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Humans Are Pooping Plastic, And No One’s Certain How Bad That Is

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Humans Are Pooping Plastic, And No One’s Certain How Bad That Is

There’s a frightening lack of research about plastic’s effects on human health.
 
 
When Philipp Schwabl asked eight healthy people on four continents to take part in an experiment to see if plastic was present in their bodies, he had little idea what to expect.
 

The Medical University of Vienna researcher, who specializes in stomach disorders, asked them to keep a food diary for a week and record whether they had drunk water from plastic bottles, what brands of toothpaste and cosmetics they had used, and whether they had chewed gum. None were vegetarian, all had consumed plastic-wrapped food and most had consumed fish.

 

They were then asked to send a piece of their stool to an Austrian government laboratory where it was tested to identify barely visible microplastic particles, which are smaller than 5 millimeters long.

 

The study, published in August, confirmed for the first time that microplastics are deep inside humans. All eight volunteers were found to have particles of most of the nine most common classes of plastics, including polypropylene and PET. On average, Schwabl found 20 particles per 10 grams of stool.

 

“I did not think all the samples would be positive,” Schwabl said. “There is data on microplastics being present in shrimps, fish, oysters and mussels, but there was a question over whether they were present in humans. It is highly likely that during various steps of food processing or as a result of packaging, food is being contaminated with plastics.”

 

“The smallest particles are capable of entering the bloodstream, the lymphatic system and may even reach the liver,” he added. “We need further research to understand what this may mean for human health.

 

A clutch of studies looking at large plastic fragments in oceans has recently shown the world’s most ubiquitous material to be present from the poles to the equator and to be a growing environmental hazard. Plastic in marine environments is now widely recognized to be a threat to many marine species.

 

The new awareness of plastic pollution is leading scientists to ask afresh how much the human body is being polluted.

 

Studies have found plastic fibers and fragments present throughout the food chain, in plankton and fish larvae, bottled and tap water, seafoods, honey and salt.

One analysis of 259 water bottles from 19 places in nine countries found an average of 325 plastic particles in every liter of water. One widely sold brand had concentrations of about 10,000 particles per liter, and only 17 of the 259 bottles contained water that was free of plastic.

 

Other research has shown plastic particles shed from degrading car tires present in the air we breathe in the street, in homes from the washing of synthetic clothes, and in the soil via sludge from water treatment works that is used as a fertilizer.

 

With global plastic production increasing from 16.5 million tons a year in the 1960s to over 364 million tons a year now and expected to triple by 2050, research is needed to gauge what effect growing human exposure to it may be having, say scientists.

“Plastic is non-degradable. It cannot be broken down and has the potential to persist in our bodies for a lifetime after exposure,” said Stephanie Wright, a researcher at University College London who specializes in microscopic plastic pollution.

 

Concern is growing that many man-made chemicals added to consumer plastics to give them qualities like stiffness or transparency may contain hormone-altering chemicals that have barely been tested. According to one study, detectable levels of bisphenol A, one of a group of toxic chemicals, have been found in the urine of 95 percent of the adult population of the U.S.

 

People working in the textile industry have been shown to develop lung disease after exposure to nylon (plastic) flock, said Wright. “Continuous daily interaction with plastic allows oral, dermal [skin] and inhalation exposure to chemical components. The potential for microplastics and nanoplastics so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye to cause harm to human health remains understudied,” she said.

 

Michael Warhurst, director of European chemical watchdog group CHEM Trust, has, with academics, identified over 4,000 chemicals potentially present in plastic packaging, of which 63 have been identified as dangerous to human health because of their potential to disrupt hormones.

 

“Many chemicals used in plastics have not been tested for their endocrine-disrupting effects,” Warhurst said. “Current test methods are not very good at identifying all of them.”

 

Some of the most common are bisphenols and phthalates, used in everything from food packaging and toys to floor tiles and water bottles. They have been connected to childhood obesity, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and even cancers.

Many countries have either banned bisphenol A or advised that it may be dangerous to children. The United States’ National Toxicology Program has “some concern” for bisphenol A’s effect on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children. It is still used widely in Europe.

 

But other bisphenols and phthalates are not banned and are used frequently in the production of consumer goods. Many, said Warhurst, may be similar or even more toxic than those banned.

 

“A lot of chemicals are very similar to known endocrine disruptors. When one gets banned, there are others behind it. Chemical companies are required to provide data but it’s not always comprehensive. There is no strict enforcement and companies can bring chemicals onto the market easily. More research is needed and much better control,” he said.

 

Other scientists have said the danger to human health, if any, may be in the smallest pieces, or nanoplastics. “Microplastics will not enter a cell, but nanoplastics are small enough to cross into cells and permeate the body,” said Anne Marie Mahon, a researcher at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Ireland. Her recent research found sludge in water treatment works full of microparticles.

 

“It’s possible that chemicals could be absorbed in our circulatory system or pass into our organs. But whether that is happening is unknown,” Mahon said.

 

In sufficient concentrations, chemicals can injure and kill cells in the human body, said Frank Kelly, chair of environmental health at King’s College London and one of Britain’s leading authorities on air pollution. He wrote with Stephanie Wright: “The cells may be replaced successfully or they may not. If inhaled or ingested, microplastics may accumulate and exert localized toxicity by inducing an immune response. ”

 

Their research is backed by Philipp Schwabl in Austria. “In animals, some microparticles have been found in the liver and embedded in tissue,” he said. “Depending on the amount, this could cause immune reactions. It’s possible that the minutest particles are in the human blood and tissue but it’s very hard to measure and we cannot prove it yet.”

 

“We urgently need more research,” he added.

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I wonder whether that has anything to do with the frequency of people who feel they are transgender.

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1 minute ago, laripu said:

I wonder whether that has anything to do with the frequency of people who feel they are transgender.

 

 

that is tv and schools.

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4 hours ago, LoreD said:

Concern is growing that many man-made chemicals added to consumer plastics to give them qualities like stiffness or transparency may contain hormone-altering chemicals that have barely been tested. According to one study, detectable levels of bisphenol A, one of a group of toxic chemicals, have been found in the urine of 95 percent of the adult population of the U.S.

Michael Warhurst, director of European chemical watchdog group CHEM Trust, has, with academics, identified over 4,000 chemicals potentially present in plastic packaging, of which 63 have been identified as dangerous to human health because of their potential to disrupt hormones.

 

“Many chemicals used in plastics have not been tested for their endocrine-disrupting effects,” Warhurst said. “Current test methods are not very good at identifying all of them.”

 

Some of the most common are bisphenols and phthalates, used in everything from food packaging and toys to floor tiles and water bottles. They have been connected to childhood obesity, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and even cancers.

Many countries have either banned bisphenol A or advised that it may be dangerous to children. The United States’ National Toxicology Program has “some concern” for bisphenol A’s effect on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children. It is still used widely in Europe.

 

Hormone altering, endocrine disrupting chemicals. (Sorry about the formatting. In using my phone and had some difficulty.)

 

21 minutes ago, jerra- said:

that is tv and schools.

 

I sincerely doubt it.

Changing attitudes to gender and sex issues doesn't change orientations. Increased instance of various orientations changes attitudes (either way: greater acceptance or greater condemnation, according to the character of the person with the attitude).

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6 hours ago, LoreD said:

Humans Are Pooping Plastic, And No One’s Certain How Bad That Is

 

Can't be good. 

 

There is a conflict:  Depending on the grade, to fit the use, plastics weigh much less than glass or metal.  If we switch to from plastics to glass or metal, fossil fuel consumption required for transport by air, land and sea, will go up exponentially, releasing that much more pollution and CO2.  Although plastics are synthesized from petroleum, they last much longer, on average than when the petroleum is simply burned for transportation.  And the amount of fossil fuel used in transit would far exceed the amount needed for making plastics.

 

Presumably, plastic containers for food, beverages and drugs pose more danger to humans than containers storing materials, not for consumption.  Neither are particles from plastic parts in everyday products likely to be directly ingested.  But all plastics, from one-time-use to durable goods, eventually end up in the land, air and water, contaminating every living thing.

 

Our modern, technologically supported lives of convenience and plenty puts us in the position of rapidly using up resources and creating waste and pollution.  In this case, it's a matter of "pick your poison".

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29 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

Can't be good. 

 

There is a conflict:  Depending on the grade, to fit the use, plastics weigh much less than glass or metal.  If we switch to from plastics to glass or metal, fossil fuel consumption required for transport by air, land and sea, will go up exponentially, releasing that much more pollution and CO2.  Although plastics are synthesized from petroleum, they last much longer, on average than when the petroleum is simply burned for transportation.  And the amount of fossil fuel used in transit would far exceed the amount needed for making plastics.

 

Presumably, plastic containers for food, beverages and drugs pose more danger to humans than containers storing materials, not for consumption.  Neither are particles from plastic parts in everyday products likely to be directly ingested.  But all plastics, from one-time-use to durable goods, eventually end up in the land, air and water, contaminating every living thing.

 

Our modern, technologically supported lives of convenience and plenty puts us in the position of rapidly using up resources and creating waste and pollution.  In this case, it's a matter of "pick your poison".

 

If possible, I will choose glass or metal.  For instance, I will choose the peanut butter in a glass container, rather than plastic.  

 

I think we need to return to deposits on glass pop bottles, which go back to the pop company.  I have been thinking about purchasing a soda stream, and adding juice.  I can squeeze my own lemons and limes.

 

I recently purchased reusable produce bags to replace the plastic bags.

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8 minutes ago, LoreD said:

 

If possible, I will choose glass or metal.  For instance, I will choose the peanut butter in a glass container, rather than plastic.  

 

I think we need to return to deposits on glass pop bottles, which go back to the pop company.  I have been thinking about purchasing a soda stream, and adding juice.  I can squeeze my own lemons and limes.

 

I recently purchased reusable produce bags to replace the plastic bags.

 

By choosing comestibles in glass or metal containers, we ingest less plastic.  And, collectively, we put pressure on producers to replace plastic containers with glass or metal ones.  Thereby increasing the amount of pollution inhaled and ingested by ourselves and our loved ones.  

 

Actions like reuse, recycling, preparing food from scratch and using durable produce bags are less ambiguous.  Many will forego environmentally sensible behavior, for convenience.

 

Barring legislation to the contrary, industry will surely use the most economical forms of storage, which often means plastic containers, where end-users are not involved.  And large intercontinental shipments, by container ship as well as most shipments by truck and rail, are between factories, warehouses and other storage facilities are probably far more voluminous than shipments to retail outlets.

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1 hour ago, bludog said:

By choosing comestibles in glass or metal containers, we ingest less plastic.

 

That's what I do whenever possible. Some things are only available in plastic.

 

Unlike many (perhaps most) homebrewers, I don't ferment in a food grade plastic bucket, but rather in a 6.5 gallon glass carboy. It's clumsier, and arguably more dangerous, but I dislike plastic on principle. I do use a plastic bucket for bottling, for technical reasons, but the contact is under an hour.

 

I retain glass bottles if they look useful. That way, if I buy a 1.75 plastic bottle of cheapo Canadian whiskey, I can transfer it into glass immediately.

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6 minutes ago, laripu said:

Unlike many (perhaps most) homebrewers, I don't ferment in a food grade plastic bucket, but rather in a 6.5 gallon glass carboy. It's clumsier, and arguably more dangerous, but I dislike plastic on principle. I do use a plastic bucket for bottling, for technical reasons, but the contact is under an hour.

 

These could be strong selling points for commercial spirits.  I shudder to think of that glass carboy breaking on our kitchen, tile floor. 

 

For better or worse, we use plastic containers by choice.  Both of us have bad backs.  I take an array of antioxidants in hopes of combatting the effects of harmful chemical additives.

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13 hours ago, bludog said:

I shudder to think of that glass carboy breaking on our kitchen, tile floor.

 

Yup, that's why I try to be very mentally present when I lift one.

 

I actually broke one, an empty one luckily, back in Canada around 1993. I had been cleaning them and they were standing around on the kitchen floor. I was turning around from the sink and my cat ran between my legs. I moved a leg to avoid him, and hit a carboy, which slid across the tile floor and hit a second one. The second one broke into three or four pieces. Very dangerous and I can't remember how I got rid of them. Probably garbage.

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4 hours ago, laripu said:

Very dangerous and I can't remember how I got rid of them

 

Absolute worse case scenario:  A full glass carboy falls off a counter onto a tile floor and shatters into hundreds of pieces.  But I'm guessing they stay on the floor the whole time?

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6 hours ago, bludog said:

Absolute worse case scenario:  A full glass carboy falls off a counter onto a tile floor and shatters into hundreds of pieces.  But I'm guessing they stay on the floor the whole time?

 

I'm not sure what you mean by the question.

But it would be insanely horrible, to the point where I don't like to think about it. Beside the glass, there'd be 6 gallons of sticky liquid everywhere. The cleanup would take hours and might cause injury. I would make my wife and dogs leave the house and scream at the cats if they came close.

 

The question would be how to sop up the liquid without hurting myself on the glass. Or how to get rid of the glass before sopping up the liquid.

 

I think I'd get a shovel from the garage and dump as much as I could into an old plastic bucket I keep around for emergencies. It holds 7.5 gallons.

 

Someone's horror story:  http://wouldbebrewmaster.blogspot.com/2017/05/dont-carboy-unprotected.html

 

IMGP2684.JPG.jpg

 

 

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1 hour ago, laripu said:

I'm not sure what you mean by the question.

 

I was trying to find out if you ever put the carboys up on a counter or if they stay on the floor all the time.

 

1 hour ago, laripu said:

But it would be insanely horrible, to the point where I don't like to think about it. Beside the glass, there'd be 6 gallons of sticky liquid everywhere. The cleanup would take hours and might cause injury. I would make my wife and dogs leave the house and scream at the cats if they came close.

 

The question would be how to sop up the liquid without hurting myself on the glass. Or how to get rid of the glass before sopping up the liquid.

 

I think I'd get a shovel from the garage and dump as much as I could into an old plastic bucket I keep around for emergencies. It holds 7.5 gallons.

 

Someone's horror story:  http://wouldbebrewmaster.blogspot.com/2017/05/dont-carboy-unprotected.html

 

Wow.  Using glass carboys is tricky, dangerous and labor-intensive.  Even when a standard water glass shatters on tile, it's almost impossible to get up all the near-invisible shards, which can dangerously persist,  for months or even years.  Even shattering an empty carboy would be a nightmare.  But a full one ...

 

These and other websites sell high-grade stainless steel containers up to 10  gallons.  They can be had seamless and with lids.

https://hambydairysupply.com/milk-processing-making-cheese-butter-yogur/home/stainless-steel-pails-misc-tools-equipment/

https://www.homesteadersupply.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=73_106

They're relatively expensive but a one-time purchase.  And of course, they don't break.

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1 hour ago, bludog said:

I was trying to find out if you ever put the carboys up on a counter or if they stay on the floor all the time.

 

They go on the counter when I sanitize them, and whenever water goes out they're on their side.

 

They're filled standing on a lift table (see below) with which I move them to a fridge. From the lift table to the fridge (almost the same height, about 6" off the ground) I transfer by hand, in my knees, about 1 foot over.  At bottling or siphoning, a carboy goes from the lift table to the counter, again almost the same height, again almost a foot over, by hand.

 

I bought the lift table on sale about 10 years ago, and it's saved my back over and over.

 

I've gotten really good at doing this, but I've often thought about getting something less dangerous.

image_24948.jpg

1 hour ago, bludog said:

These and other websites sell high-grade stainless steel containers up to 10  gallons.  They can be had seamless and with lids.

https://hambydairysupply.com/milk-processing-making-cheese-butter-yogur/home/stainless-steel-pails-misc-tools-equipment/

https://www.homesteadersupply.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=73_106

They're relatively expensive but a one-time purchase.  And of course, they don't break.

 

Money isn't the issue. How easy they are to sanitize will be one deciding factor. Another is whether they can be made airtight except for an airlock.

 

Airlocks allow CO2 out, but make it nearly impossible for bacteria to get in.

 

The 10 gallon ones for $169 would be good if they can fit in my small fermenting fridge, and if they can be made airtight (maybe with a gasket). I can always drill a hole to accommodate an airlock. I like the handles. They'd be good for primary fermentation, but I'd still need glass carboys for aging.

 

I'll look into it some more. Thanks for the info. 

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1 hour ago, laripu said:

How easy they are to sanitize will be one deciding factor. Another is whether they can be made airtight except for an airlock.

 

Here's one especially made for fermentation   https://www.ssbrewtech.com/products/brewbucket

 

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12 hours ago, bludog said:

 

Here's one especially made for fermentation   https://www.ssbrewtech.com/products/brewbucket

 
And here's an article on the seven best fermenters for home brewers.    https://www.brewcabin.com/conical-fermenters/
Plus they even publish a news letter.
 
I like looking this stuff up.:)

 

I know about all these. They're really hard to sanitize in a kitchen, on a counter. That's where I brew.

They're also a lot heavier than glass. I've met people that bought one, then sold it and went back to glass.

 

Companies that sell brewing stuff send me catalogs. I've also seen this in my local homebrew shop. Plus I hear of new developments in the UK via some internet sources. Also, I get Zymurgy, a magazine devoted to homebrew since 1991.

 

I've been homebrewing this since late 1990...  The best thing I ever bought was the lift table. It makes everything less heavy and less dangerous.

 

Zymurgy_JF2014_800x.jpg?v=1505161722

 

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Wow, did this ever get off topic from poo to home brewing beer.

 

Poo happens, I guess.☺️

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2 minutes ago, laripu said:

I know about all these. They're really hard to sanitize in a kitchen, on a counter. That's where I brew.

They're also a lot heavier than glass. I've met people that bought one, then sold it and went back to glass.

 

Very interesting.   There's nothing like experience to avoid pitfalls.   That lift table looks high quality.  Thanks for the pics.  They explain a lot.

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ihaterepublicans -  Notice, your posts are gone.  You received a warning once before for posting in the LO Rm.  This is your last warning before another suspension.  Stick to No Holds Barred and you'll be OK.

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Just now, ihaterepublicans said:

What exactly did I do wrong? I dont remember posting anything that could be pro-republican and in fact all of my posts are incredibly anti-republican and are about why I hate Israel.

 

No Liberal would advocate the obliteration of ANY people or nation by nukes or any other means.  Please keep out of the LO Rm.   You are welcome in No Holds Barred.

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2 minutes ago, ihaterepublicans said:

Im not saying we should kill them by nuking them, rather with gas chambers

 

This is your last warning.  One more post in LO and you will receive a nice little vacation, courtesy of Yours Truly.

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ihaterepublicans is taking a nice vacation from posting.  His posts in LO are gone.

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