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There is no doubt that plastic is incredibly useful. However, as author Jessica Knoblauch says “the chemical building blocks that make plastic so useful are the same components that might harm the people and the environment”. Plastic is made of chemical products derived from petroleum. However, most plastics contain other organic and inorganic compounds with in them. These additives make plastic more useful and generally cheaper to produce. The benefits of plastic have made it a necessary part of this century.
However, the problem with plastic how much it has changed our world forever. Plastic has greatly affected the surface of our planet. “One of the most universal and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastic,” says scientific researcher David Barnes. There is nothing that can be done to fix the amount of plastic that is in the world’s oceans and surface. However, there is nothing being done to fix the problem at all because nobody has admitted that there is one. In fact by next year more than three hundred million tons of plastic will be produced worldwide. Plastic Planet, a documentary by Werner Boote goes into the world’s dependency on plastic in more detail. Finding experts who agree and have tested the dangers of plastic and confronting the producers, users and consumers of plastic products on the danger of the products they produce. The filmmaker Werner Boote opens by claiming that he wanted to open the film with a shot of natural earth but no such thing exist any more. The amount of plastic produced in the first ten years of this century will close to match the amount-produced ion the entire century before.
The next question should be why is plastic no matter how much is produced important beyond the fact that I use it? Well the fact of the matter is that plastic can be linked to many problems in human health. As stated before plastic contains a number of additives that are potentially toxic. One of these chemicals and perhaps the most important to discuss when talking about the link between human health problems and plastic is bisphenol A or, BPA. Bisphenol A is used along with other chemicals in plastic. BPA causes hormone problems that make it unsafe to use in consumer products and packaging. However these hormonal effects are estrogen like in nature and can be found in just about all plastics:
Error! Filename not specified. “Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics. This type of plastic is used to make some types of beverage containers, compact disks, plastic dinnerware, impact-resistant safety equipment, automobile parts, and toys. BPA epoxy resins are used in the protective linings of food cans, in dental sealants, and in other products”. People are exposed to BPA just by eating or drinking food stored in containers of plastic containing bisphenol A. The next question is what effects can this chemical have on health exactly? Well according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) “ BPA has been shown to affect the reproductive system of laboratory animals. BPA has been linked to infertility, birth defects, brain damage, Allergies and cancer. The use of BPA in products is not being entirely regulated and the levels that were once considered safe are now being reconsidered as harmful materials.
However, there are many advantages and disadvantages of plastic. Plastics are light weight, chemically resistant, can easily be shaped, durable, easy to color, thermally insulating, acoustically insulating, electrically insulating, energy saving. Meanwhile, plastic produces toxic fumes when burn, low heat resistant, non biodegradable, create pollution, and its recycling is costly. Every year, Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic bags It’s equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil. To sum up, plastics are poor conductors of heat and electricity, and are insoluble in water, inflammable and do not rust; plastics can be heated or molded into any shape and size to make a variety of things. So, we need to make use of its advantages and be away of its disadvantages.
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