7 Hazardous Substances in Plastic Materials We Use

Stuffs made from plastic are widely used. From household tools to children’s toys, plastic is the sole material. The most common product of plastic is plastic bag. Plastic bag has been used as container in almost every aspects of life. Plastic bag is light, durable, and strong. The common uses of plastic bag are for grocery and food.

However, one thing that has been ignored for years about plastic is the substances it has. It takes a couple to hundred years just to get the material decomposed. Many experts have done research in revealing the danger of plastic substances. Those substances can bring harm not only to human but also to environment as listed in Most Dangerous Chemicals in The World.

Here is the list of hazardous substances in plastic materials.

1. Bisphenol A (BPA)

Almost half of the produced plastic contains bisphenol A (BPA). Bisphenol A is synthetic compound derivated from bisphenol chemical. Soluble in organic solvent, the use of BPA is common for transparent plastic as well as inside coating for many household products. In solid form, it has white color but in liquid form, it is usually colorless.

Experts come up with the possibility of BPA hazard in human body. It has the tendency to be xenoestrogen. Xenoestrogen is the tendency to mimick estrogen along with its properties. Even though the lethal effect of BPA in human has not yet meeting a solid evidence, some animals reacted negatively to the substance by developing obesity. Thus, transparent plastic may still expose a danger everyone should be aware of.

2. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl chloride is an organotin compound commonly found in processed plastic products with less safer recycling technology. It often is contained in black plastic bag and plastic polymer. It is the polymerization of chloride monomer (VCM). The substance comes with two forms; rigid and flexible.

Also read Examples of Organic Compounds and Uses

PVC is a very dangerous substance that has been prohibited in various countries because of its lethal effect. It is a carcinogenic substance in which its long-term use can cause cancer. It is also teratogenic that it will cause birth defects. The least effect of it is irritation ranging from skin to some puncture in the internal organs.

3. Polyurethanes

Polyuerethane is a polymer compound that is often found in plastic bag. It is composed of organic compounds joined by urethane. Polyurethanes have been widely used in shopping cart, foam seals, automotive suspension and many more. It was not until an issue about its toxicity rose finally list polyurethanes as a hazardous chemical.

The substance can cause irritation, especially respiratory irritation. It can cause pain in skin, eyes, and lungs. Long-term exposure of it can cause internal disease in the lung that may lead to bronchitis or even lung cancer. This seemingly harmless but turn to be a harmful one is the reason why the people need to stop using plastic bag. 

4. Amino Resins

Another substance commonly found in plastic is amino resins. Amino resins is a combination of formaldehyde with amino compounds. The substance is often used for carpentry, surface coatings, and plastic additive. Amino resin is strong, glossy, and water resistance. This makes the chemical a desirable one in industry.

However, certain study found the substance to be hazardous. There are several health problems that can be caused if it gets exposed in the long run. It can cause irritation in skin, eyes, to respiratory system. The chemical is also categorized as probable carcinogen. Moreover, the substance is toxic and may disturb the environment balance.

5. Phthalates

Phthalates is one of the main substances in plastic. The chemical is the dialkyl reaction of phthalic acid. Industry uses it to soften polyvinyl chloride or PVC and to increase flexibility and durability. The substance is widely used as plasticizer in various stuffs from plastic bag, children’s toy, to agricultural adjuvant.

The chemical later is under critical surveillance and is banned in many countries because of the hazard it exposes. Phthalates can cause several health issues from light irritation, to cancer and birth defect. It also does not decompose easily in earth. To be safer in the possible hazard it has, it is best not to use any plastic products including plastic bag. 

6. Polycarbonate

There are many hazardous substances in plastic materials. Polycarbonate is another component of polymer compound. The production of polycarbonate is by mixing bisphenol A and phosgene. The chemical is widely used as it has many advantages such as good transparency, durability, and flexibility. People can also found this substance in plastic bag.

Experts deem the chemical as a one of hazardous substances because of the probable disadvantage it has. It is dangerous when the BPA in it is more than recommended. It can cause respiratory irritation, dysfunctional organ, and for worst case, cancer.

7. Bis (2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate

Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate is one of phthalate derivative, commonly known as DEHP. DEHP is a common plasticizer in industry with the advantage of low price. It is usually used together with BPA in various plastic products.

Many countries deem the substance as a hazardous one. the short term of use only shows low toxicity. However, long exposure to it can cause high toxicity. Thus, it is not only harmful to human but to the nature ecosystem as the accumulation may affect certain species. The main danger it exposes is gastrointestinal distress. There is no evidence yet whether it will affect reproductive system or trigger carcinoma.

However, if the toxicity accumulates, the possibility can elevate to a higher level. To recognize the danger of a chemical expose, read Usual Signs of Overexposure to Hazardous Chemicals Include.

By seeing how toxic and hazardous many substances in plastic materials are, it is highly advisable to stop using plastic bag. Government urges citizen to use a reusable cloth bag instead of plastic bag. Besides, plastic bag usually only usable for once or twice and the rest will go to the bin. If it keeps accumulating, it will take a longer time to completely get rid of them and human as well as environment will be in danger. Indeed, there are 7 hazardous substances in plastic materials.

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