The Effects of Plastic on Humans Name Institution Plastics are organic polymers that occur naturally or synthesized in the industries. They are important materials that people use to produce various products such as packaging materials and toys. People are identifying ways of improvising different materials with plastic due to its durability, lightweight, flexible, tensile and easy to maintain nature…
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This is because it is non-biodegradable hence an environmental pollutant (Vogel, 2013). It is not only an environmental pollutant, but it has harmful effects to humans. This paper discusses the various dangers plastic presents to humans. Effects of Plastic on Children Most of children toys and equipments, such as baby bottles and teething rings, are made of plastic. They therefore contain phthalates that soften plastics, and Bisphenol A, which makes the hard clear plastics (Schierow, (2011). The children readily consume these chemicals through ingestion. The entry of these toxic chemicals in their body system leads to suppression of hormones in their body system. This therefore results in underdevelopment of some of their body organs. Small exposures to these chemicals have the same effect as when there is a large exposure because of their small body mass (Hochberg, 2012). Effects of Burning Plastic As a method of disposing plastic materials in the homestead, people opt for burning. Burning of plastics emits dangerous gases which, inhaled, may increase the probability of suffering from heart attacks, asthma, emphysema, rashes and nausea among others. Burning of polystyrene polymers, for example the yoghurt containers, leads to production of styrene which when absorbed through the skin may damage the mucous membrane and the eyes. Plastics containing PVC are the most dangerous since the toxic dioxins emitted when burning them is carcinogenic (Vogel, 2013). Some of the waste from the burning of plastic persists for long periods in the environment. As a result, the wind blows them into the water bodies or various sections of the land. The persistent pollutants are therefore able to bio-accumulate, hence are able to increase in quantity in water bodies, contaminated water and food. The exposure of humans to these pollutants is through consumption of animals that consume the products from the water bodies, for example fish may consume mercury-contaminated water (Knight, 2012). This may lead to health problems such as cancer, deformation of their children, failure of reproducing, and immune diseases. Impact of Littering Plastic Littering plastics in the environment also have negative effects on our land. It increases the level of land and water pollution. Their disposal on land leads to the degradation of land, where the land reduces its capacity of food production. They block the absorption of water and mineral soils hence lessen the growth of plants and trees (Schierow, (2011). Disposal of a large mass of plastics in the environment can cause landslides, which may cause death of humans. In water, they attract the persistent organic pollutants, which are hydrophobic (Hsieh et al., 2004). They are therefore able to spread the pollutants into the clean environment, where they gain contact with wildlife. Consumption of these wastes leads to health problems such as infertility, deformation of offspring and respiratory problems, which may lead to death (Vogel, 2013). Wildlife may also consume the small pieces of plastic that may cause death of wildlife. The increase of death of wildlife reduces the number of tourist attractions, therefore reducing the level of income in the country. Effects of Industrial Production of Plastic Manufacture of plastics leads to emission of large quantities of carbon monoxide, which readily oxidizes to carbon dioxide. Due to the
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