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posted by hubie on Friday March 22, @02:02PM   Printer-friendly

More than 400 of the chemicals identified are in every major commonly used plastic product such as food packaging:

Scientists have compiled a list of over 16,000 chemicals present in plastic products and found that more than 4,000 of these were hazardous to human health and the environment.

The research review, known as the PlastChem report, was released on Thursday and comes ahead of the next round of negotiations for a UN treaty on global plastic pollution.

Researchers, who spent a year combing through research reports, sorted chemicals used in plastics based on their environmental and health effects – information the team hopes will inform governmental regulations and international negotiations to curb plastic use.

The review found that there are more plastic chemicals than previously known, and 4,200 (26 per cent) of these compounds, including those used as raw ingredients, stabilisers and colourants, are of concern due to their "persistent, bioaccumulative, mobile and/or toxic" nature.

[...] More than 400 of the chemicals identified in the report are in every major commonly used plastic product such as food packaging, and all the tested plastics leached hazardous chemicals into the environment, researchers noted.

[...] While about 1,000 plastic chemicals are regulated by global treaties such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, thousands more are not.

[...] "The PlastChem report is a wake-up call to policymakers and industry. We need more transparency and better management of chemicals of concern in plastic," Hans Peter Arp, a co-author of the report from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), said.

"The future of innovation in plastic should focus on safety, sustainability, and necessity, rather than just functionality," Dr Arp said.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snospar on Friday March 22, @06:27PM (2 children)

    by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @06:27PM (#1349875)

    Well there's not a lot of detail in that article. It would be nice to know how many of these thousands of compounds are used in the production of plastics (they mention raw ingredients) and how many are so bound up in the final product that they would be almost impossible to separate out during normal use. I think we all know that various chemicals related to plastic use and production are known bad, mostly falling into the carcinogen compounds fan club but what percentage of these is likely to get into our systems during normal usage of plastic products.

    I've grown up in the "plastic age" and almost everything around me has some plastic part or coating... does this report mean they're all trying to kill me? Don't think so. Also, what are the alternatives? I know you can make a lot of stuff out of bamboo and other renewables nowadays but when you look at those products they also use a lot of resin and "binding agents" which are probably full of the same chemicals we're worried about here.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Friday March 22, @06:39PM (1 child)

    by VLM (445) on Friday March 22, @06:39PM (#1349879)

    Well there's not a lot of detail in that article.

    That's how you know it's propaganda. An impressive headline with no data. See also recent reports that intermittent fasting will kill you, LOL. That one was hilarious.

    As a refined product, a sufficiently large pile will contain at least one molecule found in any sample of crude oil to ever exist and we do have the tech to detect that. Does it mean anything at those low concentrations? Naw probably not.

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday March 23, @03:33AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Saturday March 23, @03:33AM (#1349932) Homepage

      Yeah, my first thought was, "At what dose??"

      Our local envirofruits distributed a flyer warning of the evils of the under-construction natural gas power plant. Their message was "OMG Umpteen Tons of These Terrible Pollutants every year!!" Except they were hoping no one noticed the negative exponents. So I roughed out their totals and it came to....

      14.7 pounds per year. Total. About a third of a 5 gallon bucket. Less than blows around in our everyday wind.

      Except then a friend with an accounting streak said no, you slipped a digit, it's 1.47 pounds per year.

      Yes, we should all be in a flaming panic over a power plant that will produce a fraction of the toxins a single woodstove does.


      Intermittent fasting: Point 1: a lot of people struggling to lose or maintain weight are actually hypothyroid (that's why they gained weight in the first place); some of them will use intermittent fasting. Point 2: I ran across a paper by a cardiac pathologist going ballistic (since this is entirely treatable, but not ethically researchable) because his data was that half of all fatal cardiac events were in fact "flabby heart syndrome" which is directly caused by low T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone). Does anyone else notice the connection here??

      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.