Plastic Pollution: The Devastating Impact on Our Health and Environment
Did you know that plastic pollution affects you in more ways than you may realize? It's not just when plastic becomes waste, but throughout its entire life cycle.
The production of plastic has reached unprecedented levels! A staggering 58kgs of plastic is produced per person every year! Far more than any person reasonably needs to use! The consequences of this plastic consumption from microplastics being leached out are damming on our health and the environment!
Microplastic have been found in the human body and pregnant women’s placentas which exposes unborn babies to its health consequences. Research is emerging showing that plastic causes immune dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, cancer, fertility problems and lowers sperm quality!
It seems microplastics are found in unexpected places, such as beauty products! According to the Plastic Soup Foundation, a recent study found that microplastics are present in many beauty products, including sunscreens, hand sanitizers, shampoos, and face creams. The study revealed that products containing "polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyethylene terephthalate (PET)" in the ingredients list have microplastics, with around 83% of sunscreens, 80% of hand sanitizers, 71% of shampoos, and 61% of face creams containing them.
Then there are tampons and sanitary pads which contain plastic that make direct contact with a woman’s body. Also, not commonly considered is that synthetic clothing is made essentially with plastic! This is just a few of the ways we are exposed to micro plastics.
Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution
It is impossible to completely eliminate plastic from our lives, but there are simple switches that can help reduce your exposure and safeguard the environment! Consider the following tips:
Choose glass when possible, particularly when it comes into contact with food.
Opt for a stainless steel drink bottle.
Choose plastic-free period care products such as period undies or disposable hygiene products. Organic Initative do great ones.
Aim to buy natural fibres like cotton, wool, and linen where practical.
Avoid buying disposable products.
Choose products made from natural materials such as glass, bamboo, or stainless steel instead of plastic.
Make your own cleaning products.
Buying bulk or use refill shops to avoid excess plastic packaging.
Switch to stainless steel pegs.
Choose glass packaging over plastic where possible shopping.
Make food from scratch as you can.
Choose comestics that use natural ingredients.
While I am far from perfect when it comes to my plastic usage, I probably use it more than I like. However, never underestimate the power of small steps and the big difference it can make in reducing our overall plastic consumption. It can be as easy as simply not choosing plastic when replacing or buying an item. If everyone made a few simple changes, we could significantly reduce our exposure to microplastics and work towards protecting future generations.
What are ways you reduce your plastic exposure? Let me know in the comments below!
Plasticenta: First evidence of microplastics in human placenta - ScienceDirect
Plastics and cardiovascular disease - PubMed (nih.gov)
How microplastic components influence the immune system and impact on children health: Focus on cancer - PubMed (nih.gov)
Microplastics: A Threat for Male Fertility - PubMed (nih.gov)
Plastic waste generation per person, 2010 (ourworldindata.org)
9 in 10 Cosmetics Contain Microplastics - Plastic Soup Foundation
Release of microplastic fibres and fragmentation to billions of nanoplastics from period products: preliminary assessment of potential health implications - Environmental Science: Nano (RSC Publishing)