Attribution: Phil Reilly
The Endocrine Society has recently produced an extensive research report on chemical additives in plastics and the threat they pose to human health and the environment. Their 91-page publication “Plastics, EDCs and Health”, is an authoritative and comprehensive resource detailing the endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in plastics and the hazards that these chemicals pose to human and environmental health throughout plastic's life-cycle.
Recently I posted another link to information on microplastic concerns in agriculture. Microplastics have mainly been studied in oceans and freshwater systems, but they can also be found in soils and even become airborne. Microplastics are typically captured in the sludge of sewage treatment plants and transferred to the soil when this sludge is used as fertilizer, with the ability to alter the soil properties and affect the performance of the plants grown in them. A common source of microplastics in food-production soils is also the assortment of plastic materials used in agricultural practices (e.g. greenhouse covers, row coverings, fertilizers, and much more).
Many manufacturing additives in plastics are known to interfere with hormone functioning. The health impacts of these widely used chemicals can be profound and life-threatening to all life forms. In human cancers, diabetes, kidney, liver, and thyroid impacts, metabolic disorders, neurological impacts, inflammation, alterations to both male and female reproductive development, infertility, and impacts to future generations resulting from germ cell alterations are the consequence of many EDC exposures.
The publication “Plastics, EDCs and Health” coalesces the science on EDCs and plastics. The Endocrine Society declares that it is our collective responsibility to enact public policies to address the clear scientific evidence that EDCs in plastics are hazardous.
I’d like to say “happy reading”, but I’ll bet the takeaway from perusing this document is more one of despair based on ignorance and lack of action on preventing and solving this huge global problem.