Environmental and Personal Health impacts tied together

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 11:36 AM

The major factors in the realization of the benefits of abolishing plastic are the health impacts, the cost impacts, and the environmental impacts. While the health impact may be only thought to correlate with drinking or eating out of plastic, the environmental impact can alternatively negatively alter ones health as well. Take for example pollution. Air pollution gets into ones lungs, whether it's from tobacco smoke or other forms of combustion such as car emissions. What about the impacts of plastic waste pollution, however? This can greatly effect environmental health, which also reflects upon personal health. It seems at this point in time everyone is aware of the dangers of heated plastic, and BPA, but assumes that is the extent of it. However while all plastics can be bad for health, I would like to focus specifically on environmental health. Some statistics of the havoc plastic wreaks on our world:

Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. (Some people much less, some people/companies much more)

The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production. Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.

Roughly 46 percent of plastic garbage floats, and it takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade. Remember, plastic is a cousin of oil (petrolatum). Think about how long fossils take to become fuel.

The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. It is off the coast of California, and the island of plastic is twice the size of Texas. Plastic pieces outnumber sea life six to one. Plastic makes up approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with an average of 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.

1,000,000, yes one MILLION sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. 44 percent of all seabird species, and all sea turtle species known to man have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.

Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form, other than that which has been incinerated.

With these facts in mind, is it not exceptionally probable that these environmental impacts will catch up with the human race? I certainly think that it can be a vicious cycle of polluting the environment which in turn pollutes us. One strong example is fish, and the amount of mercury. Because of pollution, a food with great health benefits such as has been subject to unhealthy substances which are then consumed. This is only one example, but it is easy to see how these chain of events link together.
For more information on how BPA plastics effect the body, check out this site:

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