NZ Herald:Waste plastics pose toxic threat in oceans

Steve Connor of the New Zealand Herald writes about the newest threat posed to our oceans: the chemicals produced when plastic decay in them.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“A study has found that as plastics break down in the sea they release potentially toxic substances not found in nature and which could affect the growth and development of marine organisms.

“Until now it was thought that plastic rubbish is relatively stable chemically and, apart from being unsightly, its principle threat to living creatures came from its ability to choke or strangle any animals that either got caught in it or ingested it thinking it was food.

“But the latest research suggests plastic is also a source of dissolved substances that can easily become widely dispersed in the marine environment. Many of these chemicals are believed to be toxic to humans and animals, the scientists said.”