Richard Drew (AP Images)
Plastics are colorful, shiny, and flexible. They can also be sturdy, monochrome, and opaque. They come in different shapes and sizes, too. In fact, we’ve become so good at creating and molding plastics into whatever we want them to be that author Susan Freinkel says: it’s hard to imagine a world without them. In her book, , Freinkel chronicles the history of plastics and explores how, for better or worse, the material shapes our lives.
- Sanitary equipment, IV bags, disposable syringes, and fine tubes are all partly or fully made from plastic. Freinkel says that plastics have revolutionized modern medicine, and have helped physicians and nurses save millions of lives over the last few decades.
- Not all plastics are the same, and some, Freinkel warns, can be hazardous to our health. We’re all walking around with trace amounts of plastic chemicals in our bodies. Some synthetic materials may act as , and interfere with our hormones.
- According to Freinkel, avoiding plastics is impossible, but special care should be taken by vulnerable parts of the population, including young children and pregnant women, when it comes to .
- Plastics may not be edible, but , they somehow make their way into our guts.
- As the backlash against plastic grows, that manufacturers are exploring and inventing alternative materials.
- How useful are plastic straw bans? .