BPA free Kostrate or polycarbonate (PC) for packages and containers? Polycarbonate has become a standard in the plastics molding industry. For many years it couldn’t be beat for home and kitchen applications that involved direct contact with food and beverages. Clear polycarbonate’s inherent shatter-resistance, lightweight, and optical clarity are advantageous for any product that will be shipped and displayed for purchase. Combine those qualities with heat resistance and low BPA, it became a popular choice for tableware, refillable bottles, and reusable food containers that can be stored in the refrigerator and heated in a microwave. Now with BPA free Kostrate sharing similar characteristics, manufacturers have even more options when it comes to food safety.
Examples of clear polycarbonate packages and containers:
- Reusable 5-gallon water bottles
- Baby bottles
- Bulk food containers
- Tableware such as plates and cups
- Food storage containers for storage and microwave heating
Clear polycarbonate is also popular in the construction industry. Because it is lightweight and transparent it is often used as a glass replacement. Available for purchase in corrugated or smooth panels, clear polycarbonate is used in greenhouses, as enclosures and as roofing material. A popular brand that has become synonymous with clear polycarbonate is Lexan®. Panels can be cut to size and are available at many big box hardware stores. If transparency is not desired polycarbonate plastic is available in a variety of colors too with as many or more applications.
Since 2003 the new plastic in town is Kostrate®. For blow molding and injection molding purposes the requests we receive most these days are for clear, BPA free plastics for food storage and containment. Bottles and packages of all shapes and sizes are created as well as office products, hardware products, healthcare and cosmetics packaging to toys, outdoor products, digital media and computer components and devices. For the food industry Kostrate® is most desirous for its safe BPA free status. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a key building block of polycarbonate plastic, and although studies show very low migration of BPA from polycarbonate, Kostrate® BPA free status makes Kostrate® the safer choice for items that have direct contact with food or any product or substance that may be ingested.
BPA free Kostrate or polycarbonate packages and containers for food products and packaging?
Many researchers have studied the potential for trace levels of BPA to migrate from polycarbonate into food and beverages. Under typical use, studies show that the potential migration of BPA into food is extremely low. In these studies, the level found is more than 4000 times lower than the maximum acceptable or “reference” dose for BPA of 0.05 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Essentially, an average adult consumer would need to ingest about 1300 pounds of food and beverage that is in contact with polycarbonate every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the level of BPA that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set as safe.
These studies were conducted by government agencies in the US, Europe and Japan, as well as studies conducted by academic researchers and by industry professionals. However, other studies are cited that claim polycarbonate transfers more BPA than the aforementioned studies claim. Because of this there are a number of states seeking to ban the use of PC in some food packaging and beverage containers, including California. In these states a polycarbonate ban would be placed on baby bottles and beverage containers for kids three and younger and possibly other plastic containers, toys, etc. that come in contact with children of certain ages.
So, should you choose BPA free Kostrate or polycarbonate for your product? If BPA free is critical for the safety of your product we would recommend Kostrate® to you. If you’re looking for product with heavy strength and it’s important but not critical to consumer safety, you may find polycarbonate suitable. If you are manufacturing a product that requires high impact strength PC wins against Kostrate in a wide temperature range roughly from below 0 to 300 F for PC and Kostrate is below 0 to 180 F.
If you have a product that requires a transparent, strong, but lightweight, plastic component or package give SPI a call today. We specialize in blow molding and injection molding of clear polycarbonate for use in many plastic products and product packaging. If you have food or beverages requiring transparent plastic packaging we have experience in both our blow molding and injection molding facilities for colored and clear Kostrate® packages and containers for food and most any other product you are producing to take to market. Give us a call today to determine which plastic will be the best choice for you product.
Preparation of Premarket Submissions for Food Contact Substances Chemistry Recommendations