the study’s credibility. Stay tuned for more in-depth reporting on the shortcomings of the FDA’s most recent study.

Each night at dinnertime, a familiar ritual played out in Michael Green’s home: He’d slide a stainless steel sippy cup across the table to his two-year-old daughter, Juliette, and she’d howl for the pink plastic one. Often, Green gave in. But he had a nagging feeling. As an environmental-health advocate, he had fought to rid sippy cups and baby bottles of the common plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA), which mimics the hormone estrogen and has been linked to a long list of serious health problems. Juliette’s sippy cup was made from a new generation of BPA-free plastics, but Green, who runs the Oakland, California-based Center for Environmental Health, had come across research suggesting some of these contained synthetic estrogens, too.

 

Article continues:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tritan-certichem-eastman-bpa-free-plastic-safe