Accidental discoveries have literally ‘shaped and saved’ humanity since centuries. Many of the biggest scientific developments could be traced to accidental findings in laboratories or experiments that were perhaps designed for entirely different reasons. While plastic itself was one that has unfortunately now become one of the biggest catastrophic inventions, another accidental finding has revealed something that throws a completely new light on the adversity of plastic. Why is this so significant? Well, the discovery has thrown away a global misconception and has the potential to direct the world to apply brakes on the mass misuse of plastic. An in-depth account of the same would help comprehend more!
BPA-Free Plastic! Really? How many times have you heard the term—BPA-free plastic? How many times did you walk away with a plastic item carefree, knowing that it’s totally safe because it’s BPA free? Well, ever since BPA was found out to cause irreversible and drastic adversities to human health as an endocrine disruptor or hormonal disruption compound, much awareness was raised against the compound. Organizations like FDA officially banned them too. As a result, manufacturers were forced to recede from putting BPA in plastics, coining the term—BPA free plastic, as a token that what they were producing was truly safe! But this is no less than a blunder and a mis-information. Why? An accidental result from an experiment revealed it all.
The Truth is Revealed! In a lab of Washington State University, an experiment was being conducted to study the reproductive effects on mice due to BPA exposure. The mice were segregated in two groups—Test and Control—and kept in BPA free plastic cages. The test group received small dosages of BPA and the control group didn’t! However, after careful examination for a prolonged period of time, what was revealed was absolutely startling!
The researches, much to their dismay and confusion, noted that the control group—the lot that didn’t receive BPA doses—were showing genetic changes almost similar to the test group that had received the BPA doses. After careful extrapolation and further study, the real reason was unveiled. They found out that the plastic cage had been leaching another Bisphenol Chemical, BPS, a brother compound of the ill-famed BPA that caused all the mess.
A Deceit Simply Unforgivable! This directly revealed the reality that is today’s plastic manufacturing industry. BPA had been the wonder agent in creating hard plastics known as polycarbonates. Manufacturers had been using it to create almost every known usable plastic item—bottles, plates, cups, dental sealants, and much more. But post the mass awareness and regulatory bans against the effects of BPA, manufacturers slowly moved on to using compounds of the same Bisphenol (BP) category to escape the eye of government regulations. Within some years, numerous chemical ‘mirror compounds’ of BPA—BPS, BPF, BPAF, BPZ, BPP, and many more entered the plastic manufacturing industry. It was almost like shifting a blue background of an ad to a yellow one, just to escape copyright infringement. Unfortunately, ‘BPA-free plastic’ only had a horde of chemicals that were just chemical reflections of the original compound, and more or less equally hazardous!
The mindless act of plastic manufacturing companies has put the whole world into a global health danger. The sheer number of chemical alternatives of BPA has made researchers and scientists to falter in even tracking the same, let alone understand in detail all the hazards each of those mirror compounds can cause. Multiple research organizations are conducting numerous researches to find out the effects of each of these chemicals and what they can cause in low, medium, and high dosages, and to what degree! To sum up, this highlights directly the degree of evil plastic is and how by embracing this item in almost everything we use, we are destroying everything we now—both us and the planet.
Is there a Way Out? This exemplifies the need for much more stringent laws and regulations not just one compound at a time, but against a whole class of compounds with seemingly the same hazard potential. But, awareness against plastic or plastic pollution doesn’t need waiting for a full-fledged ban against the manufacturing of such plastics or taking action against these deceptive activities of global plastic manufacturers. You can start your own bit by tuning your habits, to escape the ill-effects of the Bisphenol compounds. Some measures you could take are to dispose old plastic items, not use plastic microwave containers, not keeping plastic items in high temperature locations, etc, to avoid the leaching effects. But the best and the permanent solution is to uproot your addiction against plastic and use complete alternatives like steel bottles, aluminium cans, glass bottles etc. This is just a simple action to save yourself and everyone you ever held dear!
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