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Friday, April 18, 2008

The Dirty Truth About Plastic--excerpts

Discover Magazine

READ IT ALL HERE

04.18.2008

BPA and other plastics may be as harmful as they are plentiful.

by Jill Neimark

"The most pressing question about plastic...may be whether daily exposure alters the health and fertility of our children and perhaps even our children’s children. It turns out that the hormonelike chemicals in plastic may remodel our cells and tissue during key stages of development, both in the womb and in early childhood."

"Thus, if the worst-case scenario proves true, early exposure to plastic can reshape not just our children but their children, too."

"At the center of the Pacific Ocean in a windless, fishless oceanic desert twice the size of Texas, a swirling mass of plastic waste converges into a gyre containing an estimated six pounds of nonbiodegradable plastic for every pound of plankton. Called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it is an indelible mark of human domination of the planet. But plastic has also left its mark in us. Plastic’s chemical co-travelers make their way into our urine, saliva, semen, and breast milk."

"Chemicals leaching out of plastics may reshape not only your children but your children’s children.
In a recent study, Swan found that “we could predict the anogenital distance in babies just by knowing which phthalates a mother was exposed to and how much.” Those with the highest exposure to phthalates gave birth to boys with the shortest anogenital distance."


"Back in the 1940s when plastics were being developed, no one suspected that chemicals leaching out of these marvelous materials could have insidious biological effects. What industrial chemists did know was that by tinkering with a highly reactive molecule called a phenol they were able to devise countless synthetic chemicals for use in new materials."

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"Ireland’s “plastax,” launched in 2002, has resulted in a 90 percent voluntary reduction in plastic bag use. Finally, corn-based, biodegradable plastics are beginning to surface, and though these polymers are not yet as durable as current plastics, the technology is advancing."

“We have no choice,” Soto says. “If reproduction is being affected, the survival of the species is compromised'

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