Posted April 23rd, 2010
by Kenny Symonds, Working Owner
Invented in 1855, plastics have since become increasingly integrated in our society but not without many ill effects. It is well known that some plastics leach endocrine disruptors and this is due to the millions of additives intended to bind, strengthen and soften them. Four out of the six most common types of plastics have been tested and proven to contain dangerous and harmful chemicals. It certainly does not mean that the other plastics aren’t harmful to the environment and us. I believe it is important that we look at the long-term health and socioeconomic effects and realize that they outweigh the conveniences we are used to.
Plastics with the #1 are PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate). PETE contains DEHP (Di 2-ethylhexyl phthalate), which has been shown to have an adverse effect on the development and health of testicles. Used for soda, water & juice bottles, detergents, and peanut butter containers.
Plastics with the #3 are PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) PVC contains carcinogens and chemicals that damage the liver and central nervous system. PVC can be found in plastic wrap, cooking oil bottles and in children’s toys.
Plastics with the #6 are PS (Polystyrene). PS leaches chemicals that are toxic to red blood cells, the liver, kidneys, stomach, brain, and the central nervous system. PS is used to make styrofoam, egg cartons, disposable dishware, disposable cutlery, and take out containers among many other items.
Plastics with the #7 are labeled as ‘Other’ and are most commonly Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate can leach Bisphenol A, a chemical that mimics the hormone estrogen. Bisphenol A is a carcinogen that can disrupt ovarian function and cause genetic damage. It is all too common to find polycarbonates in baby bottles, metal food can linings, clear plastic cups, sport drink bottles, contact lenses, syringes and even dental products.
Posted April 23rd, 2010
Part VII, The Air Not So Apparent
No element is so thoroughly within us and without us as air, the one element ubiquitous and necessary enough to have defied—thus far–being transformed into a public or private utility. And though air circulates through us with every breath, and around us with every move, air is also the only unseen element, or so was the case until the industrial revolution created air that took on certain tones in the grayscale.
But now, due to the media-tized monopoly of “global warming”/“climate change”—nearly the only environmental game in town—we can’t even “see” air pollution, since dirty air, causing known, probable, or unknown ill-effects right now, are hardly ever reported: I can’t recall the last time “air pollution” was mentioned in the New York Times or on Democracy Now!, “air pollution” seeming as dated a notion as “flower power.” In the age of Al Gore, humanity’s air-polluting ways seem only important as they bear on the far-off, mega-possibility of climate change, not on the close-in ill effects of plant and animal (people included) damage perpetrated in our so very present tense.
Instead of air pollution, air now makes its appearance as “wind,” that positive spin on air, an air creating a “carbon neutral” energy source (bird- and eyesore neutral is another story) known as “wind power.” Wind power is air at its sexiest, an advancing air that entices with its flirtation of a greener economy and caresses with ”no more blood for oil.” Needed cynicism says otherwise: that there will “always” be plenty of blood available for some resource war or other, or if US armaments industry profits are at stake.
Meanwhile, interior air quality has made great strides. While cars choke streets and highways, planes clog airport and sky, and dirty corporations escape fines through cap and trade, at least employees and consumers have been protected from the air breathed in our ever-expanding indoors. So enjoy a sigh of relief: at least the air of consumption is safer to breathe.
Next week, suggestions on lessening air pollution.
Air Quality Index, by zipcode: http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi
Airborne Toxics: http://www.oeconline.org/our-work/kidshealth/toxics/air/index_html