Plastic has become such permanent a fixture in our lives that most of us consider it indispensable. Looking just around the house will show a number of plastic items. They can be bottles, or plastic cans, poly bags, children’s toys, and shower curtains along with a lot more. But, people are yet unaware of the hazards that plastic can bring in their lives. Studies show that approximately two hundred billion pounds of plastic is produced every day. Least do the commoners know that chemicals released from the plastics are getting into the body and the environment causing irreparable damage to both. What our plastic does? Here are some of the consequences of using plastic products.
- The plastic used in making the bottles for water, soft drinks, sports drinks, mouth wash, water juice, jelly, ketchup, and other drinks is PET or Polyethelene Terephthalate. This plastic, which is considered safe, actually leaches antimony that is used in its manufacturing process. The amount of antimony that is leached from a plastic product depends on its exposure to sunlight and heat, and also on varying levels of pH. It has been found that brominated products are leached into PET bottles. Bromine affects the central nervous system causing various psychological disorders like acute paranoia or psychotic symptoms.
- To answer the question what our plastic does to us, we can also take for instance the High Density Polyethelene, or HDPE, which is considered to be less hazardous. This plastic is used in the bottles containing milk, juice, water, and also in the making of grocery bags and liners for cereal bags. This variety of plastic releases estrogenic chemicals. It can have disrupting effect on the hormones. It can alter the shapes of human cells causing problems in the infants.
- Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is yet another variety of plastic and can be characteristically flexible or rigid. It is used in the making of shrink wrap, bags for beddings, plastic toys, and table cloths. This variety of plastic contains phthalates that can be dangerous as they have gender bending chemicals. Such chemicals can cause males in various species to become effeminate. The chemical has caused severe damage to the wildlife disrupting the endocrine systems in the animals, genital deformation, and infertility. In humans, the chemical can cause autism, asthma, and allergies.
- Polystyrene or Styrofoam is used in the making of plates, cups, take-out containers, bowls, meat trays, plates, and more. Polystyrene leaches styrene into the food. This chemical, styrene, is dangerous as it can damage the nervous system and cause cancer. The leaching action takes place at high temperatures. Thus, making use of polystyrene containers can be harmful when serving hot beverages. Be aware what our plastic does to us and the environment and think twice before buying and disposing the plastic materials.