This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will use resins, additives, and process aids shown by PlastiPure to be free of estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity (EA**) to create innovative and novel flexible plastic films and products for the preparation and storage of food and beverages that leach no chemicals having EA**. These films and products should remain free of EA** when extracted by common solvents and food simulants, and remain EA**-free after the stresses of manufacturing and exposure to common-use stresses (microwaving, thermal cycling, and UV light). PlastiPure also proposes to produce prototype products which would be specifically targeted for pregnant women, infants, and young children, whom are particularly vulnerable to the potentially adverse health effects of EA**. These highly desirable end products are already being sought by PlastiPure licensees and interested retailers.
The broader impacts of this research are development and commercialization of food and beverage packaging that are significantly safer, especially for pregnant women, infants, and young children. Fetal or juvenile mammals, including humans, are especially sensitive to effects of chemicals having EA** at very low dosages and hence should not indiscriminately ingest such chemicals. EA** has been strongly linked to higher rates of certain cancers, birth and learning disorders, obesity, and reproductive issues. PlastiPure's data show that the vast majority of plastic food packaging leaches chemicals with EA**, including those advertised as BPA-free. This NSF SBIR grant should facilitate a comprehensive reduction of risks to public health and reduced environmental impact from chemicals having EA.