Chat on petrochemistry and toys

Over 40 years toymakers have relied on innovations in chemistry to create some of the most popular toys worldwide. Plastics and other petrochemistry products are used to produce dolls, Lego bricks, Playmobil figures or the latest “growing” test tube aliens. On the next Xperimania online chat on 25 April at 11.00 CET Dr Ralf Eisert, Head of Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs – Plastics at BASF, will answer young people’s questions on “Toys – what are they made of?”.

When playing with their favourite toys, children may not realise that they have to withstand extremely tough conditions. For instance building bricks need to be rigid enough to fit together but still flexible enough to be taken apart again.

Building bricks also need to be resistant – adults can accidentally step on them. For aesthetic reasons, the bricks should be available in a rainbow of colours. And last but not least, they need to be easily cleaned and safe to use. Such a big challenge can only be met with thoroughly tested and well-researched materials – many of them synthesised via petrochemistry.

The chat expert, Dr. Ralf Eisert, graduated from the University of Hannover, Germany in 1996. After a post-doc at the University of Waterloo in Canada, he joined BASF in 1997 in the Agricultural Products Division and was involved in the area of Environmental Affairs in RTP, North Carolina, USA. In 1998 he was transferred to BASF in Limburgerhof, Germany where he had various positions in Product Chemistry and in Consumer Safety Assessment.

Since 2007 Dr. Eisert works as the head of Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs group in the Plastics Division. He is in charge of regulatory issues linked to materials used in contact with food or drinking water, cosmetics, toys, and pharmaceutical and medical applications.

Interested in taking part in the chat? Schools can register by sending an email to xperimania@eun.org  with the subject “Xperimania chat”.