Plastic Bag Pollution

Every year, around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. 500,000,000,000

 A lot of bags. So many that over one million bags are being used every minute and they're

damaging our environment.  Big numbers can be daunting so let's put it another way. Every man, woman and child on our planet uses 83 plastic bags every year. That's one bag per person every four and half days. Of those 500 billion bags, 100

billion are consumed in the United States alone.


Plastic bags are difficult and costly to recycle and most end up on landfill sites where they take around 300 years to photo degrade. They break down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways and enter the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them.  But the problems surrounding waste plastic bags starts long before they photo degrade. Our planet is becoming increasingly contaminated by our unnecessary use of plastic bags. Big black bin liners, plastic carrier bags carrying advertising logos, clear sandwich bags and a variety of other forms are all polluting our environment. They're lightweight, handy and easily discarded. Too easily discarded.

While they were rarely found during the 60s and 70s, their usage has increased at an alarming rate since they became popular during the 80s. Just take a look around you. Plastic bags can be seen hanging from the branches of trees, flying in the air on windy days, settled amongst bushes and floating on rivers. They clog up gutters and drains causing water and sewage to overflow and become the breeding grounds of germs and

bacteria that cause diseases.

Dangers to Sea Life

Plastic bags are now amongst the top 12 items of debris most often found along coastlines ranging from Spitzbergen in the north to the Falklands in the south.

Animals and sea creatures are hurt and killed every day by discarded plastic bags - a dead turtle with a plastic bag hanging from its mouth isn't a pleasant sight but mistaking plastic bags for food is commonplace amongst marine animals. Plastic clogs their intestines and leads to slow starvation. Others become entangled in plastic bags and drown.

Because plastic bags take hundreds of years to break down, every year our seas become 'home' to more and more bags that find their way there through our sewers and waterways. Every bag that's washed down a drain during rainfall ends up in the sea - every bag that's flushed down a toilet (many small bags are), ends up in the

sea - every bag that's blown into a river will most likely end up in the sea.

Add to that the enormous amounts of energy that's used every year in order to manufacture these bags and it's no surprise that pressure is being put on governments to make changes and consumers to re-think their attitudes.

Pollution Taxes & Bans

Following the levy of taxes on plastic bags in Ireland, usage dropped by 90 percent. Several countries have already banned their use and more will doubtless follow.

While anything that lowers our consumption is good, why wait until we're hit financially before we change our habits when changes aren't difficult to make?

How about taking previously used bags with you next time you go to the shops? Or even better - turn back time and do as grandma did and take a sturdy bag with you every time you go shopping.

Shop-owners would much rather you use their bags as they're a convenient and cheap form of advertising, but what's more important, shareholder profits or the environment?

Plastic bags can be re-cycled although only about one in every 200 ever find their way to a re-cycling unit. Find out if there's a re-cycling bin near you and, if not, lobby your local authority for one.

Greenhouse Gases

Some countries have introduced so-called "environmentally friendly plastic bags" that are biodegradable. These bags take about three years to break down into practically nothing and while that sounds like an attractive solution, the truth is that the process of breaking down these petrol based bags causes carbon to become methane which is a greenhouse gas. It's also possible to get 'plastic' bags manufactured from corn. These break down very quickly and give off no more methane than any other corn product on landfill sites. Unfortunately, they're more expensive to produce and few shops use them.

Until a real alternative is freely available, the only solution is a re-think of attitude:

􀁺 Re-use bags when shopping.

􀁺 Choose biodegradable bags to use for litter (photodegradable bags used in this way are guaranteed to end up on landfill sites taking hundreds of years to break down).

􀁺 Re-use large plastic sacks whenever possible

􀁺 Refrigerate food in containers rather than plastic bags

Garbage Bins

One question that's often raised in connection with the plastic bag dilemma is what should be used to line bins if not plastic bags?

To answer that, let's go back in time to when plastic bags were yet to become commonplace. There's no need to go any further back than the 70s. What did we do?

For one, we had far less garbage. Goods had much less packaging than is the case today so we didn't fill our bins as quickly. Peelings, eggshells, tea bags and coffee grounds were all composted, as was any paper that wasn't needed for lighting fires.

What was left went into an unlined bin with anything sloppy being wrapped in newspaper first.

If we choose carefully when shopping so as not to bring home more packaging than necessary - there's really no point in bringing it home just to throw it straight in the bin when we unpack - and keep a compost bin going, the amount of waste that goes into the kitchen bin will be halved, at least.

Now that we have re-cycling plants, even less will need to be binned. Tins, bottles and paper (we generally have too much for the compost heap these days) can all be delivered to the local re-cycling point.

If you really must line your bins, instead of buying plastic liners, it's possible to use newspaper. You won't be able to pull everything out, tie it up and put it out, of course, but you'll be able to tip it from your kitchen bin into the main bin without too much mess. People managed before; perhaps the comfortable lives we have today

just make everything appear more difficult than it really is.

Obviously, if you live in an area where the garbage collectors expect to find bin liners neatly arranged along the edge of the street rather than the bins themselves, you'll have to continue using plastic bags. That doesn't mean to say you can't lobby your local authority for change, though. Explain why you need to leave the bin outside and that it's their duty to support any move that will improve the environment.


By refusing to use plastic bags, you can make a huge difference to the pollution problem. Remember that each person uses about 83 bags a year. If there are four people in your family, that's 332 plastic bags less every year.

That's 332 bags less that will:

􀁺 Release toxins into the ground water from landfill sites

􀁺 Stay in the environment for hundreds of years while they break down

􀁺 Get into the food chain through animals that ingest small particles of plastic

􀁺 Waste energy during the manufacturing process

􀁺 Kill any of the estimated 100,000 marine animals that die each year of plastic pollution

These are all-important factors that have a profound affect on our environment and the creatures we share our planet with. Should we really put our own selfish needs before the needs of everything around us now and the lives of future generations? That's up to you to decide.


 A petroleum-based polymer, plastic is a material that doesn’t easily break down or biodegrade in nature. Nonetheless, it has been one of the most widely used materials in the United States and other countries since the 1970s. In fact, in 2010 alone, some 330 million tons of new plastic will be manufactured around the world. It is used in packaging, electronics, home construction and many other arenas. However, very little of it will be recycled and the rest will eventually be discarded. Where does this plastic waste go?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or Pacific Trash Vortex, is a large system of rotating water currents that contains an enormous concentration of plastic litter trapped by the swirling water. Found in the north central Pacific Ocean, this garbage patch is thought to encompass an area somewhere between the size of Texas and the continental United States. The spot can’t be captured by satellite imagery, as much of the garbage contained within it is actually suspended in the upper water column. Because of the rotational water in this area, called a gyre, the region draws in debris from all across the Pacific, including the coastal waters of the United States and Japan. Much of the garbage found here is made up of small particles of plastic that concentrate as they get closer to the center of the region. Although it isn’t known exactly where all of the garbage in the patch comes from, estimates put about 80 percent of it from land-based sources and around 20 percent from ships. The pollution found in the patch ranges from pieces of abandoned fishing nets to the small, abrasive plastic pellets found in some household cleaning products. As the plastic debris collects in the vortex, it breaks down into smaller and smaller particles. Eventually, it becomes small enough to be ingested by the tiny organisms living near the ocean surface and thus enters the food chain.

Plastic Pollution: An Ocean Emergency

The oceans have become one giant refuse bin for all manner of

plastics. Environmental and health concerns associated with plastic

pollution are a long recognised international problem (Carpenter

& Smith 1972). Whilst approximately 10% of all solid waste is

plastic (Heap 2009), up to 80% of the waste that accumulates on

land, shorelines, the ocean surface, or seabed is plastic (Barnes et

al. 2009).

Plastics have an array of unique properties: they are inexpensive,

lightweight, strong, durable, corrosion resistant, and with high

thermal and electrical insulation properties. This versatility has

revolutionized our life and not least made information technology

and electrical goods far more readily available than would have been

possible otherwise. They have also contributed to our health and

safety (e.g., clean distribution of water and breakthrough medical

devices), and have led to substantial energy savings in transportation.

Unsurprisingly, with an ever expanding population and our standard

of living continuously improving, plastic production has increased

from 0.5 to 260 million tons per year since 1950 (Heap 2009),

accounting today for approximately 8% of world oil production

(Thompson et al. 2009b). Almost all aspects of our daily life involve

plastics in some form or another: from hair dryers to shoes, to

the car we drive and the wrap around lunch sandwiches. A scary

thought considering that in the 1960s, less than 1% of our waste

was plastic.

The key problem with plastic however is that a major portion of

plastic produced each year is used to make disposable packaging

items or other short-lived products that are permanently discarded

within a year of manufacture (Hopewell et al. 2009). Well over a

billion single-use plastic bags are given out for free every day.

Around 0.2 to 0.3% of plastic production eventually ends up in

the ocean (Andrady & Neal 2009). Two of plastics’ most touted

advantages, their light weight and durability, also make plastic items

plastics are buoyant and remain so until they become waterlogged or

photo degradation and abrasion plastics only break into smaller

and smaller pieces so “that they can be consumed by the smallest

marine life at the base of the food web,” according to a report by

the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP 2009). Saline

marine environments and the cooling effect of the sea mean that

degradation requires very long exposure times. Persistence of plastic

debris is poignantly illustrated in the account that plastic swallowed

by an albatross had originated from a plane shot down 60 years prior

some 9,600 km away (Weiss et al. 2006).

Plastics’ buoyancy also means they can be easily carried by ocean

currents and transported across ocean basins, their contamination

stretching from the shorelines to the deepest parts of the sea, from

the poles to the Equator and the most remote of islands. Between

reefs of the Northwest Hawaiian Island Marine National Monument

(NWHI-MNM), one of the largest marine conservation areas in the

world (Pichel et al. 2007). Stewart Island’s Mason Bay, located at

almost 47° S, is a spectacular, remote and isolated, ca.10 km sandy

beach that is open to the Southern Ocean, facing into the Roaring

Forties. The beach is fouled with 2 to 3 tons of plastic pollution,

offshore waters (Barnes et al. 2009). Most of these items are from

comes from Korea and Japan; other sources include Argentina,

Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain,

South Africa, and the United Kingdom (Barnes et al. 2009).

increasing number of reports of sunken plastic debris settling to

73 in Gregory 2009) report of numerous white plastic shopping

bags suspended upside down and freely drifting past a deep-sea

submersible at depths of 2,000 m, looking like an assembly of



Impacts on ocean wildlife. The bodies of almost all marine species,

ranging in size from plankton to marine mammals, and including

some of the wildest and most vulnerable species on the planet

– animals that make nearly their entire living far from humans

– now contain plastic. Sixty percent of 6,136 surface plankton net

tows conducted in the western North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean

Sea from 1986 to 2008 contained buoyant plastic pieces, typically

millimetres in size (Law et al. 2010). Plastics turn up in bird nests,

are worn by hermit crabs instead of shells, and are present in sea

turtle, whale and albatross stomachs (Mrosovsky et al. 2009). Over

mammals, have been reported to ingest or become entangled in

plastic debris, resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced

reproductive output, lacerations, ulcers, and death (Derraik 2002;

Laist 1997).

Entanglement in discarded or lost plastic netting, rope and

visible impacts of plastic pollution (Laist 1997). Recent sightings

include pods of endangered humpback whales travelling northwards

Macfadyen 2007; Goñi 1998).

Ingestion of plastic items occurs much more frequently than

entanglement (e.g., Laist 1997; Robards et al. 1997). At sea, plastic

Marine Turtle Newsletter No. 129, 2010 - Page 2

seabirds have been seen to pick at plastic items the same way

Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) contain some plastic. Monitoring

of plastic loads in seabirds showed increases in plastic ingestion

from the 1960s to the 1980s, but have stabilized or decreased

more recently (Ryan et al. 2009). On the other hand, microscopic

fragments, in some locations outweighing surface zooplankton,

1960s and 1970s were compared with the 1980s and 1990s (Barnes

et al. 2009). When ingested, such small particles can also be taken

up from the gut into other body tissues. Ingestion of plastic can lead

to wounds (internal and external); impairment of feeding capacity;

blockage of digestive tract followed by satiation and starvation;

and general debilitation often leading to death. Plasticizers and

organic contaminants that typically sorb and concentrate on plastics

at levels far superior to the surrounding marine environment have

been shown to affect both development and reproduction in a wide

range of marine organisms. Molluscs and crustaceans appear to be

particularly sensitive to these compounds (Oehlmann et al. 2009).

Being an important food item for many species, plastics ingested

by invertebrates then have the potential to transfer toxic substances

up the food chain (Teuten et al. 2009). The mechanisms by which

ingestion lead to illness and death can often only be surmised because

the animals are at sea unobserved or are found ashore dead.

Once fouled with marine life or sediment, plastic items sink to

operated vehicle submarine in the Fram Strait (Arctic) revealed 0.2

to 0.9 pieces of plastic per km at Hausgarten (2,500 m) (Galgani &

Lecornu 2004 in (Barnes et al. 2009)). On dives between 5,500 and

6,770 m, 15 items of debris were observed, of which 13 were plastic

(Barnes et al. 2009). The presence of plastic at shallow and greater

feeders, deposit feeders and detritivores, all known to accidentally

ingest plastics.

The hard surfaces of pelagic plastics also provide an attractive and

and wood) for a number of opportunistic colonizers. The increasing

availability of these synthetic and non-biodegradable materials in

marine debris may increase the dispersal and prospects for invasions

by non-indigenous species (Gregory 2009).

Impacts on sea turtles. All sea turtle species are particularly

prone and may be seriously harmed by ‘feeding on’ anthropogenic

marine debris, particularly plastics (Carr 1987) (e.g., Hawaiian

Islands, (Balazs 1985); Texas coast (Shaver 1991); coastal Florida,

(Bjorndal et al. 1994); Azores (Barreiros & Barcelos 2001); Western

Mediterranean, (Tomás et al. 2002); Paraíba, (Mascarenhas et al.

2004) and Rio Grande do Sul, (Bugoni et al. 2001/, see below)

turtles get entangled, or pieces of which they ingest (Mrosovsky

et al. 2009). Laboratory experiments demonstrated that green and

loggerhead turtles actively target and consume plastics whether it

be small pieces intermixed with food items, or single 1- to 10-cm2

sheets (Lutz 1990). Sublethal impacts of plastics on sea turtles can

be substantial, yet mortality resulting from interactions with plastic

Ingestion. Plastic ingestion by sea turtles is a relatively common

occurrence, albeit often in small quantities. However, even in

small quantities, plastics can kill sea turtles due to obstruction of

the oesophagus or perforation of the bowel for example. Relief of

gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction of a green turtle off Melbourne

beach, Florida, resulted in the animal defecating 74 foreign objects

over a period of a month, including four types of latex balloons,

different types of hard plastic, a piece of carpet-like material, and

two 2 to 4 mm tar balls (Stamper et al. 2009).

Fishing line can be particularly dangerous, when, during normal

intestinal function, different parts of the digestive tract pull at

different ends of the line. This can result in the gut gathering along

the length of the line preventing digesta from passing through the

tract (Bjorndal et al. 1994). Plastic ingestion may also indirectly

lead to death of an animal through nutrient dilution, i.e., plastic

pieces displacing food in the gut (and reducing the surface available

for absorption). Typical consequences include decreased growth

rates, longer developmental periods at sizes most vulnerable to

predation, depleted energy reserves, and lower reproductive output

and survivorship of animals (McCauley & Bjorndal 1999). The

latter is likely to be an important threat to smaller individuals with a

lower ability to increase intake to meet their energetic requirements

than larger animals.

islands” of drifting seaweeds such as Sargassum. Floating plastics,

are drawn by advection into the same drift lines (Carpenter & Smith

1972; Pichel et al. 2007; Wong et al. 1974). As young sea turtles

indiscriminately feed on pelagic material, high occurrences of

plastic are common in the digestive tract of these small sea turtles,

often contributing to their mortality (Witherington & Witherington


As plastics can accumulate in multiple segments of the gut,

stomach lavages underestimate the incidence of ingestion.

 ropes or lines, can prevent sea turtles from diving to feed or from

surfacing to breathe. Nets and lines can also amputate limbs, severely

reducing an animal’s mobility. Notes on selected studies:

Fifty turtles (23 out of 38 juvenile greens, one out of 10 adult

loggerheads and one out of two adult leatherbacks) out of the

92 turtles found dead stranded on the shorelines of Rio Grande

do Sul State, Brazil, had ingested considerable amount of

anthropogenic debris. Most of this debris consisted of plastic

bags and ropes, causing severe lesions and/or obstruction of

the digestive tract, linked to the death of four green turtles

(Bugoni et al. 2001).

Of 51 sea turtle carcasses that washed ashore in Florida, 25 had

The death of at least two animals was attributed to ingestion of

plastic debris in their digestive tract (Tomás et al. 2002).

Necropsy records of 408 leatherback turtles, spanning 123 years

(1885 - 2007), were studied for the presence or absence of

plastic in the GI tract. Plastic was reported in 34% of these cases,

with a marked increase over time (Mrosovsky et al. 2009).

Marine Turtle Newsletter No. 129, 2010 - Page 3

Hope and the future of plastic in the ocean. “There is a role for

individuals, via appropriate use and disposal, particularly recycling;

for industry adopting green chemistry, material reduction, and

by designing products for reuse and/or end-of-life recyclability;

and for governments and policymakers by setting standards and

incentivize change, and by funding relevant academic research and

technological developments.” (Thompson et al. 2009a).

Re-design. The past decades have proven that there is no stopping

the ingenious human mind. Therefore, the development of

materials derived from renewable natural resources, with similar

functionalities to that of oil-based products, needs to be supported/

subsidised. The use of such materials should particularly be

encouraged for packaging applications. There is some hope: the

Green Chemistry Initiative (Boughton 2009), signed by California

Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008, directs the Department of Toxic

Substances Control to reduce toxics going into our oceans, including

those from plastics, with biodegradable, non-toxic substitutes.

Remove. Beach and ocean cleanups are a great way to raise

awareness and to collect data on abundance and trends of debris on

shorelines. However, alone they will not solve the problem. At some

locations around the world cleaning plastic from the coast amounts

to little more than relocation of the items from the beach to inland

dumpsites where they pose different problems to the environment

serve to mask the severity of the plastic pollution problem with a

feel-good event. The most well-run cleanup efforts combine the

removal of trash with proper disposal and follow-up educational

efforts on how to reduce the production of single-use disposable

plastics. When people see and touch plastic pollution they are most

open to such behavioural changes.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. There is considerable scope for reuse of

plastics utilised for the transport of goods, and for potential re-use

or re-manufacture of plastic components in goods such as vehicles

and electronic equipment (Hopewell et al. 2009). Provided with

adequate incentives, industry could be led to use plastic “waste” as

raw instead of virgin material, which currently is often cheaper. At

much smaller scales users should be encouraged to reuse plastic bags

and other plastic goods as much as possible. Although globally only

a small proportion of plastics get recycled, mechanical recycling

has been increasing at 7% per year in Western Europe (Thompson

et al. 2009a). Public support for recycling is high in some countries

(57% in the UK and 80% in Australia (Hopewell et al. 2009)). Still,

together with clearer labelling could lead to greater separation of

materials by users. This would in turn reduce labour associated with

sorting costs, currently one of the main impediments to recycling

e.g., The Netherlands and Germany.

use disposable plastic and subsequent release of plastics into the

environment. Some simple and immediate actions include:

o Avoiding plastic-bottled beverages;

o Buying products with minimal or reusable packaging;

o Buying in bulk whenever possible to reduce packaging;

o Buying used items;

o Seeking out reusable shopping bags like those made from


o For coffee and or tea – bring your own mug;

o For food – bring your own container.

Personal actions can advance social change, yet policy actions are

Ireland, Eritrea, Rwanda, China, South Africa, Bangladesh, Thailand

and Taiwan, have banned or taxed plastic bags. In July 2009, the

in the world to pass a law banning PET bottles (Malkin 2009). Bans

on polystyrene, bottled water and plastic bags are being inplemented

by communities, businesses and universities around the world, and

these trends are expected to continue. At the international level, the

United Nations Environment Program is calling for a worldwide

ban on plastic bags.

Continued research on the impacts of plastic on the ocean

environment and human health is likely to conclude the problem is

worse than currently understood. Plastic production and pollution

continues to increase at most locations. The symptom of this growing

crisis can be seen inside and on sea turtles as well as their oceanic

and terrestrial habitats. Bold initiatives that directly confront the

source of plastic pollution, redesign packaging and rethink the very

idea of “throwaway culture” are urgently required (e.g., Plastic Sea turtle researchers and conservationists

have a unique role to play in this cultural evolution, as we have

of plastics.

See these Titles? They are talking about sea, beaches, environment, etc…
but what about risks for animal and mankind? This is a very strange way to carry on a god job!!!

Stop Plastic Pollution from Trashing California's Beaches

Ocean Pollution of Small Plastic Particles 1 Running head: RISK

Perils of Pacific Plastic Pollution: Facts, Myths, and How You Can Help

Seabirds as indicators of plastic pollution in the North Pacific


Is mankind not suffering from the use of plastic? And not only the use of it regards to plastic bags, but related to any kind of plastic object, material, or item we could find around us. I understand they are not going to talk about this problem, because they  are not willing to change their attitudes. Petroleum industry, still is a big business, and produces in most cases, with direct and non direct taxes added on fuels, 70% of the money paid in taxes, to nations that are not wishing to lose it. Vice, is something that we should consider from an ethic point of view, moral, and common sense. Adding a tax to pay on any plastic bag we use, enables these people to avoid the cost of them, and still use them. We pay this damage twice. Let’s consider a titanium wire bag, that could carry up to 40 kg weight that could last 100 years with no problem at all for environment. Private interest, industries, and governments, will never act against their own interest, unless, populations change their attitudes and force them to act in a proper way. The day we will stop using them, they will not be able to make money out of them, and that will be the end of their use. Any inventor that could easily do something about this problem, would easily be stopped. I guess it is time consciousness, awareness and common sense get to work together to transform these political classes and industrials, into wiser people.


See: Marine plastics pollution is a growing international dilemma that

threatens marine resources from the crowded New Jersey shore1 to the

otherwise pristine and uninhabited beaches of Antarctica   

… and so on, they keep avoiding the obstacle, and I could show you more than 12000 articles that are talking about this problem, whilst a greater one is just standing there behind the corner waiting for us to se it. A mortal one. An invisible one. BPA. Not only bags, bags, bags, bags…. The BPA scandal is just going to burst as soon as someone will consider that these substances are a problem. But I guess that hypocrisy is the real problem here, and the attitude they have towards the world. Let’s persecute, give proportional fines,  and arrest those who behave in this criminal way against species, animals, mankind and the world,  so that they will be forced to change attitude. Remember that we have options, and most of the time, no choices, whist they have possibilities, to change, get better, and build a better future. To blame the people, and make them pay the price of their policies, is to give them the opportunity to continue. Simply stop buying, using, and paying for plastic in any possible form. It’s time to tell them that a green world is not what they are talking about and building, as it looks to me, that the whole affair is a way to make money with carbon tax, without changing attitude, and saying that we will do it in the next future. Now they are talking about, 2015 -2030.      


Every time you want to transform a plastic through fire, make energy with it, etc… you will produce dioxin. Read this: DIOXIN POLLUTION PREVENTION AND PVC PLASTIC IN




The disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) generates polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and

polychlorinated dibenzofurans (referred to together as “dioxin”) through open burning, waste

incineration and landfill fires1,2. Backyard burning of household trash is a significant source of

dioxin3. In the U.S., about 100 municipal waste combustors incinerate about 20% of MSW after

recycling4, compared to 70% in Maine. Dioxin air emissions from MSW incineration have

declined due to facility closures, operating improvements and added pollution controls5. Dioxin

air emissions remain significant and incinerator ash adds very large amounts of dioxin to the land6.

40% to 70% of the chlorine input to MSW incinerators is from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a widely

used plastic7. Yet PVC accounts for only 0.6% of the total mass of MSW4. Several variables

affect dioxin formation during incineration including chlorine precursors, metal catalysts, oxygen

content, combustion temperature, residence time, quenching conditions and pollution controls5.

Many studies have correlated chlorine input and dioxin formation during combustion8,9,10,11,12,13. A

PVC industry-funded study found no correlation between chlorine input and dioxin air emissions

in MSW combustors14. Others have also discounted the importance of chlorine input to dioxin

formation15. These negative findings have been criticized for flawed analysis16. The relationship

between chlorine input and dioxin formation in waste incineration remains complex and uncertain.

The precautionary principle holds that if an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the

environment, then preventive actions should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships

are not fully established scientifically17. While risk assessment justifies a halt to open burning, a

precautionary approach supports dioxin pollution prevention by reducing the incineration of PVC.

Materials and Methods

In 1997, the Maine Department of Conservation surveyed 545 town fire wardens and state forest

fire rangers about backyard trash burning. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection

(DEP) used these survey results, EPA emission factors for burn barrels3 and air dispersion

modeling (ISCST3) to characterize exposure, risk and mass emissions of dioxin. In 1999, a

medical waste disposal crisis spurred the Maine Hospital Association and Maine DEP to develop a

plan for in-state management of biomedical waste and reductions in waste volume and toxicity18.

In 2000, the Maine DEP began drafting a plan for the statewide collection of household hazardous

waste19 and in 2001 the Maine Legislature began policymaking on PVC to address dioxin issues.

Results and Discussion

The 1997 backyard burning survey identified 8,510 permitted burn barrels in Maine or about one

barrel for every 144 people. An inverse relationship was found between population (by county or

Organohalogen Compounds, Volumes 60-65, Dioxin 2003 Boston, MA

by town) and the number of burn barrels per 1,000 residents, showing that backyard incineration is

a rural phenomenon. When surveyed, local fire wardens offered three broad categories of opinion

as to why rural people burned their trash in backyard barrels: economic incentives (e.g. avoiding

pay-as-you-throw disposal fees), cultural habits and the inconvenience of proper disposal2.

Environmental releases of dioxin in air emissions and ash from backyard burn barrels in Maine in

1997 are reported in Tables 1 and 2, based on 21 tons per day of waste burned in barrels2. Burn

barrels were found to be a significant source of dioxin air emissions (7 - 23 grams TEQ/year). The

high dioxin content of burn barrel ash also raises environmental health concerns. Air dispersion

modeling showed that fifteen minutes of open burning resulted in dioxin impacts two times the

health based guideline for subchronic (24-hour) exposure at a downwind distance of 500 meters2.

The 2000 Maine dioxin inventory (Table 3) revises the estimate of dioxin air emissions from burn

barrels to 4.1 grams TEQ (26% of air emissions). This exceeds the 2.0 grams TEQ dioxin air

emissions from Maine’s four municipal waste combustors, which burn about 600,000 tons of

MSW each year20. Dioxin releases to land from disposal of MSW incinerator ash account for 34.1

grams TEQ or 60% of all dioxin released to air, water and land, far more than from any source.

Table 3 also shows that PVC plastic is the major chlorine donor for dioxin sources that account for

79% of quantified dioxin releases to air, water and land. PVC is also the major chlorine donor for

dioxin releases from car and building fires, open burning at construction sites and landfill fires.

About 75% of PVC is used for building and construction21. PVC mixed with wood recovered

from construction and demolition debris may form dioxin when burned at biomass power plants.

In 2001, Maine’s 39 hospitals pledged to steadily reduce the use and disposal of PVC plastic so as

to prevent dioxin formation from both medical and solid waste incineration. Disposable PVC

medical products such as IV bags, tubing and gloves account for 10% -15% of medical waste22.

Table 4 lists the steps being taken by to reduce PVC use. Maine hospitals have made modest

progress in reducing PVC (Table 5), reflecting the complexity of the task and the need to move the

market23. The Southern Maine Medical Center has already switched to PVC-free IV bags.

In 2001, the State identified PVC as a problem waste that should be included in a statewide

household hazardous waste collection program19. Legislation was proposed (LD 1543) to define

PVC plastic as a dioxin-forming product, fund an education program to discourage open burning

of MSW and encourage the diversion of PVC waste away from incineration. The bill was strongly

opposed by the chemical industry and was substantially amended before being signed into law to:

1. Ban all open burning of MSW in Maine (except for clean wood waste)

2. Fund a one-time educational program to discourage open burning and promote PVC alternatives

3. Establish a state policy to reduce the total release of dioxin to the environment with the goal of

its continued minimization and, where feasible, ultimate elimination

4. Require a study by the State Planning Office (SPO) to assess the feasibility of diverting PVC in

MSW away from incineration, which concluded in 2003 that: “the majority … supported

identifying polyvinyl chloride plastics as a material of concern in the state’s efforts to reduce the

formation of dioxins and their release into the environment” and “there was substantial support for

efforts that would result in the diversion of polyvinyl chloride plastic away from incineration”24.

Further actions are needed to prevent dioxin releases to air, water and land from MSW disposal.

Organohalogen Compounds, Volumes 60-65, Dioxin 2003 Boston, MA

Given the factors that motivate rural Americans to use backyard burn barrels, statutory bans on

open burning are unlikely to be effective alone. The highly successful anti-tobacco industry

public health campaign to reduce smoking could serve as a model. An industry-funded but

publicly-controlled public education campaign against open burning should target the chemical

industry as responsible for dioxin-forming products such as PVC in the waste stream. Like

household hazardous waste, PVC should be separately collection and diverted away from

incineration. Expanded labeling of PVC products would facilitate education, identification and

waste segregation. Disposable PVC packaging, e.g. consumer bottles and ‘blister packs’, should

be phased out. We should exercise precaution by working to eliminate PVC plastic from MSW.

Table 1: Estimated Dioxin Releases to Air from Backyard Burn Barrels in Maine



Emission Rate

EPA Study3 (mass

emitted per kg waste)

Estimated Daily

Emissions per

Household (g/day)

Estimated Total

Annual Emissions


Dioxins TEQ Worst-Case 0.005 mg/kg 0.000007 23

Average 0.002 mg/kg 0.000006 7

Calculations based on: Maine waste production = 1.2 kg/capita/day; average household size = 2.5 people; number of burn

barrels in Maine = 8,510; Maine average recycling rate = 25%; combustion rate = 68.1% (worse-case scenario) or 57.9%

(average scenario) of original mass burned. Tables 1 & 2 adapted from Maine Department of Environmental Protection2.

Table 2: Estimated Dioxin Releases to Land (as Ash) from Backyard Burn Barrels in Maine

Scenario Dioxin Concentration in Ash

(EPA Study3) ng/kg (ppt) TEQ

Ash Produced


Total Dioxin Releases to Land as

Ash (grams/year)

Worst-Case 2,586 3,732,039 10

Average 1,611 2,942,300 5

Table 3. Maine Dioxin Inventory 2000: Dioxin Releases to Land, Air and Water

Dioxin Source


Release to:

Total Dioxin

(grams TEQ)

Is PVC a Major

Chlorine Donor?

Municipal Solid Waste Incinerator Ash Land 34.1 YES

Backyard Burn Barrels Air 4.0 YES

Residential Fuel Burning (wood & oil) Air 3.4

Commercial / Industrial Fuel Burning Air 3.1

Backyard Burn Barrel Ash Land 2.9 a YES

Pulp & Paper Mills – Kraft Bleach Discharge Water 2.3

Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators Air 2.0 YES

Medical Waste Incinerators Air 1.7 YES

Utility Boilers (biomass/wood and oil-fired) Air 1.1 some b

Pulp & Paper Mills - Sludge & Ash Land 1.0

Non Point Sources, including On Road Vehicles Air / Water 0.6

Sewage Sludge Land 0.2

Miscellaneous Industrial Sources Air 0.1

Biomass/Wood-Fired Power Plant Ash Land < 0.1 some b

Automobile & Building Fires Air / Land nd YES

Industrial Sludge & Kiln Dust Land nd

Landfill Fires Air / Land nd YES

Open Burning (construction sites, etc.) Air / Land nd YES

TOTAL > 56.6

Adapted from Maine DEP6. nd = no data; a = extrapolated from 1997 study; b = from PVC-contaminated scrap wood

Organohalogen Compounds, Volumes 60-65, Dioxin 2003 Boston, MA

Table 4: Hospital PVC Reduction Steps18 Table 5: Maine Hospitals’ Progress – Jan 200322

1. Establish a written PVC reduction policy

2. Assess current use of PVC products.

3. Reduce PVC use in disposable products

4. Replace PVC use in durable products

5. Ask GPOs to evaluate of PVC alternatives

6. Renegotiate GPO contracts on PVC prod.

7. Report annually on progress achieved

GPO = Group purchasing organization

Activity Completed

% Completed

(# of hospitals)

PVC Reduction

Product inventory 21 % (8)

Patient safety review * 10 % (4)

Minimize incineration 8 % (3)

Product phase-out not yet quantified

* based on patient exposure to toxic PVC additive DEHP


Funding for this work has been provided by John Merck Fund, Bingham Program & Beldon Fund.


1. U.S. EPA (2000) Sources of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the U.S. Vol. 2 in: Exposure and

Human Health Reassessment of TCDD and Related Compounds, EPA/600/P-00/001Bb

2. Maine Department of Environmental Protection (1997), Backyard Trash Burning (BYB) Study

3. Lemieux, P.M. (1997) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA-600/r-97-134a

4. Franklin Associates Ltd. (2002) Municipal Solid Waste in the U. S.: 2000 Facts and Figures

5. National Research Council (2000) Waste Incineration & Public Health, ISBN 0-309-06371-X

6. Maine Department of Environmental Protection (2001), Maine Dioxin Inventory 2000

7. Commission of the European Communities (2000) COM(2000) 469 final

8. Mahle, N.H. and Whiting, L.F. (1980) Chemosphere. 9: 693-699

9. Aliberti, Goretti, G., and Russo, M.V. (1983) Chemosphere 12(4/5):661-663

10. Halonen, I., Tarhanen, J., Kopsa, T., Palonen, J., Vilokki, H. and Ruuskanen, J. (1993)

Chemosphere 26(10): 1869-1880

11. Frankenhauser, M., Manninen, H., Kojo, I., Ruuskanen, J., Vartiainen, T., Vesterinen, R. and

Virkki, J. (1993) Chemosphere 27(1-3): 309-316

12. Huotari, J. and Vesterinen (1996) Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials 13(1)-10

13. Hatanaka, T., Imagawa, T. and Takeuchi, M. (2000) Environ. Sci. Technol. 34: 3920-3924

14. Rigo, H., Chandler, J. and Lanier, S. (1995) in: Solid Waste Management: Thermal Treatment

and Waste-to Energy Technologies (Kilgroe, J., Ed.) AWMA, ASME/CRTD-Volume 36

15. Wikstrom, E., Lofvenius, G., Rappe, C. and Marklund, S. (1996) Environ. Sci. Technol. 30(5):


16. Costner, P. (1997) Organohalogen Cpds. 32: 436-440

17. Tickner, J. (2002) Public Health Reports 117: 493-497

18. MHA (2001)

19. Maine DEP (2001) Plan for Statewide Collection and Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

20. Maine State Planning Office (2002) 2001 Solid Waste Generation & Disposal Capacity Report

21. Thornton, J. (2002) Environmental Impacts of Polyvinyl Chloride Building Materials, ISBN 0-


22. Thornton, J. (2001) Pandora’s Poison: Chlorine, Health, and a New Environmental Strategy,

ISBN 0-262-20124-0

23. MHA (2003)

24. Maine SPO (2003) Report: Plan to Reduce Toxic Emissions and Expand Plastics Recycling

Organohalogen Compounds, Volumes 60-65, Dioxin 2003 Boston, MA


They perfectly know what it is all about….. but unfortunately, it is a little worst…. Lets read what they say about this other substance, to avoid problems….. it looks like plastic is good for you here,,,,


Bisphenol A and Polycarbonate Plastics


1. What is bisphenol A?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic and resins. It

has been used safely in the manufacture of these materials for more than 40 years.

Bisphenol A is not used to make PET plastics and resin. PET is typically used for the

single-serve, single-use bottle and have a number 1 on the bottom.

2. Where is polycarbonate plastic used?

Many familiar consumer products are made from polycarbonate plastics, including

compact disks, impact resistant eye glass lenses, dental fillings, and food and

beverage containers. Polycarbonate plastic is also used to make streetlight globes,

small and large household appliances, components of electrical/electronic devices,

automotive applications, telephones, and safety and sports helmets. Polycarbonate

sheets are used extensively in signs, windows and window protection, walkways,

roofing structures, greenhouses, solar and construction glazing, and skylights.

In addition, many food and medical devices are produced from polycarbonate (e.g.,

blood oxygenators used to purify blood and intravenous harnesses). Because of its

use in food contact and medical products, polycarbonate and bisphenol A have

undergone extensive safety testing.

As recently as January 2007, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), after

completing an extensive, independent expert panel review of all new scientific data

from the past five years concluded that bisphenol A does not post a risk to human

health at the trace levels present in consumer products. The EFSA findings were

confirmed by independent expert panels in both the United States and Japan.

Polycarbonate plastics have been deemed safe packaging for food products by

these and other food regulatory agencies worldwide.

3. How is polycarbonate plastic used in food packaging?

Polycarbonate plastic is used in both beverage and food containers because it is

hygienic and provides protection from food contamination and spoilage. Plastics

have proven to be excellent in protecting food and beverages from bacteria, which is

vitally important in safeguarding public health.

All plastics intended for contact with foods or beverages are regulated by Health

Canada to assure their safety. In addition, all products for food contact applications

made from bisphenol A must meet health and safety regulatory guidelines

throughout the world. Polycarbonate resins are employed in food-contact uses

primarily in such applications as components of food processors, microwave

ovenware, table ware, refrigerator crisper drawers, food-storage containers, and

returnable water, milk and juice containers.

4. What bottled water containers are made with polycarbonate plastic?

Polycarbonate can be used to manufacture a variety of plastic bottled water

containers. The plastic used in all bottled water containers is shown to be safe

through extensive laboratory testing. Bottled water and the containers it is placed in

are brought to consumers under full regulation of Health Canada. This regulatory

oversight, reinforced with strong industry standards, ensures that consumers will

receive a clean, safe product each time they enjoy a serving of bottled water,

whether packaged in glass or plastic.

5. Is bottled water in plastic containers safe to drink?

Yes. The Health Canada investigates the potential toxicity of leaching chemicals and

establishes safe levels for any contaminants in bottled water. There is currently no

indication that contaminants from leaching or from the water source are a problem in bottled water.
As recent as April 2008, Health Canada confirmed the safety use of

polycarbonate water bottles following an extensive evaluation of bisphenol A.

In January 2007, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) summarizes a weight of

the evidence evaluation of low-dose reproductive and developmental effects of

bisphenol A. Bisphenol A is used to make polycarbonate plastic; 18 litre plastic bottles

commonly used in water coolers are made from polycarbonate plastic. The EFSA

convened an expert scientific panel to evaluate the weight of evidence for low-dose

reproductive and developmental effects of bisphenol A. In their overall conclusion after

reviewing some 200 scientific papers published since 2002, was that bisphenol A does

not pose a risk to human health at the trace levels present in consumer products.

The full details of the study available on the EFSA’s Web site at:

6. I heard that a study on animal cages and water bottles made from

polycarbonate plastics became dangerous after they were scrubbed. Aren’t

water cooler bottles cleaned for re-use?

Bottled water cooler containers are cleaned and sanitized in accordance with

guidelines as dictated by Health Canada’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s).

These include specifics related to cleaning agents used, water/rinse temperature

and duration. These containers are cleaned and sanitized on specialized equipment

designed specifically for that purpose. The methods and materials used in the study

would not be utilized in a bottled water plant. For instance, researchers conducting

the study mistakenly used a highly caustic floor cleaning detergent that would not be

used to clean and sanitize bottled watercooler containers.

7. Are products made with bisphenol A safe to use?

Yes. Claims of adverse health effects in laboratory animals at extremely low doses

are based on small, unvalidated studies. Much larger, more comprehensive studies

by several different research groups in the United States and Japan failed to show

any adverse effects after exposure of laboratory animals to low doses of bisphenol A

over multiple generations. These studies follow internationally accepted guidelines

for conducting toxicity tests and also comply with Good Laboratory Practice

requirements to ensure valid results.

Products made from bisphenol A are safe if used as intended because bisphenol A

has been highly studied. A large number of studies have been conducted to assess

the impact of bisphenol A on human and environmental health. Research has shown

that bisphenol A is not a carcinogen, not a reproductive or developmental hazard,

and is not bioaccumulative because it is rapidly metabolized and eliminated from the

body. In addition, bisphenol A degrades rapidly in the environment. The benefits of

bisphenol A as an environmentally friendly food packaging material have proven

vitally important to public health.

Assessments of the scientific evidence conducted by government agencies

worldwide all confirm that polycarbonate products made from bisphenol A are safe

for use. Health Canada confirmed the safety of polycarbonate water bottles and

these pose no health risk. There evaluation included the review of 150 sets of data,

which included the review of the 18 litre polycarbonate water bottle.

8. If I eat or drink something that was contained in a plastic container that was made

with bisphenol A will I harm my health?

No. a scientific evaluation of bisphenol A was published by Professor Michael

Kamrin, Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University. After systematic

evaluation of the extensive scientific literature on bisphenol A, Professor Kamrin

concluded “it is very unlikely that humans, are at risk from the presence of BPA in

consumer products.” Professor Kamrin’s 2004 evaluation is available in the peerreviewed

journal Medscape General Medicine at (free registration


After consideration of Professor Kamrin’s evaluation, the American Council on

Science and Health, which includes a board of 350 physicians, scientists and policy

advisors, concluded “The current, very low levels of exposure to bisphenol A from

plastic bottles and other consumer products do not pose a hazard to human health.”

The Council’s views on bisphenol A are available at

There is no known evidence of any effect on human health from exposure to

bisphenol A resulting from consumer uses of products made from polycarbonate

plastic. Polycarbonate food and beverage containers, as well as other consumer

products made from polycarbonate, are safe for their intended uses.

9. How does Health Canada regulate bisphenol A?

Plastic food and beverage containers, including polycarbonate plastic made with

bisphenol A, meet or exceed all requirements of the Health Canada which regulates

food packaging to assure its safety.

Health Canada clears food-contact plastics for their intended use based on migration

and safety data. The clearance process includes stringent requirements for

estimating the levels at which such materials may transfer to the diet. Health

Canada's safety criteria require extensive toxicity testing for any substance that may

be ingested at more than negligible levels. This means Health Canada has

affirmatively determined that, when cleared plastics are used as intended in foodcontact

applications, the nature and amount of substances that may migrate, if any,

are safe.

In April 2008, Health Canada announced as part of their assessment of bisphenol A,

polycarbonate water bottles continue to be safe for use. Health Canada based their

conclusion on the review of 150 sets of data, which included the evaluation of the 18

litre polycarbonate water bottle.

10. What does the code found on the bottom of a container indicate?

Many plastic items are marked with a Resin ID code – usually a number (1 through 7)

or a letter abbreviation – which indicates a particular type of plastic. The code is

typically found on the bottom of a container and is often displayed inside a three-arrow

recycling symbol. The codes help facilitate the recovery of post consumer plastics.

The Resin Identification Code System was introduced in 1998 by The Society of

Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) at the request of recyclers around the country. A growing

number of communities were implementing recycling programs in an effort to decrease

the volume of waste subject to rising tipping fees at landfills. In some cases, test

programs were driven by state-level recycling mandates.

The SPI code was developed to meet recyclers' needs while providing manufacturers a

consistent, uniform system that could apply nationwide. Because municipal recycling

programs traditionally have targeted packaging - primarily containers - the SPI coding

system offered a means of identifying the resin content of bottles and containers

commonly found in the residential waste stream.

Recycling firms have varying standards for the plastics they accept. Some firms may

require that the plastics be sorted by type and separated from other recyclables; some

may specify that mixed plastics are acceptable if they are separated from other

recyclables; while others may accept all material mixed together. Not all types of

plastics are generally recycled, and recycling facilities may not be available in some

areas. To this day, the Resin Identification Code System helps sorters separate basic

types of plastics for recycling, and provides manufactures with a consistent, uniform

identification system that’s applied nationwide.

Here’s what the numbers represent:

#1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

#2 - High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

#3 - Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC)

#4 - Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

#5 - Polypropylene (PP)

#6 - Polystyrene (PS)

#7 - Other (which commonly includes: Polycarbonate, ABS, Nylon, Acrylic or a

composite of 2 or more resins)

11. Where can I get additional information on bisphenol A?

Additional information can be obtained from:

Canadian Bottled Water Association

70 East Beaver Creek Road, Suite 203-1

Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 3B2





One of the plastics that carry the No. 7 recycling symbol—is clear, tough,

and lightweight. That makes it ideal for everything from

bulletproof glass, riot shields, and computer cases to eyeglass

lenses and compact discs.


Those properties also make polycarbonate ideal for hard

reusable water bottles (like Nalgene), sippy cups for toddlers,

and some food storage containers. And that’s where it gets into

trouble. Polycarbonate is made from BPA. So are the epoxy resins

that line the insides of food and beverage cans. And small

amounts of BPA leach out when the plastic or can lining comes
in contact with food or water.

“Close to 100 percent of our exposure occurs this way,” says Michael Shelby of

the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a division of the

National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

“Low levels of BPA are also found in house dust, the air, and in water,” adds

Shelby, who is director of NIEHS’s Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human


What worries some scientists is that BPA is an estrogen “mimic.” It activates

the same receptors in the body as estrogen does. In fact, BPA was first studied

in the 1930s as a synthetic estrogen for women. Because hormones are the messengers in the body’s
 endocrine system, chemicals like BPA are called “endocrine disruptors.” “BPA is the largest volume endocrinedisrupting

chemical in commerce,” says BPA critic Frederick vom Saal, a biologist

at the University of Missouri. Worldwide, more than six billion pounds of BPA are

manufactured every year. Vom Saal is convinced that BPA causes a host of problems,
including breast and prostate cancer. While some other researchers aren’t willing to go that far,
they are concerned that BPA may affect the maturing brain. Vom Saal is convinced that BPA causes
a host of problems, including breast and prostate cancer. While some other researchers aren’t willing
to go that far, they are concerned that BPA may affect the maturing brain. cancer, early onset
of puberty in girls, type 2 diabetes, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a decline in

semen quality, and urogenital abnormalities in male babies.

The panel, chaired by vom Saal, was composed of 38 researchers, many of whom

had done laboratory studies on BPA and had expressed concern about its safety.

In November, a second panel of scientists, also convened by the NIEHS,
disagreed with most of the first panel’s findings. It consisted of 12 toxicologists,

pharmacologists, neurobehavioral experts, and other researchers who had not studied BPA.

Two were reproductive toxicologists from drug companies (Pfifizer and

Schering-Plough, neither of which makes BPA).Why did the two panels disagree?
 According to vom Saal, the second panel gave more weight to studies funded by

the plastics industry. “We’re to the point now where 100 percent of industry-funded

studies conclude that bisphenol A at any dose causes no harm,”

he says. “And there are now hundreds of government-funded studies that show the

opposite outcome.” However, Robert Chapin, the Pfizer toxicologist who led

the second panel, argues that there was good reason to reject many of the non industry studies.
 “We didn’t flippin’ care who does the study,” he told the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper
in December. “There’s a lot of bad science out there.”

One reason the second panel rejected so many studies: The first panel looked at

research in which scientists injected BPA into test animals. The second panel

said that those studies weren’t relevant, since that’s not how humans are exposed to BPA.

“That’s absurd,” counters vom Saal. “We found identical blood levels whether we fed or injected BPA
into young mice,” he argues, citing a new study he did to test the second panel’s conclusion.
 While the two panels may not have concurred on much,  they did agree on one thing:
BPA may cause brain and behavioral disturbances

in young animals. “The biggest concern we have is for neurobehavioral alterations in the young,
” says Chris Portier, associate director for risk assessment at the

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

For example, male rats exposed to BPA were less likely to explore a new environment,
a trait more characteristic of female rodents. In other studies of young animals exposed to BPA,
mice were more anxious, female rats were less playful and more exually motivated, and male rats
 were more defensive and showed impaired

sexual performance. “Some behaviors are influenced by hormones, so you expect to see
 certain differences between the sexes,” explains neuro developmental toxicologist Jane Adams
 of the University of Massachusetts. (Adams served on the second NIEHS panel.
She has received funding for some of her research from Pfizer.)

“When the magnitude of those differences changes, you worry about a hormonal inflfluence,”
 says Adams. For example, mothers ordinarily treat their male offspring differently than their female offspring.
 But “if maternal behavior changes because the right signals aren’t coming from the mother’s pups,
 then you fear that really subtle hormonal effects on the pups could disturb their brain development
and later behavior,” says Adams. But the evidence is still murky, she adds.
“There’s really no cohesive picture. No two studies looked at the same thing. One would focus on

a maternal behavior index, another on prenatal exposure of pups at one age,

another at exposure of pups at other ages, others on different behaviors.”

Still, Adams’s panel found enough well-designed studies that picked up subtle

behavioral changes in animals that “we just felt something might be going on

and needs to be studied further.”

Part of what impressed the second panel was that the animals also showed

changes in nerve cells—“the density of cells, the number of cells, things like

that,” says Adams— in areas of the brain that respond to hormones.

“If the changes had been in an area that had nothing to do with any of this stuff,

we wouldn’t have been persuaded,” she adds. Adams isn’t just worried about the

youngest brains. “Adolescents have a growth spurt in brain development that’s

on the magnitude of what we see in early infancy, and we know very little about it,” she notes.
(Could BPA cause problems in adults? Researchers haven’t looked extensively at the brain cells
or the behavior of animals that were exposed to BPA as adults. One study, however, hinted at subtle changes



“If you’re concerned about BPA, take whatever steps you can to reduce your

f exposure,” says Michael Shelby, director of the Center for the Evaluation of Risks
to Human Reproduction at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
“That means avoiding polycarbonate baby bottles, the water bottles that hikers
 and sportsmen use, and canned food.” If you do that, you’ve probably eliminated
 most of your exposure.

How to Minimize Your Exposure to BPA

Avoid plastic containers made of polycarbonate. Any bottle or container made of

polycarbonate has the recycling No. 7 on the bottom. But the number can also

appear on plastics that don’t contain BPA.

When possible, prepare or store food—especially hot foods and liquids—in glass,

porcelain, or stainless steel dishes or containers.

If you have polycarbonate plastic food containers, don’t microwave them. The

plastic is more likely to break down and release BPA when it’s repeatedly heated

to high temperatures.

Don’t wash polycarbonate plastic containers in the dishwasher. The detergent

may break down the plastic, which could release BPA.

Use infant formula bottles that are made of glass or BPA-free plastic. BornFree

( is one of many companies that make them.

When you can, replace canned foods with foods that are fresh, frozen, or packaged

in aseptic (shelf-stable) boxes (see “No Can Do,” p. 11). At least one manufacturer—

Eden Foods—lines its cans with a BPA alternative made from plant extracts.

A good alternative to polycarbonate is polyethylene terephthalate (PETE), which

has the recycling No. 1 on the bottom (see “Unlucky ‘7,’” p. 10).

Avoid older versions of Delton dental sealant. (Dental sealants are plastic resins

that a dentist bonds into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth to help

prevent cavities. Delton is made by Dentsply International of york, Pennsylvania.)

Most dental sealants are free of BPA. However, older Delton sealants contain a

compound that breaks down into BPA, mostly during the first day after it comes

into contact with saliva. The newer Delton Plus (or Delton+) sealants don’t contain

the compound, but Dentsply still sells the old sealants to dentists who prefer them.


And what, if anything, do the changes in the brain cells or the behavior of lab

animals mean for h human fetuses, infants, and young children?

Researchers don’t know. “There’s uncertainty about the possible effects,” says

the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Michael Shelby.

“If you’re concerned, the thing to do is to take whatever steps you can to reduce

exposure. And the published literature suggests that close to 100 percent of the

exposure comes from water and food.”

Beyond the Brain

Once you look beyond BPA’s impact on the developing brain, the picture is no clearer...

and the opinions are no less heated. Take cancer.

In studies by Frederick vom Saal, exposing fetal mice to very small amounts of

BPA stimulates the growth of epithelial cells in the mammary glands of females

and accelerates the proliferation of epithelial cells in male prostate glands.

“We’re talking about an animal carcinogen that mis-programs the cell, and

these are the cells that later transform into the tumor,” says vom Saal.

“There are now clear molecular mechanisms that explain how bisphenol A alters

human and animal cells at concentrations at and below one part per trillion,”

he adds.

“And that’s over a thousand times below the levels that you virtually are

certain to have in your body, according to the CDC. So if that doesn’t get you a little

nervous, nothing should.”

Yet when other studies expose animals to much larger amounts of BPA from conception
 through adulthood, the animals have no higher rates of breast or prostate cancer.

“It’s a real head-scratcher,” says Michael Shelby. “Here’s this body of research

reporting that very small amounts of BPA can cause effects in animals that might

be interpreted as precursors or early stages of problems like infertility and cancer.

“Yet when we do large, more robust standardized studies, the kind of tests

toxicologists and risk assessors have relied on for decades, using very small or

larger amounts of BPA for longer periods of time, birth defects and other possible

problems raised by some low-dose studies just don’t show up.”

That’s reassuring, but it still leaves doubts and unanswered questions, especially

for parents of young children. “People think the government has

tested environmental chemicals and shown them to be safe,” says vom Saal.

“That’s a big lie.”

Unlucky “7”

The recycling numbers that appear on the bottoms of most plastic bottles and

other containers were designed by the plastics industry in 1988 to help recyclers
separate different types of plastics. Some—but not all—plastics with the recycling

No. 7 are polycarbonate, which has BPA. Here’s what each number means.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE): Many soda bottles,

water bottles, vinegar bottles, medicine containers. The

easiest plastic to recycle.

High-Density Polyethylene: Many milk and water jugs;

containers for laundry and dish detergents, fabric softeners,

bleach, shampoos, conditioners, motor oil. Can be recycled

into more bottles or into bags.

Polyvinyl Chloride: Many meat wraps, cooking oil bottles,

baby bottle nipples, shrink wraps, coffee containers. Difficult

to recycle.

Low-Density Polyethylene: Many wrapping films, grocery

bags, sandwich bags. Can be recycled into more of same.

Polypropylene: Tupperware and many other food storage

containers, syrup bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, diapers,

outdoor carpet. Can be recycled into fibers.

Polystyrene: Some take-out food containers, Styrofoam

cups and containers, disposable cutlery and cups, bakery

shells, meat trays, packing “peanuts.” Recyclers don’t want

it because it’s bulky and light weight.

Other (mostly polycarbonate or mixtures of the other

plastics): Food can liners, Nalgene-type water bottles,

disposable cutlery, sippy cups. Recyclers don’t want it.

You’re always safe when you microwave in glass.


Sources: plastics industry Web sites, CSPI.

BPA OnLine. For more information about BPA, including links to scientific
reviews and to companies that make BPA-free products, see

What’s Next?

Concern over BPA is picking up speed. The National Institute of Environmental

Health Sciences is preparing to release its BPA recommendations this spring. The

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will begin

reviewing the safety of BPA this year. And the California Environmental Protection

Agency is considering whether to include BPA in its annual Proposition 65 list of

chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects.

The FDA approved BPA for use in materials that come in contact with food

three decades ago, when there was little research about its risks. Now the agency

says that it will review the findings of the two recent NIEHS panels.

“If it causes us to change our mind, we will take appropriate action,” says Mitchell

Cheeseman, deputy director of the agency’s Office of Food Additive Safety.

But that could take years. Meanwhile, if BPA does cause harm, especially to the

very young, its impact may be irreversible. Says NIEHS associate director for risk

assessment Chris Portier: “There’s sufficient evidence now to give people who

want to be prudent—especially parents— a reason to avoid BPA.”

The Bottom Line

young a animals that are exposed to BPA in the womb or soon after

birth show abnormal behavior and abnormal changes in brain cells

and receptors, but there’s no direct evidence that the same occurs in

young humans.

Some animal studies suggest that BPA increases the risk of cancer,

obesity, diabetes, or other health problems, but other studies find no


There is no evidence that BPA causes neurobehavioral or other

problems in adults, but little research has been done.

To play it safe, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding,

infants, young children, and adolescents should try to avoid BPA.

Want to avoid plastic packages that leak BPA? Check the

recycling symbol on the bottom. If it’s No. 7, the plastic may be

polycarbonate, which contains BPA. (Not all No. 7 plastics are

polycarbonate, though.) But the odds are that you won’t find a No. 7.

For example, we didn’t see No. 7 on plastic containers that

hold baked goods (cakes, muffins, cookies, etc.), berries,

grape tomatoes, margarine, butter, milk, cottage cheese,

or yogurt. Nor are you likely to see a No. 7 on the plastic

clamshell containers used at salad bars. And even if you run across a

No. 7, that doesn’t mean it contains BPA. For example, Gerber baby food plastic
containers carry a No. 7 because they’re composed of

layers of different plastics, none of which are polycarbonate, says

the company.

(No. 7 is the “Other” category, which covers mixtures of plastics

and plastics that don’t carry their own recycling symbols—see

“Unlucky ‘7,’” p. 10.)

So where’s the BPA? Unless you carry a Nalgene reusable

water bottle, the linings of canned foods and sodas are the

most likely source for adults. Here’s how to avoid them:

Look for BPA-free cans. At least one company—Eden Foods—uses cans that aren’t
lined with the epoxy resins that can leach BPA into food.

Buy soup that’s dried or in cartons. Imagine, Trader Joe’s, and many other

companies use aseptic (shelf-stable) cartons. you can also look for dried soups in cups
(like Dr. McDougall’s) or in bags (like Bean Cuisine). Or make your own.

Switch to fresh or frozen vegetables. you might get less salt to boot.

Buy tuna or salmon in pouches. you’ll also have less water to drain.


Why is there concern? Researchers are concerned that even at low levels, environmental estrogens may work together with the body’s own estrogen to increase the risk of breast cancer. An ingredient called bisphenol-A (BPA) is used in certain plastics (polycarbonate plastic) and the lining of canned food and beverages. BPA can leach out of plastics and can liners with heat. BPA is an environmental estrogen.

How is BPA used? In the U.S., 2.3 billion pounds of BPA is produced each year. About 60% is used in hard plastics (sports and baby bottles, sports equipment, auto parts, CDs/DVDs) and 40% is used in epoxy resins to line metal food and beverage cans and in dental sealants.

Are we exposed to BPA? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study in 2008 showing that low levels of BPA were detected in 92.5% of the urine samples in a survey of the general U.S. population. Other researchers have detected BPA in human breast milk and one study reported detecting BPA in the body fat of women. The major source of BPA is the diet, e.g. BPA from canned foods and BPA leaching from polycarbonate beverage containers.

What you can do now:

Learn the name of this environmental estrogen

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an environmental estrogen found in polycarbonate (PC) plastic

PC plastic has been used to make plastic sports bottles and baby bottles

To find PC plastic, look for recycle symbol “7 – PC” or symbol “7” and “Other”)

- Not all PC plastic containers that have BPA are clearly marked

- If the plastic is hard and transparent, assume it is made of PC and has BPA

- NOTE: Single-use water bottles are NOT made of PC, and do not contain BPA

BPA is used extensively in the epoxy lining of metal food and beverage cans

Minimize leaching of BPA from PC plastic sports or baby bottles

Wear and tear, harsh detergents, and especially heat, can cause BPA to leach out

DO NOT microwave in plastic containers

DO microwave in heat-resistant glass (e.g. Pyrex) or lead-free ceramic containers

DO NOT leave PC bottles where they can heat up (hot car, hot sand, etc.)

DO NOT wash in the dishwasher. DO hand wash PC bottles in mild detergent.

DO NOT use PC plastic bottles that are worn or scratched

DO RECYCLE - Many recycling programs accept Type 7 PC plastics in recycling bins

Make alternative choices

Use food-grade stainless steel water bottles or glass baby bottles instead

Minimize your use of canned foods. Eat more fresh, frozen or dried produce.

Look for products that are clearly labeled “BPA free” or “Bisphenol-A free”


Yet bisphenol A (BPA), a man-made chemical used in thousands of consumer

products to harden plastic, line tin cans, make CDs, and coat receipts, is a known

endocrine disruptor, which means it interferes with how hormones work in the body.

BPA has been linked to a range of adverse health effects including cancer, diabetes,

heart disease, early puberty, obesity, and behavioral problems.

Because of their smaller size and stage of development, babies and children are

particularly at risk from the harmful health effects of BPA. This is why I have

introduced legislation that would ban BPA from the products we use to feed babies

and children.

Right now, we do not know our daily exposure to BPA, or which products to avoid,

since BPA is not listed on food or drink labels. But we do know that this chemical is

so widespread that it has been detected in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans.

Some organizations claim that BPA has not been proven harmful, so they continue to

use it in the products we use every day. They’ll tell you not to worry, plastic bottles

couldn’t possibly hurt you. Moms and grandmothers like me know better. They

once told us it was OK to smoke cigarettes while you’re pregnant, too.

This bill is a simple step to begin combating this problem. Eight states have

already enacted laws banning BPA from children’s products, and many more are

on their way.

We should not use our kids as guinea pigs with a chemical that can seriously harm

their immediate and long-term health. No chemical should be used in food products

until it is proven to be safe.

I will continue to fight to ban BPA from the products we use every day. An overwhelming body of scientific evidence links BPA
to very serious health problems. More than 200 scientific studies link BPA exposure to breast and prostate cancer,
cardiac disease, diabetes, lowered sperm counts and early puberty
Early Puberty Journal of Periatrics Study – 2010

• Found that puberty in girls is occurring even earlier – by age 7

or 8.

• Researchers suspected that environmental chemicals, like BPA

could influence the onset of puberty.

• Found that early puberty can cause a host of problems later in

life, such as increased rates of breast cancer, lower self-esteem,

eating disorders and depression.

The Endocrine Society Study – 2009

• Expressed concern for adverse health impacts of endocrine disrupting

chemicals like BPA.

• Adverse health impacts include infertility, thyroid problems,

obesity and cancer.

Environmental Health Perspectives – 2010

• Found that men who had high levels of BPA in their bodies also

had higher levels of testosterone.

• This study demonstrated that higher BPA levels in the body are

associated with altered hormone levels.


Well-known and respected organizations and federal

agencies have also expressed concern about BPA:

The President’s Cancer Panel Annual Report released in April

2010 concluded that there is growing evidence of a link between BPA

and several diseases, such as cancer. The Panel recommended using

BPA-free containers to limit chemical exposure.

A 2008 study by the American Medical Association suggested links

between exposure to BPA and diabetes, heart disease and liver problems.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

(NHANES) linked BPA in high concentrations to cardiovascular disease

and Type II diabetes.


What is BPA?

• Bisphenol A is a synthetic chemical used to harden polycarbonate

plastics, line tin cans and coat receipt paper.

• BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means it interferes with

how hormones work in the body.

• This chemical is used in some plastic baby bottles, sippy cups,

food and infant formula containers.

Why is there cause for concern?

• BPA is so widespread that the chemical has been detected in the

bodies of 93 percent of Americans.

• Linked to breast and prostate cancer, brain and behavioral

disorders, early puberty, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

• Babies and children are particularly at risk because of their stage

of development.

What can I do?

• Buy products that are labeled “BPA-free.”

• When possible, buy glass.

• Use powdered formula.

• Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers.

• Support retailers that refuse to sell products containing BPA.

• Urge your state and federal legislators to pass legislation banning


Look for the Code

• Recycling codes stamped on some plastics can help

identify problematic chemicals.

• Avoid clear, hard plastic bottles marked with a 7.

• The number 7 can indicate the presence of BPA in polycarbonate

plastic food containers.

• Not all containers marked with the number 7 are polycarbonate




We may not know everything yet. But what we do know should spur us to urgent action. Early development appears to be
 the period of greatest sensitivity to the harmful effects of BPA, so why not ban this  potentially toxic chemical from children’s products?

This is why I have introduced legislation that would ban BPA from the

products we use to feed our babies and children.

The Ban Poisonous Additives Act:

• Bans the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups, baby food and

infant formula (largely because infants and children are the most

vulnerable to the harmful effects of BPA);

• Requires the FDA to issue a revised safety assessment on BPA;

• Includes a savings clause to allow states to enact stronger


Until BPA is proven to be absolutely harm-free to our kids, BPA needs to

be banned from plastic containers used for children.

Canada labeled BPA a toxic substance and banned it from baby bottles

and sippy cups. Denmark and France have national bans on BPA in

certain children’s products and the European Union has a ban on BPA in

baby bottles. The Chinese Ministry of Health has begun to take steps to

issue a ban.

In the United States, the following states have passed laws banning BPA:





New York






Why needlessly expose our babies and children to this potentially toxic chemical when there are safe, BPA-free alternatives available
 for baby bottles, sippy cups, baby food and infant formula packaging? Recognizing the potential harm, some manufacturers of children’s feeding
products have already started to offer BPA-free alternatives, and numerous retailers either offer BPA-free alternatives or have completely banned its use.

I’m not going to give up, and neither should consumers. Until Congress takes action, parents should vote with their pocketbooks by refusing to buy any baby bottle
or sippy cup that is not labeled “BPA-free.” The chemical industry doesn’t want you to know about companies that are already phasing out BPA or are
searching for alternatives. But those companies are out there and deserve our support.

At least 14 U.S. manufacturers of children’s products are phasing out BPA in baby bottles:


Klean Kanteen

Born Free


Disney First Years

Nuby Sippy Cups





Dr. Brown’s

Think Baby

Green to Grow

Weil Baby

Sunoco, a company that makes BPA, has said it would refuse to sell the chemical without a guarantee that it would not be used in children’s products.
 Eden Valley Organics now sells beans in BPA-free cans, and Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us no longer sell baby bottles containing the



U.S. Retailers that sell BPA-free baby bottles and cups:


• Kmart

• Kroger

• Rite Aid

• Safeway

• Sears

• Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us

• Wal-Mart

• Wegmans Foods

• Whole Foods

Major baby food and formula manufacturers offer BPAfree


• Nestle’s GOOD START and liquid formula

• Similac powdered and liquid infant formula

• Enfamil powdered infant formula



If you would like more information on this important issue, please visit

Senator Feinstein’s website at or contact these


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Environmental Working Group

Breast Cancer Fund

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

331 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC


So, now you know how things are most of the time run by those who take advantage of some situation.,

1          first, they avoid saying there is a problem, do not answer, deny it, of give a no comment answer.
2          then, when they can’t avoid the problem anymore, they relate it to another one, so that you are not concerned about it and or can’t do anything about it ( let’s say they put it right in the middle of the ocean !! ).

3          third, researchers founded with money coming from industry, look for non pertinent answers, and claim that there exist no problem. Money, founded by government, is usually spent, instead of private money,  to reach a no solution answer, and things stay as they are.

4          Independent searchers, start looking for publications of the results, and understanding that there is a problem, usually because of the way these scientist carried out the research and experiments. ( most of the time, even results, can’t be found anywhere, or have been misplaced in the office… etc… etc…

5          Thousands of searchers publish data about the problem, and finally, the organism that was ment to control the situation, has to deal with public opinion, politicians, technicians, scientists etc… and organizations like FDA are forced to change attitude.

6          Soon after, they will advice you not to….. but there is still no true concern or problem

7          Ultimately, they  make an agreement with the government that will give them time and money, to sell all their left over products ( most of the time in Europe, Asia and Africa for a longer time than the one agreed for, within their country ), that it is now time to do something imperatively, and ask the government money, money, money, to face the inevitable changes that will cost the procedure.


I hope it is clear. Avoid plastic, just in case, especially when food touches it, liquids, solids, and powders. Use glass instead, if you can. Tin cans are not good for you BECAUSE OF METAL PARTICLES POISENMENT. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases probably have something to do with them. Use glass instead, and pour oil, water and milk, into glass bottles as soon as you reach home. Oil melts pvc, and it is most of the time used as a solvent to recuperate and recycle, melting them, plastic bottles. Remember that every time something is recycled, more and more poisons are added to the next generations, ( phthalates, dioxins, and other substances made to create a better package, rather than taking care about food contamination. Inox is ok, but do not leave in it strong acids, like tomato sauce. Teflon, again another plastic substance banned because it is harmful, is bad for our health, and we shoud dispose of our frying pans that were made with it, as soon as possible, as we did with aluminum ones. Cans, are still the best example of Alu contamination products nowadays. Try to avoid them. Ask for glass every time you have the opportunity to chose. Do not sleep in a room where plastic objects are, so that you will not absorb phthalates during sleep time breathing. Contamination, is continuous, it does not matter how slowly it happens, and produces hormonal problems, cancer and genetic mutations in the cells. Cars are made of recycled plastics, so let the aeration inlets open, and if it is possible, do not shut completely windows. Aerate the car, especially in summer or hot weather, to avoid contaminants. Wood, glass, porcelain, and extremely hard materials, are usually better for food. The softer, the worst. It take just a couple of weeks to decide, and change mentality. The production of 5 different kinds of reusable and unbreakable bottles for fluids, would save the global community a lot of money. They would create no waste products, labels, could simply be made with soy, paper, and washed out immediately after their use. The color of the bottles should be transparent for water and alcohol, white for milk, brown for oils, green for wine, and blue for special liquids. Re usable containers, should be made of unbreakable Pyrex, and malls should serve portions, rather than sell packets.
No plastic should touch meat or fish, polystyrene should be banned immediately, even for frozen food boxes, and be sure that as soon as laws of this kind will be voted and pass, industry will change attitude straight away, if it does not want to lose its markets and money. The son has to teach his father how to behave in a world that is so changeable, that the static models of status quo, are obsolete. Now ecological laws should be passed in a dynamic society that wants to solve problem straight away, and the executive powers, should take care of the use some make of them, to limit too strongly freedom. Without a triple control organism, ( let’s say arbitrarily ) local groups could take control and male profit of them. Automatic towers, placed in every city, should collect and display environmental data, like temperatures, particulate values of dusts, and data collected on radioactivity, lead and arsenic in water, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind, etc… Too many times in fact false data have been used to legitimate the creation of new taxes, or generate repressive conducts made to make money, solely based on private interest. Regional taxes that have nothing to do with global environmental solutions, but rather, with provincial budget affairs, should be uniformed, and no game should be played with indetermination factors and non constitutional criteria, introduced to make it impossible for the people to know when they will be allowed or not to do something. Arbitrary criteria, generate confusion and displeasure. Equanimity, should be the motto, and a wealthier system of systems, would be produced consequentially, following these efforts. Variety is one of the gifts of nature, that enables it to face challenges, whatever change may be required to trespass given problems. That’s it! Let’s stop consuming all this Dino-sauce and move to water HHO fuels. And next time someone else comes up with a new model of water-car, let’s advice them not to buy it to hide it away in a safe, but to start producing it. Acting in this way, there will be no need to spoil water or privatize it, and we shall concentrate next, our efforts to find an equilibrated solution to greed, rather making money with another green affair.            


Jedi Simon