Having talked a lot on the ill-effects of plastic items, or plastic bottle pollution for that matter, it’s time now to reveal some real-world facts or studies that would enforce the claim made in different anti-plastic campaigns or informative documents on this evil substance. To cut short to the point instead of hovering around, a research conducted by an eminent group of scholars and scientists throws light on the exact hazardous potential of PET bottles as a host of carcinogens. The following paragraphs provide an interesting, summarized account of the study. For detailed overview, you can find the report at the health hazards section of our plastic menace website.
A Research Overview The process was carried out in collaboration with different departments at the University of Naples in Italy, by a group comprising the scholars— D. Biscardi, S. Monarca, R. De Fusco, F. Senatore, P. Poli, A. Buschini, C. Rossi, and C. Zani. The complete study was published under the name— Evaluation of the migration of mutagens/carcinogens from PET bottles into mineral water by Tradescantia/micro nuclei test, Comet assay on leukocytes and GC/MS. Needless to mention, the research caused a stir within the scientific committee and added comprehensive evidence on the claims made by anti-plastic activists on the carcinogenic impact of plastic bottles, one of the most common pieces of plastic in our daily usage.
Knocking the Theory Doors The group was banking on a very simple fact—PET bottles have been found to consist of mutagenic and carcinogenic substances on its surface like heavy metals, phthalates, endocrine disruptors, and much more. Upon prolonged storage of liquids such as water, even in normal temperatures, this substance leach into the liquids and contaminates them! Through efficient mutagenecity and carcinogenicity tests, the study aimed to pinpoint the substances’ presence in the liquid.
A Walk through the Process The research group, hence, utilized several tests to reveal the presence of carcinogenic compounds in liquids (mineral water for instance) that are stored for long in PET bottles—plant mutagenecity test that reveals micro nuclei formation in Tradescantia pollen cells, a DNA Damage assay on human leukocytes, and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for characterising the migrants or the revealed chemicals.
The procedure was undertaken in coordination with a bottling plant. Water samples were collected that were stored in PET bottles from 1 to 12 months, and each such sample was kept under utmost supervision. Every month some samples were collected and after application of required laboratory chemicals, laboratory processing, the results were duly noted.
Reality Revealed: Results What got revealed was stunning! Micronuclei increase in pollen was discovered in mineral water samples stored for 2 months, suggest presence of the hazardous substances. Moreover, DNA-damaging activity was revealed in many of the natural and carbonated water samples and also in distributed spring water, suggesting a possible contamination of genotoxins through water pipelines. GC/MS analysis showed the presence in mineral water of DEHP, a nongenotoxic hepatocarcinogenic plasticizer, after 9 months of storage in PET bottles.
Well, how to interpret these results? Obviously, the tests showed positive results of the presence of mutagens (DNA damaging) and carcinogens, if you could possibly correlate that DNA manipulation gives a high chance of transforming normal cells to oncogenic ones, thereby raising the possibility of cancer. Moreover, it’s also widely known that DEHP is a heavily carcinogenic substance and mere long storage of water in plastic bottles showed its presence. The research also revealed that harmful toxins from nearby plastic pipelines have also leached into the water that raises the question on this entire use-cycle of substances stored in plastic like mineral water.
What does this mean for us? Well, this is not the only research. Though this study directly validates the presence of these carcinogens and mutagens, numerous examinations in different countries around the world have shown seemingly similar results! The need to comprehend the harm that we are doing to us, our future generations is all the more pronounced from these researches, highlighting the further necessity to take an immediate action after being aware.
Awareness about the effect of plastic bottles on the environment can only take you half way to the required aim, but its action which does the final strike. What we envision through this article is to plant that seed of awareness against a mass destruction agent and what you need to do is to comprehend and finally take an action. Let’s be plastic free, let’s prolong and ‘health-ify’ life of humanity and the planet.
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