Several resin producers now offer grades of plastics that are "animal free" in response to concerns about potential contamination from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad-cow disease.
Fears about the neurological disease peaked in the United Kingdom in 1993 at almost 1,000 new cases per week. Since then, the numbers of BSE cases has dropped sharply; 14,562 cases in 1995, 1,443 in 2000, 225 in 2005 and 11 cases in 2010, according to the US Center for Disease Control.
However, the impact of the disease on the plastics industry seems to have been growing inversely to the actual incidence of the disease. Reasons include increasing focus on extractables in medical plastics, the minuscule role of cow derivatives in plastics, and lack of effective substitutes.
Value Plastics, a design and molding company located in Fort Collins, CO, says that demand for its animal-free plastics has grown significantly since they were first offered in 2006. ...