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Estrogen Free Polymer Formulations for Food Packaging and Baby Products

Investigators
Laiz, Jacqueline
Institutions
Plastipure, Inc
Start date
2008
End date
2008
Objective
Recent scientific investigations have shown that plastics often leach endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) into the environment. EDCs interfere in various ways with hormones, most commonly estrogens, and can have significant adverse effects on many behavioral and physiological processes such as sperm counts, uterine and ovarian functions, aggressive behaviors, and sexual orientation. ED effects (agonistic or antagonistic) sometimes occur at very low (picomolar to nanomolar) concentrations, especially on fetal or developing mammals (including humans). The prevalence of EDCs in current polymer formulations and their biological effects warrant the development of plastic products free of estrogenic (EA) activity, especially for plastics used to package foodstuffs or to make baby products.

In order to meet this need, Plastipure (PPi) is submitting a Phase I SBIR grant to confirm that it is feasible to develop polymer formulations to make plastics that do not release chemicals having EA but that still possess many advantageous characteristics, such as microwavability, resistance to UV light and moisture, similar to current commercially available formulations. PPi proposes to use very sensitive in vitro assays to confirm that plastic products produced from PPi's formulations do not release chemicals having EA before or after exposure to adverse conditions commonly experienced by plastics during normal use (i.e. heat, moisture, UV light). Secondly, PPi plans to identify 3-5 estrogenic free antioxidants that can be utilized in additional formulations to produce EA-free plastics with very diverse physical characteristics.

If these Phase I feasibility studies are successful, PPi should have the only known formulations that can make a wide variety of plastic products that do not leach chemicals having EA. These formulations would then be licensed to plastic manufacturers who would then produce EA-free consumer products, such as food containers and baby bottles. Given the increasing concern of individuals for their and their children's well-being and PPi's requests from large and small retail firms, EA-free plastic products should have high commercial potential.

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Recent scientific investigations have shown that many chemicals used to manufacture plastics leach into the environment and are endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) that most commonly exhibit estrogenic activity (EA). EDC having EA cause various disorders such as uterine dysfunction or reduced sperm count and abnormal brain maturation leading to pathologies such as learning disabilities, disorders of attention, motivation, emotion, cognitive development, and changes in aggressive behavior and sexual orientation. Given such adverse effects of EDCs having EA on mammals (including humans) there is high scientific, societal, and commercial merit for PPi to confirm that it is feasible to develop EA-free plastic formulations for food packaging and baby products.

More information
For additional information, including history, sub-projects, results and publications, if available, visit the Project Information web page at the National Institutes of Health Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORTER) database.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Environmental Health Sciences
Project number
1R43ES016964-01
Categories
Prevention and Control
Packaging Residues