On September 14, 2016, news provider Environmental Leader published an article by journalist Jessica Lyons Hardcastle on the Eastman’s non-phthalate plasticizer chemical. Hardcastle writes that, according to the chemical company, the product Eastman 168 SG is the first plasticizer to meet  EPA’s Safer Choice program criteria. The substance has also been included in the non-profit organization GreenBlue’s CleanGredients database.

The substance in question is a mixture of predominantly bis (2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (DEHT; CAS 6422-86-2) and less than 2% of ethylhexyl methyl terephthalate (EHMT; CAS 63468-13-3). Eastman successfully filed a food contact substance notification (FCN) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 which is listed in FDA’s FCN inventory. DEHT is also authorized as additive for use in food contact plastics under EU 10/2011, with a specific migration limit of 60 mg/kg food (in the absence of other plasticizers). EHMT, on the other hand, is not.

Of note, FCNs are valid only for the applicant (in this case, Eastman), as the manufacturing process of a food contact substance and related impurities is taken into consideration. In the case of DEHT the absence of impurities may be critical, as the substance is very closely related to the ortho-phthalate and chemical of concern, bis (2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP; CAS 117-81-7). It is unknown whether possible DEHP impurities were considered in the EPA’s evaluation of DEHT.

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Jessica Hardcastle (2016). “Eastman non-phthalate plasticizer meets EPA Safer Choice chemical criteriaEnvironmental Leader (published September 14, 2016)