The impact of plastic on the Earth's environment, particularly in the oceans, has been in the news quite frequently over the past months, as we begin to understand more and more the impact that plastic is having on our eco-system.
Let's take a closer look at what plastic really IS.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
This common household plastic is generally recognized by consumer industry assessments to be safe given average use. It is used for drink bottles, mouthwash, beer, pickled items and even peanut butter or jelly plastic jars.
But a closer look at PET shows us that antimony can leach from it. Antimony is a metalloid element that can cause a host of symptoms in susceptible people. These may include stomach issues such as diarrhea or even ulcers, according to a paper from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Even if you or a family member experiences no symptoms, it’s difficult to say whether antimony leakage is affecting you, as toxicity of certain elements may increase over time and with exposure. This means future symptoms could be difficult to link back to PET, leaving you wondering why you feel so ill – and with no idea what to do about the problem.
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
HDPE, used to make grocery bags and containers for dish and laundry detergent, as well as water, milk or juice, is considered a low-hazard material.
But shockingly, studies have shown this, as well as other plastics, to have estrogenic properties. This could mean severe hazards particularly to children or to fetuses, as they can alter cells.
Like many other plastics, HDPE has the potential to affect and alter the endocrine system, disrupting hormones. Such compounds have been suggested to have a link to reproductive issues, including infertility, in some individuals.
Other Plastics That Could Be Affecting Your Health
Other plastics implicated in negative health issues are Polystyrene, whose primary constituent, styrene, was shown in studies to cause lung tumors in mice and has been associated with leukemia; Polyethylene; and Bisphenol A (BPA).
Unfortunately, although some plastics are generally recognized as safe, more and more studies are being done that show the negative properties that appear common to all or at least most plastics.
Based on even a cursory review of the latest research on the toxicity of plastics, it is clear that you should avoid any plastics in your home, your bedroom.