Welcome back to the 2nd post of our series for Plastic Free July! As a recap, this #PlasticFreeJuly is a challenge to all of us to try and limit the amount of plastic we use daily. There is a Plastic Free July website that provides information on ways we can make an impact by being aware of the negative consequences that plastic has on this planet. The last blog post focused on how plastic can affect the environment around us, so this post will speak to the ways in which plastic is damaging to our health and what we can do to minimize its effects.
Plastic is everywhere. I’m not just talking about the plastic in the device this blog is being read on or the clothes we wear or anything else we happen to be right by. It is found as particulates in the air we breathe and as microplastics in our water. In fact, according to a study by the WHO, humans on average consume 5 grams of plastic each week. Most of this plastic comes from our groundwater sources. So in oceans, fish and other sea animals take in these microplastics. Guess where they remain once we eat them?
Knowing what’s in plastic is just as important as knowing how it gets into our systems. There’s a 3 letter acronym we should all hopefully be familiar with on the topic of plastics - BPA. Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical compound used in billions of plastic products from children’s toys to Tupperware to food cans. The problem with BPA is that it can cause problems with one’s development, neurological, and reproductive systems - especially in children. In fact, a recent study found that 93% of children tested had BPA in their blood by age 6. And to think, this compound is only one of the many dangerous other chemicals that go into making plastic.
This information is alarming but there are measures we can take to lessen the impact of plastic on our health. Avoid reusing single-use containers. This includes take out containers or food containers we get from grocery stores. It’s likely for the plastic to melt and contaminate our food. The same goes for reusing plastic water bottles or plastic wrap on our meats or cheeses. It’s rather unfortunate because throwing away plastic is negative on the environment. Another fair point is to simply avoid single-use plastic at all.
We have the power to get rid of plastic and fully replace it - this was the case with lead which was found in our gasoline and paints but no longer affects humanity on the scale it once did. There are also many scientists working on new solutions like the use of cacti juice as a substitute for plastic. As for the rest of us, now knowing how plastic impacts our health and the environment, we can make better choices.
Comment below with any suggestions you have or any health facts you can share with our audience!