Consider Alternatives to Phthalates and PVC Materials
Phthalates are a family of chemicals used in plastics. Their main use is to soften and increase the flexibility of vinyl based materials, healing as well as other plastic materials. Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC, is made softer and more flexible through the addition of phthalate based plasticizers. Because flexible PVC is a high volume global material, phthalate based plasticizers, mostly di(2-ethlhexyl) phthalate or DEHP, are used extensively in its manufacturing process.
Phthalates have been connected to a myriad of negative health effects such as cancer, shop endocrine disruption, child mental development, as well as obesity and the complications that arise because of it.
For a “healthy” alternative to flexible, phthalate based plasticized PVC compounds, look to Styrenic Block Copolymer (SBC) thermoplastic elastomers. Their inert ingredient constituents do not have the negative health consequences that flexible PVC is connected with. In addition, they can be formulated to reach extreme softness levels (down to gels) that flexible PVC is not able to attain. They also can be formulated to achieve very low specific gravity levels (down to 0.85) which makes them perfect for applications where “light-weighting” is a key benefit. This is compared to the specific gravity of PVC at about 1.4. Lower specific gravity also means lower “pound volume” cost as compared to the higher specific gravity properties of PVC. SBCs can be formulated for extreme clarity, as well as a physical property matrix comparable to flexible PVC compounds.
SBC TPEs provide a viable, cost-competitive alternative to flexible PVC compounds without all of the negative health issues.
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