It seems like you can't open a newspaper or click on a website these days without seeing a headline about BPA
or bisphenol-A. Typically, these stories are centered on one of two things: potential sources (like baby bottles or store receipts) for the chemical or potential legislation limiting its use. But recently, a new type of BPA story has been in the headlines: There's now an alternative to the highly controversial chemical.
Archer Daniels Midland, an agricultural conglomerate, announced that it will now offer its corn-based isosorbide to the market as potential alternative to BPA in plastics and other chemical applications. According to the company, isosorbide is a safe, renewable BPA alternative that can be used in almost every chemical application where BPA is currently used.
Isosorbide is a versatile ingredient with a wide range of applications. It can be used in polyesters for inks, toners, powder coatings, packaging and durable goods; polyurethanes for foams and coatings; polycarbonates for durable goods and optical media; epoxy resins for paints; and detergents, surfactants and additives for personal care and consumer products.
Is this good news or bad news for the environment? It's too soon to tell. Sure, there are pluses to replacing BPA with isosorbide. BPA is made from petroleum whereas isosorbide is derived from corn. That's a biggie.
But let's face it, isosorbide won't be derived from organic corn, so the impact of agricultural process used to create the chemical has to be taken in to consideration. Not to mention that corn will have to be grown for industrial processes instead of food for humans or animals. And it's also important to remember that isosorbide is currently just another chemical compound with potential reactions and health implications of its own.
But it's a good start in the field of BPA alternatives and I, for one, certainly look forward to hearing more about isosorbide as more testing is done.