The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Alarming Level of Plastic in Children's Bodies, German Study Shows
By Wesley Rahn
Plastic byproducts were found in 97 percent of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017, according to a study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute.
The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel published the findings, which were part of a federal study focused on "human biomonitoring" of 3 to 17-year-olds. Traces from 11 out of 15 plastic ingredients were found in the test samples.
"Our study clearly shows that plastic ingredients, which are rising in production, are also showing up more and more in the body," Marike Kolossa-Gehring, one of the study's authors, told the magazine.
Toxic Clothes and Cookware?
Plastic from cleaning products, waterproof clothing, food packaging and cooking utensils frequently comes into direct contact with the body.
Although some of the chemicals studied pose no known health risk, researchers said that they were especially concerned about high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that were found in the study. PFOA is frequently used in non-stick cookware and in waterproof clothing.
According to the German Environment Ministry, the chemical is dangerous for the reproductive system and is toxic to the liver. The EU will ban the substance in 2020.
Plastic byproducts are also blamed for disrupting hormone function, which could lead to obesity, reproductive disorders, cancer and development delays in children.
Youngest Children Most Vulnerable
According to the research, younger children were reported to be the most affected by plastic ingestion. The study also showed children from poorer families had more plastic residue in their bodies than children from higher-income families, according to German public broadcaster ARD.
"It is very concerning that the youngest children, as the most sensitive group, are also the most affected," Kolossa-Gehring said.
"It can't be that every fourth child between three and five years old is so heavily burdened with chemicals that long-term damage cannot safely be ruled out," Green Party environmental health expert Bettina Hoffmann told Der Spiegel.
According to the magazine, the study has not yet been published, and the results were made available by the government upon request by a Green Party inquiry into the effects of chemicals on public health.
Hoffmann said that there has not been enough research on how plastic chemicals affect the body, and how they are ingested.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Deutsche Welle.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Pedro Biondi
Extinct in its habitat for at least three decades, the Alagoas curassow (Pauxi mitu) is now back in the jungle and facing a test of survival, thanks to the joint efforts of more than a dozen institutions to pull this pheasant-like bird back from the brink.
By Julia Conley
Sen. Elizabeth Warren expanded her vision for combating the climate crisis on Tuesday with the release of her Blue New Deal — a new component of the Green New Deal focusing on protecting and restoring the world's oceans after decades of pollution and industry-caused warming.
A judge in New York's Supreme Court sided with Exxon in a case that accused the fossil fuel giant of lying to investors about the true cost of the climate crisis. The judge did not absolve Exxon from its contribution to the climate crisis, but insisted that New York State failed to prove that the company intentionally defrauded investors, as NPR reported.
By Sharon Elber
You may have heard that giving a pet for Christmas is just a bad idea. Although many people believe this myth, according to the ASPCA, 86 percent of adopted pets given as gifts stay in their new homes. These success rates are actually slightly higher than average adoption/rehoming rates. So, if done well, giving an adopted pet as a Christmas gift can work out.
A Canadian seaplane operator on Tuesday successfully test flew the world's first all-electric commercial aircraft, in a three-minute flight it said had launched a new era of aviation.
By Eoin Higgins
The climate crisis is hurting the New England fishing industry, claims a new report published Monday, with a decline of 16% in fishing jobs in the northeastern U.S. region from 1996 to 2017 and more instability ahead.
Greta Thunberg is Time Magazine's Person of the Year, the magazine announced this morning.