We all want to trust “the system” when it comes to issues such as potentially toxic chemicals that could affect our health. But new reports about polycarbonate baby bottles are disturbing. Research from the federal National Toxicology Program is said to raise ‘’some concern” about bisphenol A potentially leaching from polycarbonate baby bottles and other products. Rats exposed to the chemical showed disturbing changes, including some linked to cancer. Canadian health officials say bisphenol A may endanger humans and any may ban the substance from baby bottles. Polycarbonate producers such as Sabic Innovative Plastics are referring questions to Dr. Steven Hentges, a polycarbonate expert at the American Chemistry Council. The ACC has released a very guarded statement, which says that the new studies confirm their position that exposure to BPA is negligible. Dr. Hentges calls on the U.S. government to conduct more studies to affirm the safety of BPA. I wonder what Dr. Hentges is telling his family members about use of polycarbonate baby bottles, which are typically exposed to high heat in a dishwasher? I’ll bet he’s telling them to take no chances. Use safer BPA-free alternatives. Why take any chances? There are limits (big limits) to how far we should go to protect our chemical industry.
It’s not clear to what extent there are also health concerns about epoxy resins, which are typically made with bisphenol A and widely used as a coating in food n beverage cans.
Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
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