Plastic in The News

By - Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
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If you haven’t read a newspaper, blog, or checked your Facebook newsfeed lately then you may have missed it.  Everyone is talking about it.  The World Economic Forum mentioned it.  It being plastic, and its impact on the oceans, landfills, our health, and the environment.

By 2050 the weight of plastic in the oceans will outweigh all of the fish.

According to the January World Economic Forum Summit, by 2050 the weight of plastic in the oceans will outweigh all of the fish.  Are you worried yet?  There are three major reasons for ending our dependence on single-use plastic.

Plastic never biodegrades; it is forever.  

Plastic WasteThe environment is one reason to give up plastic.  It pollutes the ocean and has contributed to the Texas-size continent floating in the Pacific Ocean.  It poisons fish, birds, and other sea animals.  Plastic is a byproduct of oil.  There are toxic components of making plastic, transporting it, and disposing of it.  It is aesthetically displeasing.  In fact, one of the inspirations for World Progress Now was a comment from an old friend returning from a trip abroad, exclaiming in disgust how much plastic waste was visible in the rivers!  Plastic never biodegrades; it is forever.  Unless someone picks it up, it will just break down into smaller and smaller pieces, photo degrading.

Phthalates found in plastic are linked to diabetes, hormone system disruption and developmental and reproductive problems.

Another reason to ditch plastic is health. According to the group Environmental Defense Canada, “diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and other phthalates such as diethyl phthalate (DEP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) are widely used as plasticizers to increase flexibility in plastics. They are also used in laminate flooring and as a key ingredient in fragrance in cosmetics and personal care products to help the scent last longer.”

The Ecology Center has linked plastic to known carcinogens. As in the case of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP they’ve found it to cause endocrine disruption, which can lead to cancers, birth defects, immune system suppression and developmental problems in children.

You are what you eat.Plastic waste in Yucatan, Mexico

Plastic is polluting our oceans. Our marine life is swimming and eating from plastic waterways. Plastic in the ocean is being ingested by fish, which enhances and intensifies the heavy metals like mercury, which in turn is consumed by humans. It’s a simple food chain reaction. Researchers have found that more than 90% of human being will have traces of plastic compounds in their blood!

You are living with plastic compounds in your blood. What does that mean?

WebMD research states plastic toxicity in your blood may cause the following problems:      

Hormone levels Experts believe that BPA could theoretically act like a hormone in the body, disrupting normal hormone levels and development in fetuses, babies, and children. Animal studies have had mixed results.

Brain and behavior problems After a review of the evidence, the National Toxicology Program at the FDA expressed concern about BPA’s possible effects on the brain and behavior of infants and young children.

Cancer Some animal studies have shown a possible link between BPA exposure and a later increased risk of cancer.

Heart problems Two studies have found that adults with the highest levels of BPA in their bodies seem to have a higher incidence of heart problems. However, the higher incidence could be unrelated to BPA.

Other conditions Some experts have looked into a connection between BPA exposure and many conditions — obesity, diabetes, ADHD, and others. The evidence isn’t strong enough to show a link.

Increased risk to children Some studies suggest that possible effects from BPA could be most pronounced in infants and young children. Their bodies are still developing and they are less efficient at eliminating substances from their systems.

Plastic is costly.  According to the Business Insider website, a bottle of water is almost 2,000 times the cost of a gallon of tap water and twice the cost of a gallon of gas. They are talking about cost to the consumer, which doesn’t even figure in the cost to the environment!

Plastic is relatively cheap in terms of a packaging material however, when you look at the options of reuse, the environmental cost starts to add up. Most plastic can be reused once and is difficult to melt and repurpose multiple times, unlike glass and aluminum recycling. The recycling codes on the bottom of plastic products are important. Try to avoid items with a number 5, 6, or 7, as these are much harder to recycle. Some facilities may not even take these products for reuse. 

Plastic Recycling Codes from CalRecycle
Plastic Recycling Codes from CalRecycle

Single-use, disposable plastic is terrible for the environment and your health. The time is NOW to make a commitment to #gowithoutplastic.

 

 

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