Our life in plastic
More than 5 trillion plastic parts drift in the oceans. But plastic is not only omnipresent in our oceans. Plastics and synthetic materials have become an integral part of our modern society. But how do they behave when it comes to our health?
Can we continue to consume without worries as before? Or should we think about alternatives? And what happens to nano- and microplastic parts that have already been absorbed by our bodies? These are important questions that we will examine more closely in this article.
If you google the term “microplastic”, the alarm bells inevitably light up. Numerous disturbing data and facts form the basis of the many critics. In 2018, for example, a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology on the subject of “Microplastics and synthetic polymers in cosmetic products as well as detergents, cleaning agents and cleaning agents” also warned about the dangers of microplastics.
The study revealed that 977 tons of microplastics and 46,900 tons of dissolved polymers are discharged into our wastewater every year from Germany alone. Micro-plastics have thus unfortunately become an integral part of our environment. Particularly since the small plastic particles with a diameter between 5 mm and 0.1 μm are often confused by water organisms with food or are taken up together with their food. The consequence: microplastics is absorbed by various living organisms from the digestive tract into surrounding tissue. It is now also known that microplastics absorbed by mussels cause inflammation.
Plastic data & facts
For example, at the end of July 2020, the MNU Landesverband Berlin/Brandenburg e.V. reported current worrying facts on its website:
- In 2030 there will be 80% more plastic waste worldwide than in 2018 (study by McKinsey & Company)
- Primary microplastic – i.e. industrially produced plastic articles – is often not visible.
- With a share of 50 %, tire abrasion from car tires is the largest source. This is already followed by shoe sole abrasion. Both get into our air through corresponding dust and are also washed into our waters.
- If pieces of laundry made of microfibers are washed, microplastic articles are also released.
- 95 % of the microplastic is filtered by the sewage treatment plants, but the rest is released again (as soon as sewage sludge is used for fertilization in agriculture due to lack of combustion capacity).
“Man continues to destroy his environment until he can create it out of plastic.”
Damaris Wieser, German lyricist and poet
Our plastic planet Earth
However you twist and turn it, it is undisputed that plastic is ubiquitous and, according to a study by the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), now accounts for about 80% of all waste discharged into the ocean. With 675 tons of waste per hour worldwide, this is a huge amount. However, it is not only the pollution and littering of our planet that is problematic, but also the hazardous substances found in plastic that can affect our health.
Not all plastics are the same
If we look at the topic holistically, it is essential to differentiate between the various types of plastics: After all, the different types have the most diverse implications for our organism. A closer look at the bottom of packaging or bottles is worthwhile – even better: “plastic chamfered” and thus prefer to reach for glass bottles and strictly avoid plastic products wherever possible. But for which effects should the respective types of plastics be responsible? And where are they in it?
Bisphenol A – Classification as “Substance of Very High Concern”
If you look at the effects of this chemical, you will inevitably become anxious and fearful. This substance is contained as a plasticizer in polycarbonate and can be found, for example, in food packaging or plastic dishes. Since the chemical is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth and can be dissolved by hot liquids, even the smallest amounts of this substance can cause great damage to health. As it is a hormonal chemical, it can cause hormonal diseases such as uterine cysts, hormonal disorders or lymphomas. But also cancer, Parkinson’s disease, liver problems, diabetes or ADHD seem to be related to bisphenol A.
Phtalates – plasticizers that make a difference
And with good reason! Phthalates (DEHP, DIBP, BBP, DBP and DIPP) can be found in the most diverse everyday products. Whether in films, PVC floor coverings, textiles or food packaging, etc., these plasticizers are used by the industry whenever plastics are to be made elastic and flexible. Since phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastic, they can unfortunately also escape easily. The chemicals quickly get into the air in the room or into the house dust and can thus be absorbed by people through the air they breathe. The absorption through food is also a potential source of danger. Thus also the Austrian Federal Environmental Agency expresses itself on its Website to the alarming health damage. These include impairment of male reproduction, damage to the liver, nerves and immune system, as well as overweight and diabetes.
PAHs – explosive plasticizers
In our daily lives, contact with PAHs, i.e. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, is difficult to manage. Not only do hundreds of these substances exist, but they can also be found in a wide variety of products and are excreted, for example, by car exhaust fumes. It is particularly worrying that the EU’s Scientific Committee on Food has classified as carcinogenic as many as 15 of the approximately 250 known PAHs. Problematic: Other compounds are also considered very questionable. For this reason, maximum levels in food have been adopted for some selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Unfortunately, however, these limits are often not met. For example, when testing gourmet oils in 2015, Stiftung Warentest identified 23 of 25 tested products as containing PAHs and even declared two products as not marketable.
What to do? Our tip!
Basically we advise you to strictly “plastic fasting”. Try to avoid plastic wherever possible. It is better to use a glass bottle than a plastic bottle. Even better: Filter your water yourself and drink purified water from the tap. You are not only doing good for the environment, but also for your health. However, since you can also come into contact with harmful plastic materials through the air and environmental influences, and thus undesirable substances can accumulate in your tissue, we advise you to support your body in its own detoxification.
For this purpose we can recommend our high-quality CLEAN series: First and foremost our clean classic “ChitosaCLEAN” with valuable chitosan fiber. By the way, this is a substance that is often used in environmental technology and agriculture because of its natural antimicrobial and antifungal effect. For example, when preserving food such as fruit and vegetables, chitosan is often used to prevent fungus in a biological way. But also our other Clean products can support you and your body in your daily detox work.