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Thread: Plastics really that bad for us?

  1. #1 Plastics really that bad for us? 
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    Teacher showed us a documentary on the sudden decline in the male, like women are giving less birth to males then females. And the point they were trying to get across was that human population is going to be extinct.

    The documentary mainly emphasized on the plastics we use today and how they have chemicals that interfere with the human reproductive track and something about the endocrine system.

    My question is .. is it that serious?


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  3. #2  
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    I think the risk is both overstated and overly broad because it doesn't apply to all types of plastics. The US FDA has several warnings against food containers which hold BPA which can emulate growth hormones for example.

    I hope someone in the forum can fill in more details.


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  4. #3  
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A
    The most significant source of BPA exposure is the plastic used to line metal food cans and point of sale receipts.
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  5. #4  
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    Bisphenol A is only harmful above a certain dose. This level, called the No Observable Effect Level (NOEL) is about 0.05 mg per kg per day. http://www.med.or.jp/english/pdf/2003_03/103_107.pdf
    In other words, a 100 kg man would have to ingest a lot more than 5 mg of Bisphenol A every day to see any effect at all. This level of ingestion is highly improbable.

    In other words, the documentary is bulldust!
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    There's been a lot in the media recently about plastic pollution of the World's oceans and other waterways, mostly from thrown out bags and bottles which slowly degrade into micro particles that get swallowed by the fish, from the tiniest right up the food chain until it quite possibly ends up on our plates.
    Fish and marine mammals that swallow larger pieces of plastic mistaken for jellyfish and the like often die rapidly through choking or other blockages. But then they get eaten by other fish so the plastics get passed on.
    Floating plastic gradually masses together to form 'islands' in the oceans and practically no waterway of the Earth is completely free of the stuff.
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  7. #6  
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    Agree with skeptic - your teacher is doing you a disservice and should teach science not propaganda.
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  8. #7 Plastics as endocrine disruptors 
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    This thread is at least a month or two old but...

    The NOAEL of however many mg/kg someone stated earlier is based on a different effect endpoint than what your teacher's video is talking about. That video discusses the effects of hormone-like chemicals on people's reproductive system. Most toxicological studies have only looked at basic effect endpoints such as growth or mortality. None of the studies done on the vast amount of chemicals introduced in the 70s and 80s have looked at effects on fertility - it was only in the mid-90s that everyone started thinking about whether or not chemicals could affect our endocrine system.

    The key point here is that hormones in our body function in our blood at [u]extremely low levels (in the parts-per-trillion range) and that exposure to chemicals in plastics may leach out and get into our blood, thus mimicking or blocking the activity of other hormones in our body. Although they are not toxic at these levels, they may be having some latent impacts on our fertility or our risk of developing certain cancers.

    The book "Our Stolen Future" by Theo Colborn gives a great introduction to the subject, and I'd also recommend checking out a study called "Most Plastics Leach Estrogenic Compounds" where the authors assayed over 450 different common plastic items and found that most mimicked the hormone estrogen to some extent. If you're a teenager or grown man, you are probably not at risk, but if you are a woman expecting to have a child, or you have a child who has not yet hit puberty, exposure to chemicals in plastic products could very well affect how you develop because these are extremely sensitive times in our development - times when the right hormones need to be getting sent at the right times.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    I think the risk is both overstated and overly broad because it doesn't apply to all types of plastics. The US FDA has several warnings against food containers which hold BPA which can emulate growth hormones for example.

    I hope someone in the forum can fill in more details.
    Consumers should be well informed about plastics that are safe to reuse and recycle.

    If you check your plastic bottles and containers, you will see a number marked either at the bottom or cover of your container. This number would tell you if it is safe to reuse and recycle. You may check this page for more information --> http://www.ehow.com/about_6540936_pl...e-recycle.html
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