Phthalate-free Erasers Clean Up Those Crumbs


In certain English-speaking countries, erasers are called rubbers, a least when I used them to correct my written mistakes in the 1970s. So naturally I assumed they were made from rubber. Perhaps they were. They sure felt that way.

Well in Japan and elsewhere it seems, polyvinylchloride (PVC) is the main material used in “rubbers.” I wonder where all those rubber crumbs ended up in the environment as I went about correcting my ways?

To improve that environmental footprint, Japanese stationery manufacturer Pentel and plasticizer producer BASF have teamed up to debut a range of phthalate plasticizer-free erasers under the Ain and Hi-Polymer brands. These products used BASF’s Hexamoll DINCH plasticizer. DINCH is the acronym for 1,2-cyclohexane dicarboxylic acid diisononyl ester.

Plasticizers give flexibility to PVC. They are vital to the manufacturing of erasers. Currently, around 80% of the plasticizers in the Japanese market are phthalate-based. Due to safety concerns, restrictions on phthalate plasticizers have been growing in recent years, especially in Europe. Pentel has, therefore, completely replaced phthalate plasticizers with Hexamoll DINCH in its PVC erasers manufacturing plants in Japan and Taiwan. As of 2020, about 80% of the erasers produced by Pentel are made of PVC and all PVC erasers sold by Pentel in Japan stores and in overseas have been made with Hexamoll DINCH.

“I am thrilled that, through this collaboration with Pentel, erasers made with Hexamoll DINCH will be sold in co-branded packaging for the first time,” said Masatoshi Shoyama, head of BASF Japan’s Petrochemical Division. “Since its commercial launch, Hexamoll DINCH has established a solid position in the plasticizer market for applications, such as food packaging, medical devices, and toys. We will continue working with our customers in Japan to supply the market with products that contribute to sustainability.”