The U.S. produced 28 million tons of plastic waste in 2005 -- 27 million tons of which ended up in landfills. Our food and water come wrapped in plastic. It's used in our phones and our computers, the cars we drive and the planes we ride in. But the infinitely adaptable substance has its dark side. Environmentalists fret about the petroleum needed to make it. Parents worry about the possibility of toxic chemicals making their way from household plastic into children's bloodstreams.The article suggests that the public "avoid plastic bottles and toys labeled with the numbers 3 or 7, which often contain BPA or phthalates, and steer clear of vinyl shower curtains and canned foods -- especially those with acidic contents like tomatoes." Plastics News readers aren't going to find anything new in Time's report, but it's interesting to see how it boils down some pretty complicated issues into a one-sided report that will probably unnecessarily scare some readers. I expect to see reporting like this on TV, but not from a news magazine.
Time discovers the 'truth' about plastics
Time magazine's Web site posted a story yesterday that I'm really surprised to see from a magazine with such a solid reputation. Basically it combines a couple of different plastics-related issues -- BPA, phthalates and marine debris -- into a story that casts a shadow over all plastics. And even though it devotes nearly 1,000 words to the story, there's no hint of any industry response. Here's a taste of the story, which has the headline "The Truth about Plastic":
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