HEALTH AND TOXICITY

Basics

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Most of the chemicals that are used to make plastic are inert and are not mobile in the environment or the body. However, there are some components used in the plastics processing industry that can leach out of the finished products. This section uncovers the facts about the health and toxicity of plastics in everyday goods. 

 


Endocrine Disruptors

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Besides the hotly debated BPA and BPA-like substances, a range of other chemicals are typically added to plastics to tailor their properties. Many of these chemicals are safe and harmless, but other popular additives have been shown to cause adverse health effects when people are chronically exposed. Of particular concern are young children who are prone to direct exposure through putting things in their mouths. In 2008, the U.S. placed limits on the amount of phthalates in children's toys. 


PHTHALATES AND OTHER PLASTICIZERS

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Besides the hotly debated BPA and BPA-like substances, a range of other chemicals are typically added to plastics to tailor their properties. Many of these chemicals are safe and harmless, but other popular additives have been shown to cause adverse health effects when people are chronically exposed. Of particular concern are young children who are prone to direct exposure through putting things in their mouths. In 2008, the U.S. placed limits on the amount of phthalates in children's toys. 


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Flame Retardants

Plastics have extremely good combustion properties, which can actually make them a viable source of energy; however, it makes them more dangerous in applications where there is risk of fire. Most notably, plastics used in fabrics, furniture and building products typically contain substances which limit their flammability.