Cornstarch, a canary dextrin, and a maltodextrin were compared in films blown from carbohydrates compounded with poly(ethylene-co-acrylic acid) (EAA), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and aqueous ammonium hydroxide plasticizer. Dextrins or maltodextrins having dextrose equivalent values of one and greater caused dark-colored films with caramel odors, probably due to Maillard reactions. Blown films with hydrophobic skins and water sensitive cores were produced with the dextrinized carbohydrates, but not from natural cornstarch. Water sensitivity of films containing the dextrinized carbohydrate was reduced by recycling the films through the blown film die. A mechanism for development of the skins is proposed, as is a method for preparing thin semipermeable membranes. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.1