Liberty Intercept Blog

Plasticizers Harm Lakes and Streams

Posted by Joe Spitz on Jun 8, 2011 6:29:00 AM

Having worked with Intercept Technology protective plastic packaging for 15 years, one of the many benefits we depict about the Intercept product line is that it does not contain volatiles. Intercept packaging is volatile free. This emphasis is important, in part, to differentiate Intercept from common corrosion protection packaging materials that do use volatiles.  Reading a recent article on the pollution sources of our lakes and streams was a revelation and provided impetus to explain:  what is the significance of the term “volatile free”; what’s the big deal?

What caught my eye in a recent study summarized by Emily Sohn published in Discovery News, Lake Slime Loaded with Pollutants", is that, along with other air borne chemicals, plasticizers, often used as an additive in manufacturing to “soften” plastics, are mentioned as a problematic fish hormone-disrupting complex chemical housed in lakes’ and streams’ biofilms.  Biofilms are a combination of algae and bacteria, which is the green-brown slime accumulated on the rocks and floor of lakes and streams.  Quoted in the article is Jeff Writer, an environmental engineer with the United States Geological Survey in Boulder, Colorado: "The compounds we produce don't just go away".  Ms. Sohn’s article includes a quote from Bryan Brooks, an aquatic toxicologist at Baylor University in Waco, Texas: "If you put something into the environment," Brooks said, "you need to find out what happens to it, where it goes and how long it sticks around, because ultimately, without that understanding, we may not be fully able to characterize how wildlife would be coming into contact with it." Pretty simple, really. What goes into the air doesn’t stay there; it will eventually come down and with complex volatile chemical compounds that means by an atmospheric cleansing rain into our fragile water systems.

You might recognize evidence of plasticizers if you notice a recurring white haze on the inside windshield of your new car. That white haze which is coming from the dashboard material; the film is from a plasticizer volatilizing onto your windshield.  

While we certainly understand the need for plasticizers used to increase the flexibility and strength of certain plastics, Liberty Packaging sells plastics which do not have volatiles like plasticizers.  Like many concerned global citizens balanced between the need for industry and the best interests of our planet and its living inhabitants, our assertion is that it becomes a choice; when there are alternatives, why use materials that can cause environmental harm?

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Intercept Technology Packaging products fit within a sustainability strategy because they are reusable, recyclable, do not contain or use volatile components (No VOCs, Not a VCI) and leave a smaller carbon footprint than most traditional protective packaging products.  

Topics: environmental effects of volatiles, plastic packaging waste

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