Plastic threatens our health from before production to long after it’s thrown away: Report
Fonte: EHN ORG
“Every stage of the plastic lifecycle poses significant risks to human health, and the majority of people worldwide are exposed to plastic at multiple stages of this lifecycle.”
Plastic pollution is a “threat to human life and human rights” and, in order to stem this problem, we have to overhaul how we produce, use and dispose of it, according to an international report released today.
The report, the result of a collaboration between seven environmental organizations, finds most attempts to examine the impact of plastic on people and the planet focus on one aspect—such as manufacturing, the testing of products, or how plastic is disposed. However, the authors of today’s report say we need to look at the entire lifecycle of plastic because “each of those stages interacts with others, and all of them interact with the human environment and the human body in multiple, often intersecting, ways.”
The report is the latest on the topic, which has skyrocketed into the public consciousness over the past couple years.
Plastic pollution has been recognized as pervasive across the planet and research increasingly finds it is infiltrating wildlife, our food and us—bringing fresh concerns about how our plastic addiction may be impacting our health.
“Health problems associated with plastics throughout the lifecycle includes numerous forms of cancers, diabetes, several organ malfunctions, impact on eyes, skin and other sensory organs, birth defects” and many other impacts, said David Azoulay, a report author and managing attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law, in an email to EHN.
“And those are only the human health costs, they do not mention impacts on climate, impacts on fisheries or farmland productivity,” he added.
Other organizations involved in the report include: Earthworks, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Health Babies Bright Futures, IPEN, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, Upstream and Break Free From Plastic Movement.
Azoulay and colleagues found unique health risks from each part of the plastic lifecycle.
The extraction of fossil fuels, used as feedstocks in manufacturing plastic, results in air and water pollution and other direct impacts to communities such as increased traffic and pipeline construction (more than 99 percent of plastic made today is made using fossil fuels);
Refining and producing the plastic resins and additives releases cancer-causing compounds and other toxics, some of which “can be difficult to detect” as they “are colorless and tend to have mild-to-no odor. In addition, refinery workers are exposed to high levels of these compounds;
Plastic products and packaging, when in the consumer’s hands, lead to inhaled or ingested toxic and/or plastic particles;
Plastic incineration releases toxic compounds;
The degradation of plastic leads to microplastics that can get into people, wildlife, soil and water
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