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How to Keep Plastics Odors Under Control?

SpecialChem / May 4, 2005

In response to consumer preferences, plastics resin compounders and fabricators have long tried to reduce levels of offensive odors emitted by finished plastic products. This is typically accomplished by replacing unpleasant smelling additives with low-odor substitutes, minimizing levels of monomers in plastics, adding odor absorbers to plastics and using antimicrobial agents to prevent formation of musty odors by bacteria and fungi. In the processing of recycled plastics, solvent extraction and degassing can help reduce lingering odors. Many compounds found in plastics are responsible for objectionable odors. They include amines, phenols, mercaptans, peroxides, styrene, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, and some plasticizers and fire retardants . Organic solvents used in plastics processing can also give off strong chemical smells. This article offers a brief overview of the measures that can be taken to reduce odors from plastics. The tertiary amines used as catalysts in the production of molded polyurethane foams are often associated with strong odors, as well as fogging of windows in automotive interiors.

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