KRAIBURG TPE, Germany-headquartered manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomers, recently announced using only high-purity medical paraffinic white oil to make up TPEs intended for medical and consumer applications. As compared to the cheap tar distillates, medical-grade paraffinic white oil compounds are colorless, tasteless and odorless and will not interact with foods. Although these compounds involve higher costs and elaborate storage methods, the medical-grade paraffinic white oils used by the company are said to be entirely free of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are suspected of damaging DNA and causing cancer. At the end of March 2009, the TÜV Rhineland technical inspectorate (Germany) reported alarmingly high PAH values in various consumer products and that the cheaper tar distillates drives PAH concentrations upward.
For instance, a steering wheel cover, which will be in continuous contact with the driver's skin, exhibited a concentration 140 times the suggested value. Thus, in the course of an hour, the user will absorb as much PAH as he would by smoking about one thousand cigarettes. As opposed to tar distillates - the so-called "cheap plasticizers" - these paraffinic white oils are free of PAHs and medically approved. This has been verified in tests and certifications for the company's products, conducted as per DIN ISO 10993-5-10-11 and USP Class VI for medical technology, for instance. Further, KRAIBURG TPE compounds contain neither PVC nor latex and are claimed to be are soft, with good tactile qualities, ideal bonding and flow properties, and can be worked economically in co-injection molding processes.