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At a February 11 trade press breakfast, Eastman Chemical Co. announced that it is launching medical grades of its Tritan copolyester. Scott Hanson, the company's global industry leader, noted that Tritan was introduced in late 2007 to consumer markets for use in reusable sports water bottles, infant care, and houseware products. Now Tritan is being aimed at applications such as IV system components, and respiratory and blood therapy devices, offering a balance of design, molding, and end-product properties for medical devices. Eastman plans to sell Tritan resin to both injection-molders and directly to medical device manufacturers that have in-house injection-molding capabilities.

Tritan medical-grade polymers are designed to provide lipid and chemical resistance (important in hospitals where devices may be subjected to harsh cleaners, and in home care applications where the resin withstands cleaning in dishwashers), high heat stability, easy processing, clarity, durability, and toughness. Hanson said that Tritan is made without bisphenol-A (BPA) or halogens. He noted that the Food and Drug Administration was in the process of acquiring information about medical devices that may contain BPA.

Hanson added that Tritan resins are cost-competitive with acrylics and polycarbonates, and may be processed with the same tooling used for copolyesters. The company is looking into pharmaceutical applications for Tritan as well.

--Jim Butschli, Editor
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