Plastic began to be disguised as rocks. Why is it dangerous?

Pollution with plastic waste every day more and more acquires the character of a natural disaster. Insidious plastic has already started to poison the sea plankton and even “got” to the northernmost point of our planet — the Arctic. At the same time constantly revealing new and new dangers of this material. For example, recently a group of environmentalists found out that plastic began to be disguised as ordinary stones and pebbles. And it’s more dangerous than it might seem at first glance.

Why plastic like stones and pebbles

Such “disguised” plastic, having a darkish color, is called “pyroplastic”. Pyroplastic is formed by heating a conventional plastic or initially in the production process, or after disposal. Simply put, I’m sure almost all of us burned plastic bottles. And those in the combustion process is compressed and blackened. What turned out in the end — this is pyroplastic.

Than dangerous pyroplastic

Something similar has already been detected previously in Hawaii. Some time ago on the sandy beaches were discovered “plasticamente” — pieces of plastic melted on the fire, mixed with sand and shells. Now stone-like plastic structure began to show up almost everywhere.

This is interesting: Found a way to remove from all the world’s oceans is plastic.

Because the pieces pyroplastic like rocks they are, which is logical, often escape our attention and even teams for clearing may not notice a huge amount of dangerous plastic. It should be understood that pyroplastic not the same as conventional plastic. It is much more harmful.

Pyroplastic formed by melting or burning, and are very different from manufactured (primary and secondary) plastics. As a result of thermal exposure pyroplastic becomes highly toxic for the environment, write the researchers in their article published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. Because pyroplastic was discovered by our colleagues on the beaches in Spain near Vancouver, it is clear that pyroplastic is no longer a local phenomenon. And we have a suspicion that pyroplastic can be very widely raspostranen. Last but not least from the fact that has the ability to be disguised as ordinary stones.

And yet the danger of pyroplastic not even that. Ecologist Andrew Turner from the University of Plymouth and his colleagues have conducted a number of studies. They took the 165 pieces pyroplastic from the beaches of the Gulf of Whitsand in Cornwall and 30 pieces from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The team subjected the samples to tests to find out what they are made. Spectroscopy showed that the samples were mostly either polyethylene (commonly used in plastic bags and when creating packaging for products), polypropylene (hard plasticcommonly used for bottles and containers), or a combination thereof. Do you use plastic dishes? Tell us about it in our chat in Telegram.

Conventional plastic items can turn into “stones”. At first glance, to distinguish such “stones” from the real is very difficult

Further x-ray fluorescence analysis revealed in plastics lead (often accompanied by chromium). This implies the presence of lead chromate, the compound which can be mixed with plastic to give it a yellow, orange or red hue. Its use was limited to the Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS), but the number detected in the samples exceeds the limits of RoHS, which means that discovered plastic was released until 2003 (when it was released Directive).

In fact it is because of the toxic and mutagenic properties, the use of lead chromate in the manufacture of plastic products was limited. However, as we see, it was not enough. And extremely dangerous plastic is not only no problem poisoning the environment, but also “masked” under stones and pebbles, making it difficult to clean it from beaches and waters.

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