At least 4,000 dangerous chemicals hidden in our everyday objects!

In 2023, a United Nations report mentioned the presence of some 13,000 chemicals in everyday plastics. According to a new study, there are actually at least 16,000, with 4,000 identified as potentially dangerous to our health or the environment.

Researchers commissioned by the Norwegian Research Council spent an entire year reviewing studies and databasesdatabases regulator. Today they publish a comprehensive and uncompromising report on the chemistrychemistry of the plasticthe plastic. While the United Nations (UN) cited the figure of 13,000 last year, they have in fact identified as many as 16,000 chemicals in the plastics we use every day. Including some 4,200 that are known to be potentially dangerous, at least “about” for our health! Figures “shocking” according to the researchers.

Microplastics enter our body and travel to our blood! Deciphered with Julie Kern in La Santé sur Listen. © Futura

Remember that every year, humanity produces around 400 million tons of plastic waste. Waste found everywhere: on the ground, in theairair and in water, in the form of micro or nanoplastics that can be ingested or inhaled. And the chemicals they contain can alter our endocrine systemendocrine systemcause Congenital malformationsCongenital malformations or even cause the appearance of cancers.

The risks of exposure to these dangerous chemical compounds

Before continuing, please clarify “about”the authors of the report “State of the science on plastic chemicals” hear “persistent, bioaccumulative, mobilemobile and/or toxic ». Hence the protest from the plastics industry, which considers that said report establishes “an incomplete image and ignores actual exposures”. And it’s true that it takes a precautionary approach based solely on the dangers. It does not take into account the probability of being exposed to it. Which could help see things more clearly, specialists acknowledge.

That said, the report still identifies 15 chemical groups of concern rated as priorities. Among them, the famous bisphenols or even phthalatesphthalates that affect animal reproduction. The same is true for per- and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS), which are known to be permanent chemicals. Because they decompose very slowly. They have also been associated with reproductive and developmental problems and an increased risk of cancercancer.

Regulation to review

The problem is that of all these chemicals of concern used in the formulation of plastics, only 6% are currently subject to regulation. For this reason, the researchers ask, on the one hand, to work on texts that impose stricter use of at least the 15 priority groups they have identified. And on the other hand, more than transparencytransparency from the manufacturers.

Did you know?

Among the demands of scientists, the obligation for plastic industries to provide toxicity data on the chemicals used in the future before being authorized to market plastics.

The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) is already developing a database of plastic additives. And launched an assessment of the associated risks. To make it more complete, new scientific studies will be necessary, based on better analysis techniques.

The ambition of United Nations Environment ProgramUnited Nations Environment Program, the aim is to achieve, despite the reluctance of some petrochemical states, to develop a global treaty on the production of plastics and the management of their waste with 175 countries before the end of this year. And scientists are demanding that a list of plastics and chemicals of concern be included.

According to the authors of the report “State of the science on plastic chemicals”At the moment, there is still a lack of information on the dangers of more than 10,000 chemicals contained in plastics. It is still unclear what plastics more than 9,000 of these products are used in.

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