The phthalate-free plasticizer Mesamoll II manufactured by specialty chemicals group LANXESS has taken its final step toward gaining European approval for use in food contact applications. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its scientific opinion on the additive at the end of 2009. These findings concluded that alkyl(C10-C21)sulfonic acid phenyl ester, the chemical component of the plasticizer Mesamoll II, does not pose a risk to humans when used to manufacture toys or in dry and water-based food packaging applications. A positive evaluation from the EFSA is generally the final step before European approval for these areas of application is granted. LANXESS expects to receive official approval from the European Commission in the fall of 2010.
When this is granted, Mesamoll II would be one of the few plasticizers deemed suitable for use in food packaging in both the United States and the EU. However, the benefits aren't limited to just this specific market – the approval will also have a positive effect on the use of Mesamoll II in toys. Mesamoll II has already received food contact approval from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as of 2007.
"In 2009, we decided to focus actively on the toys market again with Mesamoll II," says Jorge Nogueira, head of the Functional Chemicals business unit at LANXESS. "The products for the toy industry exported each year by China alone contain 35,000 metric tons of plasticizer worth more than EUR 60 million – and that represents just a small portion of overall global demand. We are keen to expand our share in this market. If, as expected, we gain the necessary approval for use with foodstuffs, it would represent a crucial leap forward and show toy manufacturers that Mesamoll II is a safe option," adds Nogueira.