Soy Gel, developed by Franmar Chemical, Inc., Normal, IL, strips paint and varnish safely and easily. The stripper is designed to remove paints and other finishes quickly, effectively and odorlessly.

"Soy Gel is safe for everyone to use and can be used on all paints," says Frank Sliney, Franmar president. "You can touch it with your hands without any harm and there are no dangerous odors to inhale. Consumers will benefit from the safety and convenience of application."

A major benefit of Soy Gel is that it effectively strips lead-based paint. The traditional method of lead-based paint removal is to use methylene chloride, a known carcinogen, according to Sliney. Find more information about other soy products at Franmar's Web site (www.soysolvents.com) or call 800-538-5069.

Every gallon of Soy Gel produced uses 1 bu of soybeans because the main ingredient is soy methyl esters. Initial research was partially funded by the United Soybean Board.

Soy Simplifies Asbestos Removal Asbestos removal usually shuts down an operation, but another new product from Franmar Chemical makes that unnecessary.

Tile, carpet and wallboard adhered with asbestos-containing mastic are being removed from public buildings. The traditional removal method requires petroleum-based products, which have strong odors and require the working area be shut off or the work be done in off hours. Bean-e-doo, a mastic remover derived from soybeans, doesn't emit odors or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and rinses off with water.

Bean-e-doo has a low evaporation rate compared to petroleum-based solvents, allowing it to be spread thinner and left on up to 24 hours.

"Leaving a mastic remover on longer results in greater coverage. Petroleum products don't biodegrade, they evaporate and release VOCs," says Frank Sliney, Franmar president. "By the time a petroleum mastic remover can effectively soften the mastic, it has already begun to evaporate."

Wash With SOYP SOYP, a hand cleaner containing soybean oil, is new from Henneberry Marketing, El Paso, IL.

"There are dozens of industrial hand cleaners on the market," says Mark Henneberry, company president. "We felt it was time somebody developed a consumer hand soap. And I think it's a better hand soap when it's made from soybean oil."

The product will be available in a private label version this year. Visit Henneberry's Web site (www.newuseproducts.com) for purchasing information. Suggested retail price is $3.95 for a 16-oz container.

Garden-Variety Soybeans Now you can plant soybeans in your own garden. Gardensoy, a line of edible soybeans developed by University of Illinois breeders, can be planted through late June and still mature by fall.

The line includes six varieties of larger-than-average beans that taste better than traditional edible lines, according to developers. The beans can be eaten as a snack food or added to salads, soups and stir-fry meals.

Simple SoyLutions SoyLutions 2000, an Illinois contest for creating new uses for soybeans, announced its winners. Soy Shell, a low-fat, high-protein tortilla, and So-Cool, a frozen treat from soy milk and fruit, both contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving, allowing them to bear the soy health claim.

Both products were created by teams of five Illinois State University students. Ideas were required to have the potential to increase soybean use. The contest was sponsored by the Illinois Soybean Association and the Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board.

A new soy beverage is being introduced to mainstream consumers. Tropicana, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, is test-marketing a soy smoothie in Florida restaurants and Kroger supermarkets. The drink contains fruit puree, juice and soy. It weighs in at 8 grams of soy per 12-oz serving, exceeding FDA's minimum requirement to carry the soy health claim.