As a manufacturer and consumer, it’s crucial that you’re aware of the toxin content of the products you produce and consume. Most consumers would be shocked at how many products they buy on a regular basis that contain high levels of toxins. In fact, one study of 1,500 children’s toys found that 1 in every 3 toys contains potentially harmful levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, phthalates, and other harmful toxins.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the health risks that toxins in plastic products pose. For example, BPA, or bisphenol A, is used to make plastics and resins more durable and transparent. BPA exhibits hormone-like properties, which has led consumers to fear that BPA can impact the development of fetuses, babies and children. Concern about the endocrine disrupting properties of BPA has changed the way that consumers view plastic products, and has even led to the discontinued use of BPA in baby bottles.
Whether or not BPA actually impairs the development of children, producers must be aware that more and more consumers are avoiding toxins in plastic. Many producers are looking for a way to avoid using toxins in plastic in order to more successfully market their products and better meet consumer demand.
Using toxins in plastic products may also lead to PR headaches and product recalls for manufacturers. For instance, although BPA hasn’t been banned in the United States, companies like Playtex and Nalgene bowed to consumer pressure and voluntarily recalled all bottles containing BPA from store shelves. Product recalls and bad press can be devastating to manufacturers. Ensuring that your plastic products are free of toxins will help you avoid these headaches down the road.
As consumers become more aware of the health and environmental risks that plastic products pose, savvy producers may market their products as “BPA free” or “Toxin free.” But how can you be sure that there are no toxins in your plastic products, especially if you use components from third party producers? The good news is that material testing labs can help producers test for toxins in plastic. Here are some examples of how they do that.
FTIR Analysis Identifies Phthalates
A company that received a shipment of beach balls from China had to ensure that the toys were free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and phthalates before sending them on to be sold in California. Scientists at Innovatech Labs used FTIR analysis to analyze the stem and plug materials of the beach balls. FTIR analysis revealed that the beach balls contained PVC. The company ultimately decided not to ship the beach balls to California, which eliminated the potential of a product recall.
GC/MS Identifies Endocrine Disruptors in Plastic Wrap
GC/MS analysis is commonly used to identify toxins, contaminants, and trace elements. Scientists can also use GC/MS analysis to identify endocrine disruptors like BPA in plastic products.
Plastic wrap has raised concern from many consumers who are afraid that the plastics will leach toxins into the food they are designed to protect. With this in mind, researchers soaked several different brands of plastic wrap in water and exposed the samples to heat. The scientists then used GC/MS analysis to analyze the water and see if it had been contaminated by the plastic wrap samples. While all of the plastic wraps left residual compounds in the water, the chemical composition of the trace elements varied by sample. Some samples leached endocrine disruptors and phthalates, while others did not. This demonstrates that some products contain more toxins that others, and manufacturers should be aware of where their products fall in this spectrum.
As toxins in plastic continue to impact consumers’ buying decisions, manufactures should know whether or not their products contain toxins. Contact Innovatech Labs if you are interested in analyzing your products or components for toxic compounds.