When life gives you lemons, make bioplastics
From your phone case to airplane windows, polycarbonates are everywhere. Several million tons of polycarbonate are produced every year around the world. However, worries about the dangers of this material are increasing because of the toxicity of its precursors, especially bisphenol-A, a potential carcinogen.
Now, a team of chemists led by Arjan Kleij, ICIQ group leader and ICREA professor, developed a method to produce polycarbonates from limonene and CO2, both abundant and natural products. Besides, limonene is able to replace a dangerous building block currently used in commercial polycarbonates: bisphenol-A (also known as BPA). Although BPA has been repeatedly classified as a safe chemical by American and European agencies, some studies point out that it is a potential endocrine-disruptor, neurotoxic, and carcinogen. Some countries like France, Denmark and Turkey have banned the use of BPA in the production of baby bottles.