Every day, millions of Americans around the country are exposed to polyolefin. It’s in our stores. It’s in our homes. It’s in our children’s schools and it might even travel home with them in their backpack. And yet, the government steadfastly refuses to institute any sort of ban on its dissemination. Why not?
The likeliest reason is that polyolefin isn’t particularly dangerous in any way. It’s often used in products as diverse as shrink film, rash guards, shoes and arm rests. It is particularly useful in these capacities because of strong chemical resistance, low surface energy and high chemical inertia, but does lose its effectiveness with drops in temperature, which is a phenomenon you might be familiar with if you’ve had to use it to wrap packages traveling long distances in highly disparate temperatures. On the plus side, however, it has not been linked to any major diseases in adults or children, which is something we should all strive for in our packaging materials.
Polyolefin can be dangerous if you swallow large amounts of it, however. If you are consistently in the habit of eating your turkey sandwiches without taking off the shrink wrap, you could be putting yourself at a choking hazard. This hazard isn’t particular to polyolefin, however; choking can occur via swallowing many every day objects, such as pennies or rocks.
If you’re looking to make a pair of crocs or a spa pillow, feel free to use polyolefin. However, if you are hoping to eat a delicious snack, you’d be better served with food.