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Toxicity in reactions between liquid paraffin and polyurethane/polyethylene

  1. Jan 29, 2012 #1
    Would putting liquid paraffin (C[itex]_{n}[/itex]H[itex]_{2n + 2}[/itex]) in either a polyurethane or polyethylene bladder (such as a camelbak hydration bladder) create any compounds that have a higher toxicity than that of paraffin itself? I know that all petroleum distillates act as weak solvents and I'm curious as to whether paraffin will dissolve such a bladder (and if so, is it an issue?)

    Thank you,
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2012 #2
    This is probably best answered by empirical methods. Typically plastic items are not made of pure polyethylene or polyurethane, but are compounded with plasticizers, pigments and fillers to strengthen and make items more flexible and thus useful.
    Your liquid paraffin may leach these and change the item's strength (could become brittle); these plasticizers can be small molecules like BPA, which has its own issues... pigments can be heavy metal based (unless the item is food grade), or oil soluble dyes which may have toxicity. But the experiment will tell all.
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