Plastic Planet by Werner Boote is a very disturbing but extremely fascinating documentary, I really recommend it. He goes around the world to see the effects of plastic and speaks to manufacturers of plastic, vested companies and government bodies.
What I found most shocking is that there is a particular type of plastic called Polycarbonate. This contains Bisphenol A (BPA), an extremely dangerous chemical with hormone-like estrogenic properties that, among other things, has proven to cause cancer, infertility in both men and women, miscarriages, diabetes and asthma. Studies have now shown that we all have plastic in our blood, even tribes in the Amazon and Inuit people supposedly. However, infertile parents in particular are proven to often have higher amount of BPA in their blood. Plastics such as CDs/DVDs, health and electronic devices, glass lenses, water bottles and tanks (like the ones dispensed in hospitals!), baby bottles, lotion bottles and others are often made of this type of polycarbonate plastic. It is also said to be the main ingredient used in metal cans in which food has to be protected from getting in contact with the metal can itself. More than 50% of commonly consumed canned foods, canned beverages, and foods sold in plastic packs, animal foods packed in plastic including canned infant formula are all containing measurable levels of BPA.
Why do we not know more about the health effects of different types of plastic? Because thousands of big multinational companies rely on us buying plastic and will avoid this getting out at all costs. They have huge political influence and stem scientific research into the different types of plastics.
We should avoid all types of plastics where possible. Where this is not doable check the recycling symbol underneath the plastic items (e.g. kids toys, food containers, cosmetic bottles) and avoid handling those with numbers #3, #6 and #7. If you must use plastic, the safest are those with numbers #2, #4 and #5. But even in these cases we lack a scientific understanding of what is actually in this plastic. Number #1 (i.e. PET water bottles) should only be used once, as they start leaching microplastics after reuse. This also happens when any plastic is left in the sun or near a heater.
From production, consumption to combustion, plastic is having a detrimental effect on our health and environment on a daily basis due to the toxins it releases into our bodies, food, land, air, rivers and oceans.
Action: Watch the documentary and read this article which sums up the BPA issue in a comprehensible and scientific way. Buy unpackaged goods and reusable containers and water bottles for both your health and the environment. There are more regulations ensuring UK tap water is safe and drinkable than there are on bottled water – no joke.