First Spectacles to be Made from Heat Resistant Bioplastic to be Launched in Japan

Teijin Limited announced today that eyeglass frames made of BIOFRONTTM heat-resistant bioplastic will be launched in Japan by the Katherine E Hamnett lineup of ethically and environmentally sound fashion. Teijin's BIOFRONT is used for all plastic parts of the eyeglass frames, including the temples, a world's first for commercial eyeglasses.

The BIOFRONT eyeglasses will be marketed by Yabushita Group Inc. and sold in Katherine E Hamnett and other retail stores nationwide from early December. Yabushita, which expects to achieve 50 million yen in annual sales of the new product, will exhibit the eyeglasses during the International Optical Fair Tokyo (IOFT 2010) at Tokyo Big Sight from October 18 to 20.

Acetate is commonly used for the plastic parts of eyeglasses, but contact with cosmetics or hair-styling products can result in bleaching. Acetate also tends to warp under high heat, and in some cases it can cause skin rashes. Polylactide (PLA), a type of bioplastic, has been used for nose pads because its antibacterial properties help to avoid rashes, but conventional PLA has not been used for parts such as frames and temples because of its insufficient heat resistance.

The KATHARINE E HAMNETT brand, in which the "E" stands for ethically and environmentally sound production, was launched in 2004 by Katherine Hamnett, a world-famous English fashion designer who has been working to raise consumer awareness of environmental issues in the clothing industry. The designer has acknowledged that Teijin's BIOFRONT eyeglasses are an environmentally sound yet highly functional product.

Last year, Teijin Limited and Teijin Chemicals Limited, in collaboration with Tanaka Foresight Inc., successfully developed eyeglass frames made from BIOFRONT, an advanced PLA that offers heat resistance comparable to that of oil-based plastics and is highly resistant to bleaching and bacteria. Superior to conventional PLA in terms of heat resistance, durability and moldability, BIOFRONT fibers, resins and films offer a wide range of applications, including clothing, automotive and electric components and interior materials.

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