Plasticizers are additives used in the plastic industry especially for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) manufacturing. It is the softening agent added to polymers to induce flexibility and improve processability. Initially, the plasticizer application is limited to the plastic industry, until the issue boom from Taiwan bubble tea industry, where plasticizer is used as clouding and thickening agent to induce smooth tastes of the beverages. This issue becomes so serious because plasticizers can cause serious health hazard when consumed orally. The most commonly found plasticizer is phathalate-based type. This type of plasticizer includes Diisononyl phthalate, Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, dioctyl phthalate, etc., and has been banned in Europe and western countries, mainly due to its high dose exposure has shown change of hormone levels and cause birth defects. In addition, adding large amount of plasticizer in plastics can increase its fire risk, because plasticizer itself is a high flammable substance. Nevertheless, plasticizers are not added in every plastic product. Some of the plasticizers are produced from the renewable resources such as soy bean oil which has found its usage in medical products as well.
Ir. Dr Tee Tiam Ting is an associate professor in Chemical Engineering Department of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR). He has more than 30 years of teaching and research experiences in the university. He was the former vice president of IEM and currently the fellow member of IEM.
Dr Lee Tin Sin is an assistant professor in Chemical Engineering Department of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. He graduated from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical-Polymer) and PhD in Polymer Engineering.
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