For Immediate Release
Amanda Kistler, Communications Director, CIEL: +1.202.742.5832, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Report Reveals Plastic Threatens Human Health on a Global Scale
WASHINGTON - A new report released today reveals that plastic is a human health crisis hiding in plain sight. Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, authored by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Earthworks, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), IPEN, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.), University of Exeter, and UPSTREAM, brings together research that exposes the distinct toxic risks plastic poses to human health at every stage of the plastic lifecycle, from extraction of fossil fuels, to consumer use, to disposal and beyond.
- Extraction and transportation of fossil feedstocks for plastic, which releases an array of toxic substances into the air and water, including those with known health impacts like cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and impairment of the immune system;
- Refining and production of plastic resins and additives, which releases carcinogenic and other highly toxic substances into the air, with effects including impairment of the nervous system, reproductive and developmental problems, cancer, leukemia, and genetic impacts like low birth weight;
- Consumer products and packaging, which can lead to ingestion and/or inhalation of microplastic particles and hundreds of toxic substances;
- Plastic waste management, especially “waste-to-energy” and other forms of incineration, releases toxic substances including heavy metals such as lead and mercury, acid gases and particulate matter, which can enter air, water, and soil causing both direct and indirect health risks for workers and nearby communities;
- Fragmenting and microplastics, which enter the human body directly and lead to an array of health impacts (including inflammation, genotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and necrosis) that are linked to negative health outcomes ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer and autoimmune conditions;
- Cascading exposure as plastic degrades, which further leach toxic chemicals concentrated in plastic into the environment and human bodies; and
- Ongoing environmental exposures as plastic contaminates and accumulates in food chains through agricultural soils, terrestrial and aquatic food chains, and the water supply, creating new opportunities for human exposure.
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Since 1989, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has worked to strengthen and use international law and institutions to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society.