Wood byproduct can replace BPA in plastic: Researchers

A laborer cuts the edges of bottles to prepare them for shredding at a plastic recycling factory in...

A laborer cuts the edges of bottles to prepare them for shredding at a plastic recycling factory in Lahore. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 1:45 PM ET

A byproduct of papermaking and wood-pulping could be turned into a safer, greener compound to replace the potentially harmful chemical BPA in plastic products, researchers say.

Scientists from the University of Delaware have turned lignin, a compound that gives wood its strength, into a compound similar to bisphenol-A.

BPA has been banned in some plastics, including baby bottles, because it can mimic the hormone estrogen, potentially affecting a person's body.

The compound from lignin fragments is called bisguaiacol-F, or BGF.

"We know the molecular structure of BPA plays a large role in disrupting our natural hormones, specifically estrogen," researcher Kaleigh Reno said in a release.

"We used this knowledge in designing BGF such that it is incapable of interfering with hormones but retains the desirable thermal and mechanical properties of BPA."

The research was presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, Texas, on Monday.


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