Medical, consumer groups target vinyl
SAN FRANCISCO — The American Medical Association is considering urging alternatives to PVC for use in hospitals, citing concern about toxic dioxins emitted from burning vinyl in medical-waste incinerators.
The AMA's California delegation wants the nationwide group to adopt an anti-PVC resolution at a meeting in Hawaii during the week of Dec. 7, but the resolution is not a priority, said Sandra Bresler, director of professional and scientific policy for the California Medical Association in San Francisco.
The AMA resolution said dioxins are linked with birth defects, reproductive dysfunction, endocrine disruption and cancer at extremely low doses. Dioxin is formed by burning chlorine, and AMA said that PVC accounts for most of the organically bound chlorine in medical waste.
Mark Sofman, manager of industry affairs with the Vinyl Institute in Morristown, N.J., said new Environmental Protection Agency standards will reduce dioxin emitted from medical-waste incinerators by 90 percent.
Incinerator operating conditions, not the amount of chlorine burned, play a key role in dioxin emissions, he said.
The AMA resolution comes as Public Interest Research Groups in states across the country put soft vinyl toys containing phthalates on their lists of hazardous toys. This marked the first year the toys have made the lists, which were released Nov. 24.
DuPont sticking to PTFE expansion plan
WILMINGTON, DEL. — DuPont has earmarked significant funds to strengthen its position in the Teflon polytetrafluoroethylene resin market.
``We've invested $20 million in PTFE in the past three years, and we're going to invest another $100 million during the next five years,'' Henry Voigt, global business director for Teflon, said in a news release.
The Wilmington-based company makes PTFE at its Parkersburg, W.Va., plant and expects to install the process at plants in Dordrecht, Netherlands, and Shimizu, Japan. By the end of the five-year global program, DuPont's capacity will increase 30 percent. The firm declined to reveal its current capacity.
``With these investments, we'll be able to meet increasing customer requirements for fine powder, granular and dispersion forms of Teflon PTFE,'' Voigt said. DuPont plans to add new equipment and upgrade existing equipment at the plants.
PTFE often is used as corrosion protection, lining pipes, valves and fittings used in the chemical industry.
Milgard building new Calif. window plant
TACOMA, WASH. — Milgard Manufacturing Inc. is spending $5.5 million to expand its Temecula, Calif., window assembly plant.
The firm is building a 123,000-square-foot plant in Temecula and will close its current facility there when the new one begins operating in May. It needs more capacity for the growing Southern California market for vinyl windows for the retrofit and remodeling segments.
Jim Sweeney, general manager of the Temecula plant, said the new facility will not include profile extruders. Temecula, like other Milgard window plants, sources vinyl profiles from its Tacoma headquarters.
Milgard has focused sales in the West, but it is opening a sales office in Chicago and plans to begin assembling windows at a Midwest location by March, Sweeney said in a telephone interview.
Dean looks to replace bottle's PVC labels
CHICAGO — Dean Foods Co. has begun testing aimed at replacing PVC with glycol-modified PET for labels on its Milk Chug polyethylene bottles.
The company is doing internal testing and hopes to have results after the first of the year, Dean spokesman Dave Rotunno said at the recent Pack Expo 98 show in Chicago. The firm is testing at several plants to see if the full-body, shrink-wrap labels conform to the bottles.
In addition, Chicago-based Dean is working with suppliers to create wraparound labels for its half-gallon and gallon containers. The company hopes the wraparound labels will provide a bolder brand identity. In addition, Dean and other companies could take advantage of promotional opportunities, such as coupons, on the labels.