Is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Plastic Toxic?

Paderno World Cuisine ABS Plastic Chopper

We first looked at ABS plastic 3 years ago because it kept showing up in highchairs.  Our research at the time showed that ABS was an extremely stable resin that didn’t leach toxic chemicals into food, water or little teething mouths.  We’ve continued watching for updates and so far, our initial conclusion remains true today as no new studies have come to light showing otherwise.

While it’s true that the individual ingredients, such as styrene, may be toxic on their own in liquid/vapor forms, ABS plastic resin seems to be stable and non-leaching.  It’s the same situation with other plastics like acrylonitrile styrene (AS) or styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) which is used in Brita pitchers and many mixing bowls, dishes, cups and cutlery.  AS/SAN and ABS are higher quality plastics with increased strength, rigidity, toughness and temperature and chemical resistance.

ABS is made by adding butadiene during the manufacture of AS/SAN, resulting a hard and durable that is stable through a broad range of temperatures.  It’s tossed into the “catch-all” category #7 of plastic recycling codes.  It’s important to note that ABS can also be combined with polycarbonate (BPA) and flame retardants for various applications, so it’s important to confirm what type of ABS is being used in the products you purchase.

Common Uses for ABS Plastic

  • Toys (such as Legos)
  • Stainless steel water bottle spouts
  • Pipes
  • Golf clubs
  • Car parts
  • Computer casing
  • Protective head gear
  • Panels for refrigerators
  • Musical instrument and equipment cases
  • Luggage
  • Food trays
  • Kitchenware casing
  • Storage bins

 

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  • clv

    what about HIPS plastics, which also have polystyrene in the name?
    i am looking at some toy insstruments thay will be blown on by my kids this Christmas?? Any input? Thanks

  • john

    what a crap article. ABS plastic leaches chemicals out at a high rate and is not stable

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Hi John, we’d like to see any evidence that you believe we’ve missed. We’ll sure look into it if needed. ~Laura

  • Dennis

    I work in the plastic industry and have to sand many components made with ABS secondary is this safe

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Hi Dennis, I haven’t heard of ABS secondary. Can you explain? ~Alicia

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