I've always been someone who cares about the environment, but sometimes it feels like convenience is more important. However, this is far from true, especially when it comes to the discussion about plastic. The lasting environment and health impacts that stem from single-use plastic make a pretty solid case for not using them.
From production to disposal, "plastic threatens human health on a global scale," according to a report from released by the Center of International Environmental Law (CIEL) in collaboration from six other environmental organizations.
The report walks through the life cycle of plastic, and each step provides an additional risk for consumers. The chemicals needed to produce plastic have been linked to many health issues including cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, impairment of the immune system and many more. The only way to over 170 of the chemicals necessary is by fracking, which in and of itself is an environmental risk, according to National Geographic.
The use of plastic products opens the door for consumers to inhale or ingest large quantities of both microplastic particles and hundreds of toxic substances, according to the same CIEL report.
As the plastic begins to degrade, plastic additives have the opportunity to transfer to water, soil or body tissue. This happens easily due to the lack of attachment between the polymer matrix and the additives.
Once the consumer is done with the plastic, the next danger accompanies the disposal of the plastic. Due to a lack of technology surrounding waste management, all the current forms of disposal release toxic metals such as lead and mercury, acid gases and other toxic substances to the air, water, soils, and even other animals.
Our attachment to plastic is killing us and the planet. Trust me, convenience can seem like it's the most important thing, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not worth it.