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Posted Sat Mar 20 2010: from :
Perils of plastics: Risks to human health and the environment
Halden's study reiterates the fact that the effects to the environment from plastic waste are acute. Measurements from the most contaminated regions of the world's oceans show that the mass of plastics exceeds that of plankton sixfold. Patches of oceanic garbage--some as large as the state of Texas--hold a high volume of non-biodegradable plastics.... "We're doomed to live with yesterday's plastic pollution and we are exacerbating the situation with each day of unchanged behavior," he said.... BPA has been recognized since the 1940s as an endocrine disrupting chemical that interferes with normal hormonal function. Adding to the health risks associated with BPA is the fact that other ingredients--such as plasticizers [like pthalates]--are commonly added to plastics.... "Today, there's a complete mismatch between the useful lifespan of the products we consume and their persistence in the environment." Prominent examples of offending products are the ubiquitous throwaway water bottles, Teflon-coated dental floss and cotton swabs made with plastic PVC sticks. All are typically used for a matter of seconds or minutes, yet are essentially non-biodegradable and will persist in the environment, sometimes for millennia.
[Read more stories about: bisphenol A, phthalates, plastic gyre, plastic problems]

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