Appeared in Southern Sierran, February 2006
Plastics Damaging to Health: fetuses and children particularly at risk
by Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D.
Plastics can pose threats to human health at all stages in our life cycles, with specific risks varying with the type of plastic.
In the process of converting petroleum or natural gas into plastic, toxic chemicals can be released into the air and water supply. For example, vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen, is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. A chemical called perfluorooctanaote (PFOA) used in the production of plastic-coated non-stick cookware is also carcinogenic.
An assortment of “additives” is often needed to lend particular characteristics to a product. Many items, like computer casings and hair dryers, require flame retardants because plastics are highly flammable. Read the rest of this entry »