Basic Plastic FAQs
What is a polymer?
The term “polymer” is often used to describe plastics and other materials. Literally translated, polymer means “many units.” These units are sometimes referred to as monomers, and they are the building blocks that form a plastic. To form a plastic article, these monomers undergo a chemical change that causes them to become connected to each other. In addition to synthetic plastics, the term “polymer” also can be applied to natural biopolymers, such as cellulose and starch.
How do I know if a plastic (or polymer) is safe?
Your best way to identify safe polymers is to know how thoroughly they have been tested — and how reliable are the scientific testing and conclusions. Evaluating a plastic using a comprehensive set of reliable and definitive tests is the best approach.
For your safety, a polymer like Eastman Tritan™ copolyester must undergo a variety of tests before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow the polymer to be used in products that can come in contact with food or drink. Tritan has been thoroughly tested by independent third-party laboratories using well-recognized scientific methods and has been cleared for use in products that contact food by scientists and regulatory agencies around the world.
What is estrogenic activity (EA)? Androgenic activity (AA)?
Estrogen and testosterone are hormones that are essential to many important biological processes in animals and humans, including sexual differentiation and development. Studies have suggested that certain synthetic and naturally occurring chemicals can interfere with these processes and lead to adverse effects. Endocrine disruptors are defined as chemicals that can activate or inhibit the human endocrine system and ultimately lead to adverse health effects. Among endocrine disruptors, chemicals that mimic estrogen and testosterone in living animals are said to be estrogenic (EA) and androgenic (AA), respectively.
Comprehensive, independent third-party testing using well-recognized scientific tests has demonstrated that Eastman Tritan™ copolyester is free of estrogenic and androgenic activity.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a monomer used in some specific plastics, including polycarbonate. BPA also is used in a coating to prevent deterioration of the metal surface in canned foods.
Is Eastman Tritan™ copolyester made with BPA?
BPA is not and has never been an ingredient or byproduct of the production of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. Validation that Tritan is a BPA-free plastic is supported by robust testing and internal and independent third-party testing by accredited laboratories.
Besides BPA, are there any other bisphenol analogs (such as BPS) used in the manufacture of Tritan?
Eastman Tritan™ copolyester formulations are not manufactured with BPA or other bisphenols; for example, bisphenol S (BPS), which would be chemical analogs of BPA. There is no reason to expect that these substances would be present in BPA-free Tritan.
If a product is stamped with a “7,” does it mean that it contains BPA?
No; nor is it a measure of the safety of a product. The number, usually located in the center of the triangular recycle symbol, is called the “resin identification code” and is intended to facilitate sorting of materials for recycling. Currently, resin identification code “7” is for “other” resins that are not defined by codes 1 through 6. Thus, a number of unrelated plastics can carry a code 7, including Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, polycarbonate, nylon and even the newer bio-plastics. Many well-known manufacturers identify their products made from Tritan with code 7.
What are the details of the Eastman lawsuit regarding EA?
On July 24, 2013, a federal jury in Austin, Texas, ruled in favor of Eastman in its lawsuit against PlastiPure, Inc., and its sister company CertiChem, Inc. Through evidence, Eastman proved that false and misleading statements were made against its Tritan copolyester material, and the company upheld the safety of Tritan. You can learn more about the Eastman lawsuit at Tritan Safe — Get the Facts.
For more in-depth information about Tritan safety, visit Safety Testing. More information about the Eastman lawsuit can be found at Tritan Safety—Get the Facts.
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