The Health Hazards of Plastic Bags
Little Miss Muffet and I got to talking about the dangers of plastic on our environment and I did some research today. I hope this meets with your approval LMM:
One of the major pollutants in our oceans is the plastic bag and its component chemicals. Plastic bags are made from petroleum that is then transformed chemically into ethylene and then polyethylene. Plastic bags and other plastic particles that find their way into our oceans disrupt the ecologic marc jacobs al balance of marine life and can find their way into our food chain.
Over 267 species have been affected by plastic marine debris and it is estimated to kill over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles each year. (Californians Against Waste) The main source of food for sea turtles is jellyfish, and plastic bags pose an extreme threat to these turtles because they often mistake plastic bags as food. percent of all known species of sea turtles have had reported problems of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris. (Californians Against Waste)
Bisphenol A is one of the most common chemicals in plastic bags, thus when a plastic bag breaks down in water it releases Bisphenol A, which is an endocrine disruptor that is linked to a wide array of human health problems. When Bisphenol A enters the marc jacobs food chain, through drinking water of through human consumption of seafood it has been linked to a wide range of health problems such as heart disease, breast cancer, thyroid disorders, ADHD, infertility, erectile dysfunction, early onset menstruation and obesity. (The Ecologist) Once Bisphenol A enters the food chain it can be transmitted to babies through breast milk.
Due to the nature of ocean currents, in particular the north Pacific, the water is filled with more plastic than plankton. (Ecologist) Plastic, once it has leached into an ecosystem, can result in at marc jacobs tracting other toxins and poisons such as PCB and insecticides.
The most important thing we can do is to decrease our consumption of the plastic bag. Bio degradable bags, are one solution but many municipalities are introducing a tax on the use of plastic bags and others are banning the use of them completely.
Plastic lasts forever so there is no safe way to dispose of it and the only way to ensure that our oceans and waterways do not continue to be damaged by plastic bags is to stop using plastic bags and find healthy alternatives to our plastic addiction.
On a final note, this subject is one that we need to continue thinking about because look around your house for a moment and tally up the number of plastic bags, and other plastic items lying around from shampoo to dish detergent. It is time for us to take a step back and rethink our relationship with an item that is so harmful to human and animal life.
Thank you Copperkitten for enligtening me on this subject and for all your research. Wow, those are some disheartening statistics indeed. The health effects are very grave. You know, even the reusable shopping bags that we purchase for 99 cents or so now are also made of some form of plastic. To think that the human race consumes 1 million bags per minute, that can probably cover all of downtown Toronto I not surprised though about the effects of the plastic on young children because not only plastic bags are a problem but the plastic soothers, bottles, rattles they put in their mouths, plastic bibs that emit fumes I sure, plastic teething rings, plastic spoon when they first start to eat by themselves, even some of the eating dishes. They don have a fighting chance before they reach the age of understanding. I would never have thought about the effects of plastic on breast feeding? Aren the breast pumps made from plastic also. Even ice packs that we use to keep food cold are made with plastic and ice that we buy is covered with a plastic bag. Oh yeah, and that coffee cup we carry around for that early morning addiction plastic too it is inescapable isn it.
It is equally worse when we think of our ecosystem, our sea life and our bird life are inherently affected by our abuse of the environment. Birds go on landfill site and garbage and eat and get plastic in their mouths and when they digest it it is so harmful to them. It is sad that people pollute our water with plastic. Think about the propellors on a ship they are not stainless steel they are made of plastic does that do for the sea life also.
Yes, plastic does last for ever even though it breaks down. We have more plastic gadgets in our house than we care to think marc jacobs I sure. Some if not most kitchen appliances, bathroom furnishings even toothbrushes are made of plastic. It is inescapable I say but how can we stop using a tooth brush and who has stainless steel toilet seats anyway or porcelain shower heads. Yes, that right even the shower heads are made from plastic and water comes from it yeah, and don forget we also have plastic prosthesis for people who need limb replacements.
Whatever happened to paper bags?
On a flip side to this someone I know who is working overseas in a humanitarian capacity in Africa who has found a way to cleverly reuse those plastic milk bags you know the 4 litre bags. Insted of them going on the land fill, this person has created a way to help the impoverished and poor people in Africa who only have a mud floor to sleep on. They suggest taking the milk bags and cutting them into strips and guess what you wouldn believe this crocheting the strips together to make a mat for the people of Africa to sleep on. I have done this and seen this first hand and it is totally awesome what is achieved. About 25 milk bags (1 years worth of collecting 4 litre bags) makes 1 mat and a size 9 crochet hook. so all you crocheters out there, what are you waiting for. This person has found that this works well when the mud floor is wet or when it rains and it also helps to keep the bugs and parasites away from their skin and the children sleep better and have less illnesses. Yes I know what you saying but the plastic is near their skin. The plastic is covered with a cloth or blanket for added comfort and warmth and it has been seen to help decrease disease and illness in the people who now use the plastic mats. they have a lesser risk of parsite infections and muscle ailments and skin abrasions. So can you imagine how many mats there could be if each of us turned one plastic bag into a crocheting project isn it. So get started!
Further to copperkitten post on the hazzards of plastic bags, I came across an article where scientists have found that the reusable shopping bags we are encouraged to buy and use as a means to save the environment are a health and environmental hazzard. They say that the bags are a breeding ground for food borne bacteria and most consumers never really wash their bags. Here some things they have to say about the bags.
The report, of the Potential for Cross Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags, offered the following policy recommendations for lawmakers, as well as tips for consumers who use reusable grocery bags:
States should consider requiring printed instructions on reusable bags indicating they need to cleaned or bleached between uses.
State and local governments should invest in a public education campaign to alert the public about risk and prevention.
When using reusable bags, consumers should be careful to separate raw foods from other food products.
Consumers should not use reusable food bags for other purposes such as carrying books or gym clothes.
Consumers should not store meat or produce in the trunks of their cars because the higher temperature promotes growth of bacteria, which can contaminate reusable bags.
Who would have known. We try to move away from the need to use plastic bags that get into the ecosystem and now the supposed friendly shopping bags are a hazzard to human and public health. so what a person to do anyway? all around you have an issue with plastic. It is inescapable.
Seems like the only solution is to use paper bags but I guess someone will find something wrong with them too. I think just now we will be carrying our stuff bare hands.