EndPlasticSoup was present at the 2nd Plastic Health Summit, 21st October 2021. Scientists from all over the world presented the results of two years of research on the impact of plastic pollution on our health. Lawyers, politicians and entrepreneurs presented their view on required legislation to reduce plastic pollution.
Summary, what did we learn?
- We have less than 10 years to change our ways drastically! A lot needs to be taken care of when it comes to plastic and human rights, human health & the future of our generations to come & our planet.
- 95 additives in plastics are poisonous however still little is known about the dangers. We now do know additives impact our hormone system (‘Endocrine Disruption’), impact the unborn child and reduce fertility among males and females.
- New measurement techniques show that previous measurements gave a false indication: it now turns out that the impact of additives is 3-4 times higher and the safety limits of legislation seems not to be adequate.
- Research continues to proof the impact on humans, while evidence for animals (mice, pigs, chickens and earth worms) has already proven the negative impacts on fertility. Early indications of the correlation with lung diseases, diabetes and breast cancer are still being validated and have resulted in additional research studies currently in progress with results and evidence expected in the next 2 years.
Scientists have showed that NOW is the time for action
All together the alarming indications are so tremendous that we cannot afford to wait till everything has been investigated and proven. We need to act now, reducing plastic use, eliminating microplastics and avoiding plastic waste in our environment.
During the day, various topics that reflect the danger of plastic pollution on our health were discussed.
Endocrine Disruption, disruption of our hormone system
Prof. Dr. Terrence J. Collins, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
We should all become aware of the impact on our hormone systems, extend the research and reduce plastics.Microplastics are in our blood, we eat and breathe plastics. Very few chemicals have been tested for their potential to interfere with the endocrine system.
What is endocrine disruption?
Endocrine disruption is the exposure to chemicals that can interfere with the hormone systems. These effects can include developmental malformations, interference with reproduction, • increased cancer risk and disturbances in the immune and nervous system function.
More presentations by Prof. Dr. Terrence J. Collins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj7yG6zNbf0
Prof. Dr. Patricia Hunt is the Meyer Distinguished Professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University.
We now know microplastics can pass the placenta and reach the developing baby. Microplastics and the additives impact fertility among males and females. Between 1977 and 2011 the fertility of boys has been reduced by 50%, although the cause is not known. Research among animals show that with a large exposure to microplastics the fertility of female animals reduces by 50%. The eggs of the unborn are already affected during pregnancy causing a trans-generational impact.
Hidden danger of burning plastic in fires
Prof. Dr. Susan Shaw, Founder & President of the Shaw Institute
In her lecture Susan Shaw warnes for the danger of burning plastic on our health. Her examples:
- Plastic burning is the number one cause for cancer among firemen.
- Heat waves cause fires that also burn down houses and towns and the plastic burning causes a lot of air pollution.
- Across the world plastic waste ends up in landfills, in rivers and seas. Young children work at these landfills, burn the plastic and will die at an early age as a result of pollution.
Susan Shaw was also speaker on the first Plastic Health Summit in 2019. Her presentation in 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DktdVr3MTic
Several speakers discussed subjects on environmental justice.
Legislation not only in the EU but worldwide
Hugo Schally, European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment
We need a legally binding agreement on plastic. Governments and industry need to work together to manage this globally. The Green deal in the EU is a good example to reduce plastic in the next years but the EU need to extend the legislation and all other countries need to take measures as well.
ECOCIDE the fifth crime for the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Jojo Mehta, Executive director Stop Ecocide International
A new ECOCIDE international law is being prepared, hopefully to be accepted in two years by the UN. This new law makes crimes against our environment punishable for the International community. This will have a large prevention effect on big polluting companies.
What is ECOCIDE?
ECOCIDE is mass damage and destruction of ecosystems, severe harm to nature which is widespread or long-term.
More information: https://www.stopecocide.earth
We only have 10 years ….
At the end of the summit Charles Moore called upon the world to act Now! We only have 10 years ….
Captain Charles Moore is the Oceanographer who first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He started warning about the danger of plastic pollution many years ago.
Next summit more results of research
The impact of plastic dust on our health is now being investigated in the clothing industry in India, warehouses in Europe and indoor sporting facilities in Norway.