On January 12, 2021, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Plastic Soup Foundation (PSF) launched the “Plastic Health” web series as part of the research and advocacy alliance Plastic Health Coalition (PHC).
The channel aims to discuss the latest scientific evidence on the effects of plastics on human health and will publish expert opinions as well as interviews about the hazards of microplastics, nano- plastics, and their additives. In addition, tutorials to help find plastic-free alternatives will be posted.
The environmental dimension of plastic pollution is discussed widely, as pointed out by the Plastic Health Alliance by toxicologist Dick Vethaak. He notes that “however, plastics aren’t just an environmental issue, we are dealing with a human health issue as well.”
The first episode of the new series was broadcasted on January 13, 2021, and elucidates how recycled industrial waste such as carpets end up in playgrounds, sports fields, or horse arenas and may pose potential health risks as these recycled materials have been shown to contain harmful chemicals.
“These chemicals can be harmful in several ways,” says Majorie van Duursen, professor of Environment and Health at VU University, Amsterdam. “Some can be endocrine disruptors, and others can cause neurological problems. Some are carcinogenic or suspected to be carcinogenic. Some can affect your immune system. We know that young children, in particular, are very sensitive and very vulnerable to these effects.”
In reaction to the persisting knowledge gaps, members of the European Parliament Eleonora Evi and Francisco Guerreiro are calling for more research to be done, and quickly.
Plastic Soup Foundation (January 13, 2021). “Children’s Playgrounds Are A Source Of Toxic Microplastics.”
Plastic Soup Foundation (January 13, 2021). “How Hazardous Carpet Waste Ends Up In Horse Riding Arenas.”
Plastic Health Coalition (January 12, 2021). “Plastic Pollution Is A Human Health Issue.”
Plastic Health Channel (January 12, 2021). “Toxic Playgrounds.” YouTube