Nontoxic Alternatives to Phthalate Plasticizers for PVC

Tech ID: 29098 / UC Case 2013-339-0


Phthalates are synthetic chemicals added to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to make flexible plastics. Due to health concerns, phthalates have been banned from children's products in the United States and Europe, but they are still used in a wide range of consumer products, including food wrap, medical devices, automotive parts, and building materials., chemicals that interfere with the body's hormone systems. Effects on wildlife of phthalates in the environment are also a concern.

Phthalates are readily absorbed by the body through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. Phthalate exposure has been associated with reproductive and developmental abnormalities in animal studies. Epidemiological studies in humans also suggest that exposure to phthalates may have adverse health effects, including reproductive abnormalities that can lead to infertility. Phthalates are metabolized by the body into compounds that are considered endocrine disruptors.

Because phthalates are not chemically bound to the PVC polymer, they tend to migrate out of plastic products and into the environment. The same is true of alternative plasticizers currently on the market. Dr. Rebecca Braslau’s laboratory has developed an approach to use compounds to replace phthalates that can be chemically attached to the PVC polymer chain: “internal plasticizers.”    

Technology Description

This invention describes nontoxic, plasticizing alternatives to phthalates, and the process for making them. The process can be easily implemented on an industrial scale. In addition to their non-leaching properties, these replacement compounds are also cheap and affordable to make. Taken all together, this invention marks a potential game-changing shift in the world of plasticized PVC.

State Of Development

Small scale internal plasticizers showing excellent plasticization have been developed. The full physical properties are being analyzed, and variations in structure are being investigated.


  •  Manufacturing of PVC for a variety of applications


  • Potential game-changer with respect to plastic toxicity
  • Non-endocrine disrupting
  • Non-leaching
  • Chemical process achieved post-polymerization
  • Affordable and scalable to make
  • Easily implemented on an industrial scale


Intellectual Property Information

Patent Pending


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  • Braslau, Rebecca L.

Other Information


Plasticizers, PVC, polyvinyl chloride, Phthalates, Non-leaching chemicals, Plastic, Polymers, Endocrine disrupters, Non-endocrine disrupting chemicals, Synthetic chemicals, Harmful chemicals, Internal plasticizer, Non-mirgratory plasticizer

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