Plastic are a group of metals, either synthetic or naturally occurring, that may be shaped when soft and hardened to retain the given shape. The term 'plastic' comes from the Greek work 'plastikos' which means 'to mold' or 'to form.' Learn about the brief history of plastic here:
According to the UN:
Humans produce 300 million metric tons of plastic waste annually
More than 99% of plastics are produced from petrochemicals derived from oil, natural gas and coal
An average person could be ingesting 5g of plastic per week, from microplastics in air, water, and food
This is equivalent to ingesting one credit card per week...
Plastic is found throughout our daily lives. Food coverings to utensils, trash bags, shower curtains, dishwashers, garden pipes, buckets and and the clothes and glasses that we wear are all derived from plastic. Our children use plastic in milk bottles, diapers, toys, and more. The healthcare system is also a big consumer of plastic products, from gloves to catheters and adhesives.
Unfortunately, there has been growing evidence that use of plastics in our daily lives can lead to serious health concerns. Phthalates and Bisphenol A ( BPA) are man made chemical that are found in plastics used in everyday life. These chemicals are called endocrine disruptors as they can affect hormones such as estrogen and testosterone and potentially disrupt growth and development.
Please visit the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) and our Further Reading page for more information.
Learn more about the health impacts for children of chemicals found in plastics on our Endocrine Health page.