Controversial plastics additive bisphenol A (BPA) could be replaced using a component of wood, lignin. BPA is used in the manufacture of shatter-proof plastic eyewear and sports equipment, in high-performance adhesives, food and drink container liners and many other areas. However, it is known to be an estrogen mimic and its activity in the body and environment has raised health and safety concerns that its use should be banned. Kaleigh Reno and Richard Wool of the University of Delaware have now demonstrated a conversion of lignin to bisguaiacol-F (BGF), which they say has a similar structure to BPA. The team is now testing its properties and suggest that a viable alternative to BPA will be marketable within two to five years.
Displacing BPA, naturally