Old habits die hard in America. And one habit that has been especially difficult for Americans to kick is our wide-ranging and unrelenting addiction to single-use consumer plastic.
What makes plastic so insidious, and quite frankly so disturbing as a pollutant, is its omnipresence and longevity in our environment. It’s in the land, it’s in the air, it’s in the water, and now, it’s in our bloodstream, in the form of micro-plastics (which are generally considered to be any form of plastic less than five millimeters in length). And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. (It is said that a plastic grocery bag will remain in the environment for up to 500 years.)
While plastic’s long-term effects on human health are still the subject of inquiry and debate, according to the Plastic Health Coalition, a research and advocacy alliance, we do know that micro-plastics disrupt endocrine function in humans, not unlike PFAs and other toxic chemicals. And it’s not just humans that fall prey to its poison. It’s been forecasted that by midcentury there will be more plastic by weight in our oceans than fish, a fact that augurs grave consequences for our fisheries and marine life. If that’s not enough, recent reports reveal the skies are now raining micro-plastics at a level much greater than previously thought. That fact alone should be enough to make the multitudes weep. Read more.