Medical Musings: Are plastics poison?


Last Sunday an English newspaper ran a story with this headline: "Poisoned by plastic: Chemicals in water bottles and food packaging have been linked to infertility and birth defects. Scaremongering, or the truth?"

The article quotes a few people who are clearing plastics out of their lives because of reported health threats. It contains this odd statement: "If you see plastic that is soft and pliable, then it is because of phthalates. Have you ever noticed how a re-used water bottle becomes brittle over time? That is because the phthalates have leached out of it--and you have drunk them."

Well, that's scaremongering.

Plastics, of course, can be made flexible through a variety of technologies. Elastomers softened with rubber block components are replacing polyvinyl chloride in some medical tubing and intravenous bag applications, for example. And most water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate--not PVC....
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