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Innovation

One word about cancer, plastics

The very ubiquity the plastics industry touts as a selling point is now raising fears. It's leached into umbilical cords. It's making boys less masculine. It has been implicated in erectile dysfunction. It's being blamed for ADHD, too.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

The plastics industry has long had an ad campaign called Essential2.

No one argues that plastics aren't a vital force in the economy, even medicine.

But the industry's pushback on issues like BPA and phthalates are starting to read, to some, like claims from decades ago that cigarettes were not unhealthy.

(Iiamo of Denmark makes plastic baby bottles that heat themselves.)

That case was proven long before the industry acknowledged it, and now evidence is mounting against plastics. Not that all claims are true. Freezing or warming bottles won't kill you. Same with reusing a plastic container.

But BPA, an additive in food grade plastics, is increasingly being implicated with changes indicating early stages of cancer growth. Campaigners in England want it banned from baby bottles. (That Danish bottle above is BPA-free.)

The very ubiquity the plastics industry touts as a selling point is now raising fears.

It's leached into umbilical cords. It's making boys less masculine. It has been implicated in erectile dysfunction. It's being blamed for ADHD, too. Toxic adulterants make their way into plastic toys and the toys are seen as dangerous.

Some of this is overblown, as Earth911's Bob Peeples points out. Just because a chemical is inside you doesn't mean it's dangerous. Just because it's in your urine doesn't mean it's poisonous. Effect A is not always the cause of Symptom B.

But thousands of scientists are now on the hunt for clues to frightening changes in our bodies, changes that have accelerated with industrialization and the rise of the plastics industry.

An industry that is the product of science now feels as though it is under attack by science. But attacking the science only feeds the anti-science frenzy that keeps us from finding solutions.

Plastics are essential. Now they need to be made safe.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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