Risk Of Plastics Essay

2230 words - 9 pages

There has been a scientific and civil debate about whether plastics have any risk in the development and welfare of human beings. With the wide-spread use of plastics in our homes, consumer electronics, and importantly our foods, it is justified to understand more about the potential effects these synthetic materials have on the body. As robust and sturdy as they may seem, the chances of some plastics, or their derivative by-products, entering our system, through contact or ingestion, is common enough to warrant some study to answer these questions. Studies have shown that three organic compounds, bisphenol A, estradiol, and ethinylestradio, can be commonly found in landfill leachates[1], theorized to originate from the decomposition of plastics. The most significant compound to be considered is bisphenol A (BPA) because it is commonly found in the manufacturing of polycarbonates, and is known to mimic the functions of estrogen in endocrine systems, binding to the same hormonal response receptors. Through common usage and disposal, exposure to BPA is found where plastics are found, passing in our bodies either indirectly through products or directly from the water supply contaminated by leachates[2]. However, with a high chance of exposure to BPA known in our environment, should citizens be cautious? Is there significant evidence to support the claim that BPA causes any adverse effects on human health, even at low concentrations?

Studies involving various animals seem to indicate that there may be a scientific basis on proving the risks of BPA on the physiology of several animals. Bear in mind, however, that these studies only provide an argument towards the biological significance of BPA. They do not give any factual correlation between human health and BPA. The studies may infer towards the potential risk on humans, but to infer a specific conclusion, given the data on a different species, would be inappropriate. Studies done on animals can only infer conclusions based on the animal observed and cannot be extrapolated to any other species. Two different animals react to the same substance differently because they have different physiology and biochemistry. To truly gain any significant evidence for the argument against BPA on human health, studies must be done on humans to observe various aspects of health and development under the exposure to BPA. Evaluating the risk of BPA on human health then focuses on studies that address whether it poisons the body, promotes the occurrence of cancer, or induces any physiological conditions in fully developed adults and individuals in the process of developing, specifically infants and prenatal fetuses. Once observing the each of the 4 conditions for neutral or adverse responses, we can assess if the majority of the conditions are satisfied to classify either dangerous or not.

BPA fits the toxic profile if there is connection between acute physiological damage/biochemical...

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