Safety of plastics

The unique characteristics of plastics can help in our everyday lives – keeping our food fresh, our surfaces hygienic, and our environments safe, while contributing to sustainability and a circular economy.

How plastics protect us

Packaging extends the shelf life of foods and beverages, preserving their sensory properties and protecting them from bacteria. Plastic packaging contributes to enhanced sustainability by reducing food waste.

Plastic pipes carry our drinking water safely and efficiently, and remove sewerage from our homes.

Many children’s toys are made of plastics, making them strong, lightweight, and washable.

Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, medical equipment, and safety helmets and suits (for example, for the fire service or chemical industry) rely on special plastics for the wearer’s protection.

In our cars, lightweight plastics are used to keep us safe with collision protection, airbags and safety belts, while enhancing our comfort. Lighter cars also improve fuel economy and reduce fuel consumption, which reduces CO2 emissions.

In sports, plastics provide consumers with efficient, light and strong safety gear. From bicycle helmets to protect cyclists to flotation devices for the water, plastics help to keep sporting activities safer.

Plastic is also durable, strong, hygienic, lightweight and secure – meaning it can be used safely across many different applications.

There is much legislation in place to ensure that plastics are safe for use and as plastics and sciences evolve, the safety requirements adapt accordingly.

8 min read

Plastics: Road Safety’s Guardian Angels

To say that plastics used in vehicles are only used to make them lighter underestimates their role … Polymers also contribute to the safety of motorists and other road users
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Tria, the first polymer heart valve

Tria, an aortic heart valve made from LifePolymer, an advanced biopolymer material, could help save and improve the lives of millions of patients.
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Natural disasters, polymers providing a lifeline

Nature reminds us from time to time that it can be fearsome. Tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones… they are brutal and not always predictable. Some solutions have been developed to cope with them, and polymers can be called in to help.
2 min read

A self-inflating safety device

Summer is fast approaching, and that means days at the beach, at the pool or lakeside, as well as boat trips. However, caution must be exercised, as drowning remains one of the top 10 causes of death, with more than 370,000 drowning each year worldwide, i.e. 42 people per hour.
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A secure plastic for official documents

Crime Science Technology, a Lille-based start-up specialised in securing identity documents and banknotes, has developed a new technology for securing and authenticating identity documents.
6 min read

Rescue: the helping hand of plastics

Sporting holidays, whether at sea or in the mountains, are not without their dangers. And carelessness is not necessarily always responsible for accidents. Nature, as majestic as it may be, can sometimes be threatening. In order to minimise risks, the top priority remains equipping oneself with appropriate equipment in which plastics show their full effectiveness.
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A fiery temper for polymers

It is commonly believed that plastics and high temperatures do not go well together! These beliefs are often misleading and unfair to the material: in fact, some polymers love the heat, to the delight of manufacturers and consumers alike. Les plastiques ne feraient pas bon ménage avec les fortes températures ! Les idées reçues ont […]
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Upya, a high-performance and affordable prosthetic foot

Exoneo, a recently-incorporated company specialising in biomechanics, has developed a high-performance polyarticulated foot prosthesis. It hopes to provide an accessible and easy-to-manufacture solution for amputees living in countries deprived of affordable prosthetic equipment.
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An artificial cornea to restore sight

A 78-year-old blind man has regained his sight after receiving the world’s first synthetic cornea implant.