The Danger of Burning Plastic

Burning Plastics

Burning plastic releases carbon monoxide, dioxins & furans the most toxic chemicals known to science, remove microplastics from your tap water and stop buying plastic bottles immediately.


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The "convenience" of plastics in our fast paced lives is to the detriment of our health. The recent study published in the Guardian revealed billions of people globally are drinking tap water contaminated by plastic particles, with 83% of samples found to be polluted! This has me question; where is it from? The answer is, in part, it comes from burning it. The current disgraceful short-sighted move here in Ireland to weigh the rubbish is certainly not the answer. This only creates a burn it to save money mentality.

The scale of global microplastic contamination is staggering!

Not only is it in our tap water, it is even found in well water. It is washed into the sea, sequentially sucked up into the clouds and rained into our water tables. This is officially The Plastic Age. In Germany plastic fibres & fragments were found in all 24 beer brands tested, as well as in honey & sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits 3 to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year, & that it was also present in the air in people’s homes. 

Dioxins & furans: The most toxic chemicals known to science

When plastic such as PVC (polyvinylchloride (common in bottles, plastic packaging and blister packs, etc) are burnt in your house, carbon monoxide, dioxins and furans are released into your air. Carbon monoxide is a well known poison; dioxins and furans aren’t. Dioxins &furans are the most toxic chemicals known to science and are the most serious public health threat. There is no "safe" level of exposure to dioxin or furans. The Environmental Protection Authority EPA confirmed that Dioxins & furans are a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning that they are known to cause cancer. All increases in cancer can be attributed to increased dioxin and furan exposure.

Dioxin & furan exposure is linked to birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels & more.

Burning plastic alters hormonal imbalance & sex behavioural orientation.

Plastic in known as an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDCs) & burning it realises it into our air & water. It is common knowledge that reproductive & developmental abnormalities linked to EDC endocrine-disrupting chemicals exposures have now been documented in birds, frogs, seals, polar bears, marine mollusks, & other wildlife species. Chemicals associated with endocrine-disrupting ability in humans include organochlorine pesticides, poly-chlorinated biphenyls, bisphenol A, phthalates, dioxins, and furans. (Ernie Hood., Are EDCs Blurring Issues of Gender? Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Oct; 113(10): A670–A677). Again dioxins and furans are produced when plastic is burned. The concern is that prenatal & childhood exposure to EDCs may be responsible for a variety of abnormalities in human sexuality, gender development & behaviours, reproductive capabilities & sex ratios.

Scientists today are asking hard questions about potential human effects: Do EDC exposures impair fertility in men or women? Can they cause sexual organ malformations, stunted reproductive development, or testicular or breast cancer? Do foetal exposures to EDCs alter sex phenotypes? Could such exposures even be involved in children born with ambiguous gender?

The gender issue

I completely understand that concern that linking EDCs and LGBT people can be viewed as a smokescreen for anti-LGBT bigotry. LGBT people of course existed prior to large-scale industrial chemistry.

There is unarguably however, a sharp rise however in gender dysphoria, transgender and gender neutral. The UK’s NHS reports referrals for transgender kids have quadrupled over 5 years. There is also an increasing number of children are born with intersex variation (IV; ambiguous genitalia/hermaphrodite, pseudohermaphroditism, etc.) Occupational studies have verified higher prevalence of offspring with IV in chemically exposed workers (male and female). (Rich AL et al., The Increasing Prevalence in Intersex Variation from Toxicological Dysregulation in Fetal Reproductive Tissue Differentiation and Development by Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals. Environ Health Insights. 2016 Sep 8;10:163-71.

There are a Number of Persistent Organic Pollutants Detected at High Concentrations in Blood Samples of the United States Population. (Pumarega J et al., Number of Persistent Organic Pollutants Detected at High Concentrations in Blood Samples of the United States Population. PLoS One. 2016 Aug 10;11(8):e0160432)

Please understand regardless of how politically palatable this is, we are the top of the food chain, plastic is in our drinking water ( https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals) these chemicals are in us and have numerous negative health impacts from infertility to cancer. It is also accepted that we have reached our maximum lifespan. (Xiao Dong, Brandon Milholland, Jan Vijg. Evidence for a limit to human lifespan. Nature, 2016; DOI:10.1038/nature19793)

Worse Health effects still

Dioxins and furans are what is known as lipophilic chemicals. Environmental chemical exposure to lipophilic chemicals has been linked to numerous diseases in humans. These diseases include not only cancers and endocrine disruption but also neurological and neurodegenerative diseases; metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity; reproductive and developmental disorders; and endocrine disorders. Many studies have associated the link between exposures to environmental chemicals and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Harold I. Zeliger., Lipophilic chemical exposure as a cause of cardiovascular disease, Rev Environ Health. 2013;28(1):9-20. 

Harold I. Zeliger., Lipophilic chemical exposure as a cause of type 2 diabetes (T2D).Interdiscip Toxicol., 2013 Jun; 6(2): 55–62.

Harold I. Zeliger., Exposure to lipophilic chemicals as a cause of neurological impairments, neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases., Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Sep; 6(3): 103–110.

Do not burn plastic!

Wood stoves & open fires do not reach high enough temperatures to destroy the dangerous chemicals. Burning plastic releases plumes of toxic fall-out into your community. The ash is also hazardous. It all ends up in drinking water & food chain.

It is Illegal to Burn Plastic!

Education campaigns are needed to warn about the dangers of burning rubbish.

Whatever you do DON'T BURN PLASTIC !

If your neighbours burn plastic, report them to your local council or Environmental Protection Authority EPA now. Burning plastic is illegal.

What are our options?

Reduce Reuse Recycle. Recycling options available for many plastics. If there is a triangle on the bottom of your plastic put it in the recycling bin. But frankly recycling is a farce. Recycling plastic actually releases dioxins and furans in production processes. China has been the world's tip for decades and has just said NO MORE. We are screwed to put it lightly. Hence the sudden interest (God bless David Attenborough for his Blue Planet series) in finally looking at the plastic apocalypse.

Municipal Incineration is not the answer

Incineration of plastic waste is a major source of air pollution. Most of the times, the Municipal Solid Waste containing about 12% of plastics is burnt, releasing toxic gases like Dioxins, Furans, Mercury and Polychlorinated Biphenyls into the atmosphere. Procedia Rinku Verma* , K. S. Vinoda, M. Papireddy, A.N.S Gowda., Toxic Pollutants from Plastic Waste- A Review Environmental Sciences 35 ( 2016 ) 701 – 708.

Bioplastic is the logical solution

What is Bioplastic?

Bioplastic is a type of biodegradable plastic derived from biological substances such as renewable biomass sources such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, or microbiota rather than petroleum. .It is an absolute no brainer.

Lobby governments to mandate Bioplastic instead of petroleum based plastic

A plastic tax is not good enough! Governments must take immediate action to incentivise or mandate businesses globally to go green with “biodegradable” packaging. Corn based plastics (as long as it is NOT GM CORN/ can also be made from renewable plant biomass such as corn/maize, wheat, potatoes, soy and tapioca.

The good news on bioplastic

Wal-Mart are going green with “biodegradable” packaging made from corn. The resin, known as polylactic acid (PLA),PLA is in principle compostable, breaking down into harmless natural compounds, taking pressure off the nation’s landfills. (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/corn-plastic-to-the-rescue-126404720/)

In 2015, Coca-Cola and Virent produced the world’s first PET plastic bottle made entirely from plant materials but it is still at demonstration scale. Coca-Cola has been producing partially bio-based Plan tBottle since 2009, a product comprised of 30 percent plant materials. The world’s two largest bottled water companies, Danone and Nestlé Waters, have teamed up with a California start-up to develop and launch at commercial scale a PET plastic bottle made from 100 percent bio-based material.

Last summer Toyota Tsusho, the Toyota Group’s trading arm, invested an undisclosed amount in sustainable technology company Anellotech, which is working to make 100 percent bio-based PET plastic. Both Cola and Toyota are racing to produce 100 percent plant-based plastics at commercial scale. The market for bio-based PET is projected to reach $13 billion by 2023, according to a market research report.(https://www.gminsights.com/pressrelease/bio-based-PET-market)

Irish scientists are helping to pave the way for the future of bioplastics by aiming to use seaweed to sustainably create bioplastics(http://www.thejournal.ie/seabioplas-daithi-omurchu-seaweed-bioplastics-1616110-Aug2014/)

Bettter Still; BOYCOTT IT

Don't buy it. Shop at your local market. If you can't avoid it, leave it at your supermarket in protest. Send it back to your supermarket's free post. Clog their mail box like they are clogging our planet. There is absolutely no excuse for it.

Our Clothes are made of Plastic

Boycott Acrylic, Polyester & Nylon Materials

Acrylic, Polyester & Nylon are made from PLASTIC which is made from PETROL. It is an environmental hazard. It never goes away! One truck load of used clothes goes to landfill every second! This soaks through the land, into the water table & into our drinking water. It ends up in our sea and sequentially into our clouds and atmosphere and air

The scale of global microplastic contamination is staggering!

In Germany plastic fibres & fragments were found in all 24 beer brands tested, as well as in honey & sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits 3 to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year, & that it was also present in the air in people’s homes. It is not genetics causing the rise in cancer. The horrific and unacceptable statistic

Acrylics are by Far the Worst Offender

When acrylics are washed in washing machines, the average load of household washing shed 750,000 tiny synthetic particles (microplastics) per wash, 5 X more than polyester-cotton

Ecologists are finding tiny, synthetic fibres & all over the coastline, with the greatest concentration near sewage outflows. Of the man-made material found on the shoreline, 85% were microfibers from nylon & acrylic used in

Microplastics contain & absorb toxic chemicals

Microplastics attract bacteria found in sewage, Dr Anne Marie Mahon at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, said: “Studies have shown there are more harmful pathogens on microplastics downstream of wastewater treatment

Chemicals on microplastic are released in the body

According to Prof Richard Thompson, at Plymouth University UK, “It became clear ...that the plastic would release those chemicals & that actually, the conditions in the gut would facilitate really quite rapid release.” His research has shown microplastics are found in a third of fish caught in the UK.

Can humans metabolise and excrete dioxin?

The term dioxins usually refers to polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). As 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has the highest toxic potential. In the human body, dioxins are in part metabolised and eliminated, and the rest is stored in body fat. People vary in their capacity to eliminate TCDD, but it is also dose-dependent; the elimination rate is much faster at higher than lower levels. Marinković N1 et al., Dioxins and human toxicity. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 2010 Dec;61(4):445-53

The liver microsomal P450 enzyme oxygenates lipophilic chemicals such as dioxins and furans

Phase one detoxification is catalysed by enzymes referred to as the cytochrome P450 enzyme group or Mixed Function Oxidase enzymes MFO. These enzymes reside on the membrane system of the liver cells (called Hepatocytes). Human liver cells possess the genetic code for many isoenzymes of P-450 whose synthesis can be induced upon exposure to specific chemicals. This provides a mechanism of protection from a wide variety of toxic chemicals.

To put it simply, this pathway converts a toxic chemical into a less harmful chemical. This is achieved by various chemical reactions (such as oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis), and during this process free radicals are produced which, if excessive, can damage the liver cells. Antioxidants (such as vitamin C and E and natural carotenoids) reduce the damage caused by these free radicals. If antioxidants are lacking and toxin exposure is high, toxic chemicals become far more dangerous. Excessive amounts of toxic chemicals such as dioxins and furans can disrupt the P-450 enzyme system by causing over activity or what is called 'induction' of this pathway. This will result in high levels of damaging free radicals being produced. The danger is if these reactive molecules are not further metabolised by Phase II conjugation, they may cause damage to proteins, RNA, and DNA within the cell.

So maintaining optimal liver detoxification processes are paramount. Taking Liver herbs assist in the breakdown and elimination of toxins.

See Carahealth Heavy Heavy Metal & Microplastics Detox Plan

Coupled with a Carahealth water filter will filter microplastics to 0.7 microns and this will ultimately reduce your exposure to microplastics. The cancer society and medical fraternity keep telling us these toxins are safe for us in small amounts. This is a lie. Toxins are accumulative and store in the body fat and the whole scenario is made worse in people with low antioxidant status, high amounts of body fat and poor liver function due to chemical damage. But you can do 2 things

Take action!

  • Boycott Acrylic, Polyester and Nylon
  • Buy biodegradable & non-toxic VISCOSE (made from wood) RAYON (made from bamboo) & COTTON
  • Tell your kids school you want natural fibre school uniforms
  • Avoid single use plastic where possible.
  • Use Gravity Fed Water Filter these filter to 0.7 microns & filter microplastics ( the plastics on the Orb study in drinking and tap water where 2.2 microns)
  • Burning plastic releases Dioxins &; Furans which damage fertility, interfere with hormones &; cause cancer. Report anyone burning plastic to the EPA & local council.
  • Contact your washing machine manufacturer. Demand filters on washing machines & filters at water treatment plants to catch microplastics at the very least.
  • Don’t use a tumble dryer to dry synthetics. You are releasing dioxins and furans and microplastics into your home and environment.

For further details contact Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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