Target: Bob Perciasepe, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
Goal: Label harmful plastic waste and encourage research of safer alternative materials
Scientists believe we should label hazardous plastic waste to prevent it from entering waterways and encourage research into safer alternative materials. They believe that by labeling harmful plastics, we can ease environmental degradation over the next several years, much as the labeling of harmful refrigerants prevented their production in the nineties and led to the use of safer replacement materials.
As much as 150 million tons of plastic waste ends up as litter each year in the US. As it deteriorates, plastic breaks down into tiny, microscopic pieces that can harm people and wildlife if ingested. For example, the inhalation of plastics has been linked to lung cancer in humans and the buildup of PCBs in the tissue of seabirds.
Researchers insist that four particular plastics are harmful enough to need labeling. They are PVC, often used to make pipes; polycarbonate, used in electronics; polyurethane, used in furniture; and Styrofoam. Other, more absorbent plastics, that leach toxins around them, may also be added to the list.
The US plastic industry uses over 330 million barrels of oil each year, almost five percent of total oil consumption in the country. Needless to say, the combined interests of plastic and petroleum producers are against the labeling of harmful plastics. This is all the more reason why US citizens must speak out against the proliferation of harmful plastics in our oceans and in our communities.
Ask the Environmental Protection Agency to label hazardous plastics and encourage research into safer alternatives.
Dear Mr. Perciasepe,
Scientists around the world are calling for the labeling of hazardous plastic waste, which has cause environmental degradation in our oceans and has been linked to respiratory diseases. In the 1990s, labeling effectively reduced the production of harmful refrigerants, which were known to cause deterioration of the Earth’s ozone layer. We believe that labeling particularly hazardous plastics will reduce the amount of harm they inflict on people and animals over the next several years.
We ask that you please begin labeling hazardous plastics such as PVC, Styrofoam, polycarbonate, and polyurethane. We believe this will encourage the research of safer alternative materials.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: kqedquest via flickr