Toxicity of Plastics and Bioplastics

In our journey to Zero Waste, we learned a few things along the way. One of which is that plastics are toxic and dangerous and that we’ve polluted our world so much that they are everywhere on this planet: plastics are in air, water, soil, our food, and in our bodies. And the vast majority of so-called compostables and biodegradables (i.e. bioplastics) are equally toxic as conventional plastics. We learned both plastics and bioplastics should never belong to any compost piles. Let’s see, let’s give up one hundred steps for an argument’s sake and say those bioplastics were non-toxic and plastic-free – even then, we can’t evade the fact that those single-use disposables are still major distractions from the real solutions that we should strive for – i.e. the banning of single-use and the massive build-out of reuse and refill infrastructures.

We collected some links here for your perusal so please check them out. Please let us know if you know of any good links to add.

Tire dust: One of the top sources of microplastic pollution of air, water and soil – and very toxic to wildlife: ““When we tested the tyres it killed all the fish,” said McIntyre. From there, they were able to identify the culprit: a toxic chemical known as 6PPD-quinone, the product of the preservative 6PPD, which is added to tyres to stop them breaking down. The pioneering study, published in 2020, has been heralded as critical to our understanding of what some describe as a “stealth pollutant”.” July 25, 2022, The Guardian.
Please don’t put these in compost pile! “Researchers have found PFAS are frequently used in sandwich wrappers, paper straws, baking papers, carryout containers and molded fiber products like “clam shells”. The chemicals have been detected in products from a range of businesses, including fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Subway and Chipotle; grocery chains like Whole Foods; and independent restaurants and grocers that use packaging products marketed as “green”.” The Guardian, November 19, 2021.

A 20-minute quick overview about forever chemicals by a talk show host John Oliver, October 3, 2021. You can also watch documentary films such as The Devil We Know (2018) or a feature film Dark Waters (2019) to learn more about forever chemicals.

Also see a succinct summary “What are PFAS?” by Environmental Health News.
Crisis is unfolding in Maine by the application of sewage sludge contaminated with PFAS on farmlands.
The Guardian, March 22, 2022.
The Guardian, March 18, 2022.
SciTech Daily, October 25, 2020.
US EPA, Office of Research and Development, August 2021. This EPA report discusses contamination of industrial compost with PFAS.
The Guardian, December 22, 2020.
Environmental Health News, March 28, 2022.
The Guardian, March 24, 2022.
The Guardian, March 18, 2022.
Seven Days: Vermont’s Independent Voice, November 24, 2021.
A renowned regional environmental activist, Peter Mantius writes on about PFAS contamination at landfills around New York State.
Toxics-Free Future, May 13, 2021.
CBC News, October 1, 2021. 70% of our clothes are made of plastics aka synthetic fibers, also a cause of microplastic water pollution from laundry.
This reports an Italian study. It’s not just seafood. Fast Company, June 2020.
Those guards are rarely collected after use. The Guardian, August 2021.

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