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07/05/2005

Toyobo Statement on Zylon® as a Ballistic Fiber Used by Body Armor Manufacturers

Osaka, Japan - Toyobo Co., Ltd. stands behind Zylon®, a lightweight high strength fiber used by manufacturers in a number of different applications, including by body armor manufacturers for ballistic use.

Leading body armor manufacturers continue to use Zylon as a ballistic component in their products that are certified by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice for use by the nation’s law enforcement community.

A recent press release by Second Chance Body Armor, Inc. claiming “new issues” by a company consultant with its use of Zylon is another attempt to divert attention from Second Chance’s admission that its vests do not satisfy its own warranties. The consultant who supplied the data was hired and is paid by Second Chance to defend the company against a number of lawsuits.

Toyobo rejects any contention by Second Chance that "the presence of inordinately high levels of residual process (phosphoric) acids" is responsible for problems Second Chance has reported with its vests containing Zylon. For several years it has been well known among the scientific community that Toyobo uses phosphoric acid in the manufacturing process of Zylon. Toyobo tests Zylon after production to ensure that no excessive phosphoric acid remains in the fiber and the company is not aware of any legitimate scientific evidence showing that excessive residue does remain in the fiber.

The “new issues” discussed in Second Chance’s press release are also not new. The subject of hydrolytic degradation is a well known phenomenon in the scientific community. According to documents obtained by Attorneys General in at least two states, Second Chance has known about the issue of hydrolytic degradation in Zylon for years.

Second Chance’s allegations have caused confusion and unfounded concerns in the law enforcement community. Second Chance should immediately release all of its data to the body armor manufacturing community and the U.S. Department of Justice so that it can be properly and objectively evaluated. In the past, Second Chance has repeatedly refused to voluntarily release data concerning the reported failures of its own vests to investigating authorities. Toyobo has made its test data public and supplied it unconditionally to the U.S.

Department of Justice and several state Attorneys General. Toyobo continues to provide its customers with information regarding the characteristics of Zylon fiber and instructs them to test their Zylon-containing vests to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for use for the warranted life of the product.

Toyobo Co., Ltd. is a versatile multi-national company based in Osaka, Japan active in chemicals, fibers, textiles, films, biochemicals, and pharmaceutical products. Toyobo was founded in 1882. Toyobo stock is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.


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