Reporting in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, more than 60 scientists found the following: Chemicals added to plastics are increasingly absorbed by humans, altering hormones and affecting fetal development and other physiological processes; millions of tons of plastic debris are ingested by hundreds of animal and fish species, clogging their digestive systems and infusing their systems with chemicals; floating plastic debris can last thousands of years in oceans and transport invasive species; plastic in landfills leaches harmful chemicals into groundwater; and 8 percent of world oil production goes into manufacturing plastics.
“One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics,” the paper said.
The researchers did say that the ill-effects of plastic can be reduced in the future with the invention of biodegradable and less harmful forms of plastic and with greatly improved systems of plastic recycling.
This article originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 at http://e360.yale.edu
[photo credit: meerar]