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February 20, 2005

Bishenol A

BISPHENOL A SAFETY CHALLENGED: There is consensus among the scientific research community that bisphenol A (BPA), the raw material for polycarbonate (PC), may be an endocrine-disrupting chemical that could be particularly damaging to human embryos and young children, says Frederick S. vom Saal, professor of biology at the University ofVomsaal  Missouri (Colombia, MO). The number of research papers published by scientists in journals such as Nature indicating a link between low-dose exposure to BPA and defects in prenatal and young babies has increased from "a handful a few years ago, to more than 90 today," vom Saal says. Vom Saal made his comments last week in London, where he met with opinion-makers to express his concerns about potential health problems associated with BPA at legally permitted exposure levels. The chemical industry says BPA is safe and that BPA levels in PC products such as bottles for feeding babies and food packaging, are not hazardous to humans. "BPA has been safely used for over 40 years and is one of the most extensively studied substances," the American Plastics Council says. See also http://endocrinedisruptors.missouri.edu/vomsaal/vomsaal.html. Chemical Week, 02/02/05, p. 7; Chemistry & Industry (London), 7 February 2005, p. 7.

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February 19, 2005

Plastics Recycling

BOTTLE RECYCLING REPORT: The recycling rate for plastic bottles held steady at 21% in 2003, with a rise in the high density polyethylene recycling rate Recycle2 masking a decline in the rate for PET bottles, according to a new report from the American Plastics Council. The report shows a continuation of the same trends that have dogged the bottle recycling market, while overall recycling volume remained stable, the rate is not gaining any ground, and in the largest market, for PET bottles, it slid back a little bit, APC said. APC's report said consumers appreciate recycling but are increasingly apathetic, and it blamed the growth of on-the-go packaging such as 20-ounce soft drink containers and the use of more plastic, particularly PET, in containers that typically are not recycled but could be, such as edible oil and ketchup bottles. An environmental group involved with beverage container recycling, however, said APC's analysis puts too much emphasis on personal habits, and it criticized the report for not discussing government policies that could boost plastic recycling, such as bottle bills. Consumers need to be given financial incentives to recycle, and they need more convenient opportunities for recycling away from home, said Jennifer Gitlitz, a senior research associate with the Container Recycling Institute, also in Arlington. Bottle bills have a much higher recycling rate than the programs that APC touts because they offer financial incentives to people, she said. APC opposes bottle bills, arguing that they are costly and that its customers in the beverage industry also oppose them. Plastics News, 02/07/05, p. 4.

February 17, 2005

Regulatory Update

Regulatory Update (www.regup.plastics.com) is a commercial newsletter summarizing regulatory and legislative developments in the health, safety and environmental field for the Plastics Industry.  Material is gathered from the Federal Register and weekly business and technical magazines.  The subscription price is $29.95 per year although two FREE weeks are granted upon registration.  Regulatory Update is updated daily.  This blog, which will include "snippets" from Regulatory Update is also FREE.


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