WASHINGTON, DC – A new report from the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) examines the health impacts associated with plastics at every stage of their supply chain and lifecycle, and concludes that there is an immediate need to adopt a precautionary approach to protect humanity from the plastic pollution crisis.

Key findings from the report include that:

  • Plastics pose distinct risks to human health at every stage of their lifecycle, arising from harmful chemicals released during raw material extraction and manufacturing, exposure to chemical additives during use, and the pollution of the environment and our food that can result as plastics enter the waste stream.  
  • Microplastic particles, such as fragments and fibers, can enter the body through contact, ingestion, or inhalation, and may be contributing to a wide range of health impacts as a result of their small size and ability to penetrate tissues and cells, and as a consequence of the complex burdens of the chemicals they can carry.
  • Uncertainties and knowledge gaps, including an extreme lack of transparency, undermine the full assessment of health impacts, and prevent consumers, communities, and regulators from making informed decisions.

In response to the CIEL report findings, Sarah King, Greenpeace Canada’s Head of Oceans & Plastics campaign said:

“Politicians and corporate polluters have been ignoring the negative impacts of plastic on human health for far too long, maintaining the status quo and risking our health for the sake of profits. Plastic might be cheap, but we now know the true cost of it. It’s not just our oceans and marine animals that are suffering from the plastic pollution crisis, it’s all of us. For the sake of our health, knowing what we now know, we must adopt a precautionary principle and phase out these throwaway plastics for good. Corporations must reduce the production of throwaway plastics immediately and begin to move toward systems of refill and reuse. The health risk of the plastic pollution crisis must be at the forefront of all decisions on plastics moving forward.”

To read the entire report, please click here: https://www.ciel.org/plasticandhealth/

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For more information, please contact:

Philippa Duchastel de Montrouge, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada, pduchast@greenpeace.org, +1 (514) 929-8227