The production of the plastic began in the early 1940ies, and the material became essential very fast. Plastic is the most widespread and used material in the modern world. It is everywhere, starting from the smartphones that people use every day, fleece, teeth brush, and food containers. Goods made of plastic are sold in every supermarket, although the sphere of the household is not the single one that uses this material. As a matter of fact, health care institutions use items made of plastic as well. It provides the population with the number of benefits, namely sterility and strength, however, the material influences the environment in a significant way, and, additionally, the human health as the chemicals used while plastic production affects the endocrine system.
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Syringes, latex gloves, and dialysis tubes are excellent examples of how plastic improved the health service as they are safe and sterile (North and Halden 3). Disposable products are commonly used in medicine and household, and it became possible with the invention of plastic. Disposable syringes eliminate the infection of HIV and hepatitis B during injections.
Despite the fact that the material is cheap and versatile one should keep in mind that it is made of hydrocarbons, the product of oil and gas. According to the reports of the Society of the Plastic Industry, the advantages that provide plastic cannot be found in the usage of any other kind of material. First and foremost, it is light, solid, flexible, cheap, and comfortable in usage. It is commonly used in medical settings where sterility is the priority as the plastic is considered to be a perfect material for guarding contamination.
Plastic kitchen goods are perfect for glass or ceramic substitution. Moreover, it is used to store products, to omit leaking and provide an excellent opportunity for the storage of hazardous materials, such as bleach or other chemical substances. However, taking into consideration all the stated above benefits of plastic one should not forget that the common material can be harmful. According to recent studies, the high level of bisphenol A was found almost 95% of the adults in America (North and Halden 4).
The planet is already full of hazardous materials produced by humanity, and plastic is one of them. Nevertheless, it should be highlighted that mankind still does not recognize what the consequences are going to be in case nothing will change. The chemicals affect the human body and the surroundings. In regards to public health, the issue concerning the usage of plastic seems to be controversial. According to the experts, the plastic should not be used for food or liquid storage. Baby bottles and food containers made of this material are rich in bisphenol A, and it affects the hormone estrogen and impacts the reproductive function (Schierow and Lister 2).
Recent studies prove the connection between plastic usage and cancer. The society should not eliminate the products made of plastic as sometimes it is impossible; however, it should be stressed that modern ways of plastic recycling should be improved.
To protect and save health, there are certain tips that everyone should follow to reduce plastic consumption. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of products with minimal plastic package that seems to have a considerable advantage. To become environmentally friendly the vast majority of people across the world uses cloth bags instead of plastic ones. Plastic containers can be used numerous times, for example, the sour cream container can be the lunch box. It is significantly important to spread the information within the community regarding the dangerous consequences of plastic usage.
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Some of the everyday items that we consume or use are not necessarily should be made of plastic. The manufacturers use this material because it is cheap. However, it will cost more to tackle health-related issues because of plastic usage. Taking care of health should receive priority. To get better involved in the problem, one should pay attention to the drinking straws. It will be used for a couple of minutes; however, the straw will remain in the environment for more than a century. The perfect substitution for it is the straw made of paper.
The discarded plastic bags cost approximately 20 cents to be handled. Almost 30 million dollars are needed to send the plastic bags to the landfill in a year per state. In addition, cleaning the streets requires almost 10 million dollars (Knight 36). Paper bags can be considered as a good option instead of the plastic ones, withal, it worth stating that it is also not reasonable, as it is a waste of sources. That is, the cloth bag that can be used multiple times is the best variant. People will refuse from the plastic bags and drinking straws if they realize the real cost of the plastic because it is significantly connected to health. The lack of information or unwillingness to change some habits is the major obstacle on the way of plastic usage reduction.
Disposable plastic cups and lids are another problems as the vast majority of coffee shops offer plastic covers for the clients. Hundreds of lid and plastic cups are used every day. People will use them for a couple of minutes; however, they will live longer than the one who used it. A wonderful option is to use travel mugs or, at least, paper cups. More than 200 billion plastic bottles are produced in the world each year. The number is striking; however, the most impressive thing is that more than 50 million barrels of oil are used to produce plastic bottles. More than 80% of all the bottles from the stated amount are sent to the landfills after the usage. Drinking fountains enjoy greater popularity now as society becomes aware of all the negative consequences of plastic usage.
Plastic pollution can transform into a dangerous form when it is sent to the landfills. It is a durable material that stays in the environment for a long time. The environment suffers from the toxic chemicals used in plastic. The recent findings suggest that almost 15% of the chemical burden on the environment is the consequence of plastic usage (Andrady 145). The problem demands crucial actions as the surrounding faces a challenge.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that despite the various significant advantages that plastic offers in comparison to other materials, it is important to take into account all the drawbacks of plastic usage. It affects hormones, environment, can cause cancer, and influence the reproductive system. It worth stating that the reduction of plastic consumption and reuse of the containers will have a positive effect on human health and surrounding as well.
Andrady, Anthony. Plastics and Environmental Sustainability. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2015. Print.
Knight, Geof. Plastic Pollution. Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2012. Print.
North, Emily, and Rolf Halden. “Plastics and Environmental Health: The Road Ahead.” Reviews on Environmental Health 28.1 (2013): 1-8. Web.
Schierow, Linda-Jo, and Sarah Lister. Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects. Washington: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 2010. Print.