In an opinion article published on March 28, 2018 by The Guardian, journalist John Vidal claimed that recycling more “will have zero impact on the vast and growing scale of the plastic problem.” Vidal highlighted that people are now “aware of how the oceans are being polluted, but we still have little understanding of how human health is impacted by the many synthetic chemicals and additives that are used to give plastic its qualities.” Microplastics and fibers have been found in fish and shellfish, salt, beer, tap water, and bottled water, he illustrated. Also, people are ubiquitously exposed to endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7), a substance used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, he stressed.

Vidal further reported that 30 scientists “agreed unanimously that plastic is now in what we eat, drink and breathe, and constitutes a significant and growing threat to human health” at a UK workshop hosted by the organization Common Seas. “If we can breathe in these micro- and nano-sized particles and fibers, . . . they are likely to get into the human bloodstream, lung tissue and breast milk, or become lodged in the gut and respiratory systems,” the scientists suspect. Overall, “the consensus is that there are great gaps in what we know about how microplastics affect human health, and that we need more robust science.”

Governments need to develop “a comprehensive plastic action plan,” Vidal urged. He further suggested that plastic production needs to be reduced and alternative materials should be promoted. Also, entire groups of chemicals of concern should be phased-out, “rather than slowly restricting individual chemicals one at a time.”

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John Vidal (March 28, 2018). “The plastics crisis is more urgent than you know. Recycling bottles won’t fix it.The Guardian