“Manufacturers have long chosen plastic for their products on the basis of price and functionality. But creating a more sustainable relationship with plastics will require a new dexterity on our part. It will require us to think about the entire life cycle of the products we create and use,” ― Susan Freinkel. “How plastic kills” article.
Greetings, my friends! It has been a long time since I wrote anything. With all the changes in my life and current events in the world, I physically and mentally was not capable of writing anything solid. But recently, I stumbled upon some interesting information that shocked me to the core and made me think a lot. In this article, I would like to share my knowledge on the subject and, as usual, make you think about another social problem.
I hope you are doing all great, and you and your close ones did not catch a terrible virus. And as a distraction from the current situation, I offer you a piece of data for your thorough analysis. So today we will discuss the topic regarding how plastic kills and how it is related not only to environmental health but also how dangerous chemicals related to plastic manufacture may cause various health issues in humans.
Teflon and DuPont
And before I start providing the collected evidence and share my thoughts, I want to talk about one of the greatest lies of the previous century. Teflon! The saving-life material for housewives of the 60-s. Teflon was used to make nonstick pans. So when a person was frying eggs, let’s say, they would not stick to the bottom of the pan. The revolutionary discovery that, despite being another useless commodity, brought the company that produced teflon pans billions of dollars. The name of the company is DuPont.
DuPont and environmental health
But did you know that the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that was used to make teflon what it is is super toxic, and it causes an imminent threat to the environmental health if not disposed of correctly? Did you also know that when you fry something on the teflon pan, the carcinogens are released? And finally, did you know that these carcinogens or contact with any of the dangerous chemicals leads to the development of various health issues, especially cancer tumors?
If you knew nothing of that, I urge you to stop reading right here and google for some additional information. Done? Let’s move one then. DuPont made billions since its magical invention. However, there was one lawyer who because of his honesty and sense of responsibility before the public decided to figure out why the cattle were dying in the county where one of the plants of a corporate citizen, such as DuPont, was located.
In a course of his 20-year investigation, he discovered that DuPont did not ensure the safe disposal of PFOA. It is much too expensive. Instead, the chemical waste was dumped in the local bay. As a result, the cattle were dying as they drank water from that bay. But that is not all. Locals also drank that water and ate cattle who drank those waters.
DuPont and health issues
Because of the investigation, an independent study was conducted to understand whether PFOA is associated with health issues in the local population. It was discovered that six different types of cancer, including liver and lung cancer, were caused even after minimal contact with the acid.
The consequences of DuPont negligence and their greed for money decided the destiny of hundreds of thousands of people. But this is related to their inability to safely dispose of chemicals. What about teflon then?
After a person has heated the teflon pan, the chain reaction is triggered. And because of this reaction, the carcinogens are released. Then, it is enough for a person just to inhale them or eat with the food; the cancer cells are automatically planted inside the body. A couple of years, a decade, and a person will have cancer. And the most painful is the fact that cancer cells become integrated into the gene code. Kids are born with a predisposition to cancer.
Impact of dangerous chemicals
And now we switch to the talk about how plastic kills us. Once upon a time, there was a good-hearted lawyer who discovered the truth about teflon. If he didn’t, we would still use teflon to murder ourselves without even knowing.
He recognized the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate properly and protect people. Folks working there are not stupid or don’t care. They just don’t know all the chemicals that are used across different industries. Thus, they don’t know how to regulate them. DuPont cheated and assured EPA that PFOA was cool and completely safe. No questions asked. DuPont is an honest corporate citizen who provided thousands of jobs and donated millions of dollars to people in charge.
But did you know that, as of today, there are approximately 600 chemicals that were neither tested nor approved by EPA? These chemicals are used by different industries to make clothes, computers, cellphones, toys, carpets, cars, and many many other things that we use on a daily basis. All the chemicals are used as additives for the polyvinyl chloride (PVA). And PVA is what we know in a human language called plastic. Continue reading to learn in details on how plastic kills us.
I did not know, until the recent present, that to cook a carpet or a pair of fancy pants, plastic is the main ingredient. And to make a specific material, for example, more elastic or extra strong, different chemical additives are added to the plastic under special conditions (heat, etc.). That’s how we have commodities that make us so happy.
So, how plastic kills exactly?
And now look at the statistics presented in the chart below. You are probably wondering how plastic kills exactly and how this chart is remotely related to the topic.
Explaining, 53.81 million tons of plastic produced this year is going to be sold to major industries that use it the most to make a staff for us. Packaging—to make nice beautiful containers for foods and drinks that we will buy in the supermarket next weekend. Textiles—to make a stylish suit or a dress for us so we can look pretty and official when we go back to work on Monday. And the direst is that even toys (who don’t love Lego, right) and diapers made for kids also comprise hazardous PVC and multiple chemical additives that officials claim to be safe. Meanwhile, plastic kills us.
Below, you can see the quote from the unofficial report made by The Management Institute for Environment & Business for EPA regarding the PVC. This report was written in 1996. Until today it never became official.
All agreed that it’s not good news for human health and environmental health, and it can be more toxic (when burning) than cyanide, that’s why it was decided to start the production immediately. Not make it expensive. Make it cheap and, as a result, industries will buy it, and, as a result, we will desperately buy goods produced by those industries.
Three issues bother me the most. All of them are related to the fact that we don’t know how plastic kills us on a daily basis, and we do not even notice it.
First of all, as you probably already know, plastic bottles and plastic waste floating in the oceans and buried underground slowly murders our planet. Environmental health is deteriorating each year significantly. Citizens of forests and seas are dying as they eat plastic, considering it to be food. Plastic kills them! Nobody recycles nothing. Millions of tons of plastic are produced, a lot of money earned, but still, those poor corporate citizens don’t have an extra penny for recycling. But why? Because there is no market value in the trash.
Secondly, people working for chemical companies most often have a lack of protection. And even if they do have the protection, it most probably won’t save them from developing cancer in the future. Plastic kills them too! In the end, they keep working with extremely dangerous chemicals. But no worries, officials and their bosses said that those are safe. Besides, workers are paid very well, and their families are taken care of. Communities, where chemical plants are built, are prosperous, and life there could not be better. Almost a paradise.
And thirdly, plastic kills us and our children through every item we buy in shops and supermarkets. And now ask yourself, why there are so many people with health issues that they should not have had? How come there are so many millions of people sick with cancer? Some people get lung cancer without smoking even one cigarette during their life. How did they get it? How come, a century before the plastic invention, nobody even heard of cancer?
And the main question in all this story is whether the officials that authorized PVC in industries are the same ones that authorized deadly PFOA and allowed the production of teflon? Are they 100% sure that PVC and its additives are safe for human health? Do EPA and similar agencies continue to believe representatives of major industries that depend on plastic? Do they even consider stopping PVC production after it is proved officially that plastic kills, and it causes various health issues in humans? Would someone care if you died of cancer because of plastic use? Would someone care about your children?
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