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Nitrosamines in rubber: Environmental issues and alternatives

SpecialChem / Sep 14, 2001

Although nitrosamines have been discovered more than 100 years ago by Otto N. Witt, it's only in the late 1970's that some north European countries have raised their possible harmful effects. These compounds, which result from a reaction between secondary amines and nitrous oxides, interact with human bodies, they can lead to carbocation formation being able to react with ADN, to denature it and to generate cancerous cells. Although N-nitrosamines carcerogenic effect has been proved only for animals, some of these compounds present very high risks for human beings in the opinion of most scientists. Different industries are concerned by this problem, rubber is one of them . The first legislation for limiting the volatile N-nitrosamines content was established in Germany (BGA), applied to baby bottle teats and soothers, as far back as 1982. Later, alimentary rubbers and factory atmosphere of rubber production sites were also subject to limited levels. Today, some automotive constructors demand nitrosamine free products. To face this problem, only few alternatives are available and all have their limitations.

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