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| Last Updated:04/10/2017

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Eco-friendly plastics made from Lemon, CO2 to curb carcinogens (Source: The Hindu 17/07/2017)

                  Scientists have developed eco-friendly plastics using lemon extracts and carbon dioxide that may replace potentially cancer-causing materials widely used in everyday items such as phone cases, baby bottles and DVDs.Several million tonnes of polycarbonate are produced every year around the world. However, worries about the dangers of this material are increasing because of the toxicity of its precursors, especially bisphenol-A, a potential carcinogen.Researchers led by Arjan Kleij from Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) in Spain, developed a method to produce polycarbonates from limonene and CO2, both abundant and natural products.

Besides, limonene is able to replace a dangerous building block currently used in commercial polycarbonates — bisphenol-A (also known as BPA).Although BPA has been repeatedly classified as a safe chemical by American and European agencies, some studies point out that it is a potential endocrine-disruptor, neurotoxic, and carcinogen.

Some countries such as France, Denmark and Turkey have banned the use of BPA in the production of baby bottles.“BPA is safe, but still causes concerns and is produced from petroleum feedstock,” Kleij said. “Our approach replaces it with limonene, which can be isolated from lemons and oranges, giving us a much greener, more sustainable alternative".