The plastics industry has faced many public relations problems in its history. Its approach to problems has improved in recent years, but the bisphenol A (BPA) controversy appears to represent a step backward in how it deals with public controversies.
That was apparent at a plenary session presentation today at the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) in Boston by Nitin Apte, the general manager of global marketing and technology for Sabic Innovative Plastics in Pittsfield, MA. Apte gave an interesting, upbeat look at Sabic IP’s approach to the engineering thermoplastics business. His presentation included a look at new work on polycarbonate, which is made with BPA. New FR grades target LED housings, TV bezels, and notebook computer housings.
At the conclusion of his talk, a Motorola engineer asked Apte about BPA, noting ongoing talk of further regulation and potential health risks. Sounding frustrated, the engineer asked: “What are you doing to do to protect customers like Motorola?” You could hear a pin drop in the crowd of about 600. Apte told the questioner that he would have to ask the American Chemistry Council about BPA. That has been the standard response of PC producers for the last couple years about all BPA questions.
Is there work ongoing to develop formulations that will quiet talk of potential health risk? Are there definitive studies that show PC poses no health risk? The ACC does address some questions at its Web site.