7:02 PM EDT, June 25, 2012
Monday was the first full day of "The World Polymer Conference" being held at various sites on the campus of Virginia Tech.
There are more than 1,500 scientists from around the world at Tech.
A small group of scientists toured through "Polymer Solutions", a Blacksburg company that tests just about anything plastic or rubber based.
Polymer Solutions was created in 1986 and currently employs more than 50 people.
The week long conference is bringing scientists from 52 countries. Many are here to learn what's new when it comes to plastics. One of the craziest things I learned is that our bodies produce a chemical that can be converted into plastic.
"Lactic acid is a chemical that can cause great pain if you overexersice. That little molecule, lactic acid, can actually be converted into a plastic, it looks much the same as a the plastic used to make a beverage bottle," said Jim Rancourt.
Incredible. Researchers say that converted poly-lactic acid can be used for reconstructive surgeries, and eventually converts back to natural lactic acid and expelled from the body.
"People underestimate the use of chemicals and plastics in everything. Everything you see around you today is because of it," said Eric Dunphy.
Work has been steady for Polymer Solutions, it's expanding.
The World Polymer Conference here at Virginia Tech runs through Saturday
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