NEW HAVEN, Connecticut., January 11, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), a nonprofit organization of physicians and public health professionals, releases its recently published research report on the dangers of plastics and microplastics to environment and health. The report calls for sweeping policy initiatives that must be adopted by international, federal, state and municipal governments, as well as businesses to institute new policies that will better protect the public from harmful exposures to plastic and microplastics.
Plastics and their production have been a problem for decades, and the more scientists learn about plastic pollution, the more serious the problems are for the environment and the health of all living things.
Today, around 380 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year, a weight similar to that of everyone on the planet. At the same time, it is estimated that only 60% of this production is landfilled, burned or recycled. The rest of the plastic production ends up somewhere in the environment.
Plastic formulations include many additives, often toxic substances, which are incorporated to give plastic products their desired characteristics. Additionally, plastics can absorb an endless number of chemicals and harbor microbes, both of which can be harmful to plants, wildlife, and humans.
Large plastic objects – like bottles, food wrappers, and bags – break down into microplastics, which are tiny pieces of plastic smaller than a grain of rice, and sometimes even much smaller than that.
There is probably no other contaminant as abundant as microplastics or as widespread in the global environment. Due to their small size, they are found in fruits, vegetables, water, beer, and even our salt.
The way this affects health varies by size. We know that fish eat microplastics, and large fish and birds eat large pieces of plastic. Whales were found to be dying from eating too many plastic bags. Plastic fishing nets entangle marine life, often killing turtles, seals and other large marine life.
Gaboury Benoit, Ph.D., professor of environmental chemistry, Yale University, EHHI member and author of the report, explained: “Almost 500 scientific studies were reviewed at the time of writing, and they show that each of us ingests and inhales millions of microscopic plastic particles each year. . Microplastics contain chemical additives and coatings as well as potentially pathogenic microbes. Worryingly, their impact on human health is not yet known.
Hugh taylor, MD Chairman of by Yale The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of EHHI said: “Exposure to microplastics is perhaps of greatest concern during pregnancy. Microplastics are found in the placenta and can cross the placenta. The fetus in pregnancy. development is particularly vulnerable to toxic exposures. Pregnant women should avoid plastics as much as possible and our legislators should prioritize their protection. “
“Dr. Taylor’s observations on microplastics, from the point of view of the Chair of by Yale Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, are extremely important, given the long-term, multigenerational actions of some of these chemicals, and the fact that microplastics are widely distributed in food and water, which creates a threat for future generations, ”said David Brown, Sc. D., toxicologist and member of EHHI.
In laboratories, researchers working with microplastics have found that they cause irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract. Microplastics also trigger toxic responses in human cells and model organisms. The possibility that these findings translate into effects on animal and human health has not yet been fully investigated and determined.
People regularly ingest microplastics when eating food and drinking drinks. They inhale microplastics by breathing indoor and outdoor air.
Since almost all microplastics come from the breakdown of larger plastic items, it is impossible to control the amount of microplastics without reducing or stopping plastic production. A single plastic water bottle can break down into several trillions of microplastic particles.
“We must stop the production of plastic at its source. This will require international agreements between nations, regulations in United States at all levels of government, and include industry cooperation and citizen efforts, ”said Nancy Echevin, President of Environment and Human Health, Inc.
This report can be viewed and downloaded from the EHHI website at: http://ehhi.org
Media contact details
Gaboury Benoit, Ph.D. 203-401-1556
President of the Environment and Human Health, Inc.
Nancy Echevin 203-248-6582
SOURCE Environment and Human Health, Inc.