Shop What is Plastic Pollution? On-the-go lifestyles require easily disposable products, such as soda cans or bottles of water, but the accumulation of these products has led to increasing amounts of plastic pollution around the world.
Bird filled with plastic. Photo courtesy of http: As Styrofoam breaks into smaller parts, polystyrene components in it sink lower in the ocean, so that the pollutant spreads throughout the sea column. In fact, not only do the toxins in plastic affect the ocean, but acting like sponges, they soak up other toxins from outside sources before entering the ocean.
As these chemicals are ingested by animals in the ocean, this is not good for humans. We as humans ingest contaminated fish and mammals. For more information on this topic on toxins in the ocean, see this article by National Geographic. National Geographic There are different types of ways that plastic is dangerous for humans.
Direct toxicity from plastics comes from lead, cadmium, and mercury. These toxins have also been found in many fish in the ocean, which is very dangerous for humans.
Diethylhexyl phthalate DEHP contained in some plastics, is a toxic carcinogen. Other toxins in plastics are directly linked to cancers, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues. To learn more on effects of plastics on humans visit the Ecology Center Other types of toxic plastics are BPA or health-bisphenol-A, along with phthalates mentioned above.
Both of these are of great concern to human health. BPA is used in many things including plastic bottles and food packaging materials. Over time the polymer chains of BPA break down, and can enter the human body in many ways from drinking contaminated water to eating a fish that is exposed to the broken down toxins.
Specifically, BPA is a known chemical that interferes with human hormonal function. Rolf Halden, associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and Arizona State University has studied plastics adverse effects on humans and has thus far concluded that and exact outline of health effects of plastics on humans is almost impossible to determine.
This is due to the fact that the problem of plastic contamination in humans is globally spread; there are almost no unexposed subjects. That being said, it is evident that the chemicals are not healthy for humans. To learn more about Halden's studies on plastic at Arizona State University see Impacts of plastics on human health and ecosystems Prevention of Contamination As Rolf Halden asserts, the only way for this unsustainable plastic production to decrease would be a global staggering petroleum supply, because of environmental worry.
There are efforts to protect the oceans from plastic pollutants along with human health, but they are mostly grassroots organizations. One in particular that I discovered during my research is Save My Oceans http: As far as protecting yourself from contamination, it is probably best not to have a diet that consists mainly of fish, since most is probably contaminated.
However, one of the most effective things we could all do as members of this fragile ecosystem is to be responsible for our trash. When we have the opportunity, we should try to avoid buying products packaged in plastic.
We should always recycle plastic when we do use it. At the store, request a paper bag instead of plastic, or bring your own. Use a reusable water bottle, and of course don't litter.Other toxins in plastics are directly linked to cancers, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues.
To learn more on effects of plastics on humans visit the Ecology Center.
Other types of toxic plastics are BPA or health-bisphenol-A, along with phthalates (mentioned above). Plastic shopping bags have heavily contributed to a huge amount of plastic debris found in the North Pacific Ocean. This is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
It is estimated to be double the size of Hawaii, and could even be as large as the entire continental US. Researchers said that Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland and Detroit are the worst contributors to the plastic pollution.
Half of the plastic dumped into the Great Lakes—11 million pounds—goes into Lake Michigan. Lake Erie comes in at number two, receiving million pounds. Other toxins in plastics are directly linked to cancers, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues.
To learn more on effects of plastics on humans visit the Ecology Center. Other types of toxic plastics are BPA or health-bisphenol-A, along with phthalates (mentioned above). Figure 3 Average plastic concentration in the western North Atlantic Ocean 8 Great Garbage Patch (e.g., Moore et al., ).
Location of the North Atlantic cluster is a national issue; and d) it is difficult to prove causation between amount of plastic wastes in the oceans and effects on the ecosystems in the ocean.
The Sea Education. The Harmful Effects of Plastic on Human Health and the Environment Plastics are a part of our daily lives. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re safe or responsible. A closer understanding of the harmful effects of plastic will empower us to improve their toxic footprint.
is also a great concern for human health and the environment.