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Plastic and Antimony: An Anti-life Story

Plastic bottles and every plastic item that we use are extremely harmful for our, animal lives and have drastic environmental effects. In essence, plastic pollution or plastic bottle pollution has its grip and reach at almost every segment of the planet- its soil, air, water, and the complete biome. These are lines we can see every day if we care to surf the internet even a little bit on the menace plastic is. But the inquisitive souls we are, the question might not escape that why all this fuss? Why are plastics exactly harmful? What are its constituents and why do they pose the level of harm that requires such a mass awareness all over the globe? After all why plastic bottles exactly are agents of pollution? Having gone through the hazardous impact of microbeads or microplastics in the last section, let’s now dive deeper into the heart of the element the plastic is and demystify one aspect of its seemingly limitless notoriety.

Antimony Antimony, as we know, is a white metallic element sitting at one safe corner of the periodic table, without any definite proof of causing harm to lives and the environment. However, things take a complete drastic turn as we eye towards antimony-related compounds such as its oxides and chlorides. Antimony related compounds when inhaled or consumed in small dosage amounts can lead to nausea, dizziness, depressions, and more. If consumed in larger amounts, this can lead to severe acute and chronic health effects. For instance, antimony chlorides are corrosive to the skin and poorly soluble antimony dust particles when inhaled can lead to impaired lung clearance, lung overload, inflammation, and much more. Well, all these dwarf when we take a look at the compound, Antimony Trioxide. Extensive research has revealed that the compound is a highly potential carcinogen or a cancer-causing agent; putting in simple words, death personified.

So where does all these add up? What’s Antimony Trioxide  got to do with the seemingly harmless, innocent looking plastic bottle that you are holding in your hand, may be just now while reading this article??

The Leaching Effect It might come as a jaw-dropping surprise but this is unfortunately true. Antimony Trioxide is commonly used as a catalyst in the manufacturing if PET bottles, the plastic bottles that we have been using for so long and are continuing to use umpteen times each day. After manufacturing, tests have revealed that a significant amount of the compound persists in the bottle. While in standard conditions for a brand new bottle, things might be just on the wire, the scenario quite changes if the bottle is exposed to even slightly high temperatures. Antimony Trioxide present on the surface of the bottle starts leaching inside and mixes with the stored constituents of the bottle like water or other drinks. What’s even more startling? If present for a certain amount of time, the compound leaches on its own into the water or liquid stored inside, hence making the constituent literally unsafe and unfit for drinking. Well, this is not quite limited to the plastic bottles. Every bit of plastic we use as a storage material like for boiling and microwaving releases significant amounts of antimony trioxide into the stored food/water and degrades them to a potential cancer causing agent. As we continue with our habit of plastic overuse in our daily chores and the compound accumulates in our bodies over the years,we are unknowingly inviting cancer and eventual death for ourselves and our family.

Solution Ahead As we have always presented, charity begins at our home. Hence the first step towards any solution is awareness. We need to understand that PET bottles are manufactured only to satisfy the demands of the common masses. As we become more and more aware and raise voice together against plastic bottles and plastic bottle pollution, manufactures, leading organizations, and governments will be bound to respond and ban the usage of the same. To complement the above fact, if you search of alternatives against plastic bottles, there are lots in the market like glass bottles, steel containers, and more. So, we need to start being aware and stop using plastic to prevent an untimely death for ourselves, our families, and mankind.

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