Super Science Fair Projects Respond to Possible Threat of Plastic Food Containers

How much plastic do we eat in a day?

This week I’d like to talk about a science news story that both alarmed me and intrigued me. The story is based on findings that people all over the world are eating 5 grams of plastic a day. That is equivalent to a plastic credit card a week!

In a new study (pdf), commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature—formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund, suggests that over the course of seven days, the average person consumes 2,000 tiny plastic particles and fibers, 1,769 of which come from drinking water alone.

Now I’m not talking about plastic shards lodged in body parts, I am talking about very small particles of plastic compounds being infused in our very metabolic system. The compound that was discovered is BPA, which stands for bispheral A. This is a common ingredient for polycarbonates which are used to line food and beverage containers as well as to make items like baby bottles and food storage containers. The findings from this study showed that 92 percent of the 2,500 people tested had minute traces of BPA in their urine. While the amounts BPA were very minute, only “a few parts per million,” the impact on our health is still significant.

The reaction our bodies have to ingested BPA can be detrimental to our overall health. Problems with the reproductive system, digestive system and weight can all develop because of traces of BPA in our systems. What does this mean to students and science class? Well, as long term impacts of plastic use continue to be studied, students may need to focus their energies on looking at plastic alternatives.

Try starting a classroom discussion with this questions, “If plastic is determined to be hazardous to our health and is removed from the market, what else can we use instead of plastic?”

Questions like this one can be a great way to springboard science fair project ideas. Find other sources of inspiration from kid science magazines and intriguing science fair project websites.

39 thoughts on “Super Science Fair Projects Respond to Possible Threat of Plastic Food Containers

  1. Jon@absolutemartialarts says:

    I used plastic containers for my food and after reading I’m having second thoughts. This topic is very helpful. I will try to use banana leaf, when we were young our mother put our food in a banana leaf.

  2. Joey@Gochi Juice says:

    I didn’t know plastics could harm us in that way. Now I got it why some of the ASIAN countries have banned the uses of plastic bags.

  3. Kari@Baby Gifts USA says:

    This article brings up an excellent point. The real question is, are there any affordable alternatives to plastic, or can any affordable alternatives be developed?

  4. Henry says:

    Plastic in our bodies? It’s horrible. Maybe it is difficult to avoid plastic totally. What if plastic is mixed with other material that is more environment friendly? More production cost, I guess…

  5. taislim says:

    Plastics are generally hazardous to the environment. One should think twice before using apalstic container, shopping bags, etc. Now the presence of plastic in our body is truly alarming. I neevr knew that this is possible. This article is very informative. I wouldsurely research more on this topic. Thanks for the info.

  6. Mike says:

    Let us all start campaigning about this hazard. Please pass on this info to all of you know. This would definitely create some awareness.

  7. Refrigerator water filters says:

    Swab tests of reusable bags last November revealed a bacteria count of 1,800 colony-forming units while 550 were discovered in Tupperware containers. A mould count of 290 was discovered in bags and 10 Tupperware compared with a typical mold count of 150 or less per cubic metre of room air at that time of year.

  8. aditya@Sutton Physiotherapy says:

    It is great post. you raise a great point. Plastics bag are really a great problem now. We must take action by using more reusable products like old fashioned bottles.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Southampton dental implants says:

    This is a great way to campaign for more “green” environment. PLastics has never been good to the environment.

  10. Tom@Priligy says:

    I agree with what Mike says on creating awareness and stimulating people to use reusable packaging alternatives, there’s enough alternatives on the market. Companies must become aware of renewable packaging materials as well.

  11. Tom@Priligy says:

    Using plastic boxes that can be reused is a good option. Get a lunchbox instead of wrapping your sandwiches in plastic!

  12. Video Games says:

    I came from Indonesia, and the use of plastics are in the tremendous amount here.. And the latest news, there’s also a misuse of plastic. some people put plastic when frying a food so that the food can be crunchy..

  13. G. Mark @ help baby sleep says:

    I didn’t know about using plastic containers could be this harmful. I’ve given my children their drinks in plastic cups to prevent them from breaking glass. I’ll stop that now for sure. thanks for the info.

  14. Matt@get rif of warts says:

    I agree with you,I have been resaerching a lot into plastic, and especially using plastic in microwaves where the particles get heated, this is really bad.

    I am switching to stainless steel containers and glass.

    Thanks for the good info.

  15. Baby Boutique says:

    It’s crazy that we’ve been using these bottles for so long, and only now we realize the dangers of them – especially to small children. Thanks for the info!

  16. Linda@Slimming says:

    Well that’s really not good is it. Where did you hear this information? Can you provide a link to an article or something for further information? Thanks.

  17. Medical Insurance says:

    I saw it on CNN, like David said, look for the 7 on the bottom of the bottle. They say the BPA causes anger control issues in pre-teen girls.

  18. oliviya@koozies says:

    I like the idea that the bottle is more environment friendly. I recently bought a bag in box wine that was recyclable, pretty good that people start to think of the environment.

  19. jay morrison says:

    Well I’m pushing 40 years old and I can’t come up with an answer to that question. As long as humans are creating the stuff we package stuff in – there’s always going to be possible hazards.

  20. Smoothie Guy says:

    I’ve started hearing alot about this recently as well. A particularly bad (and common) one is re-using plastic drink bottles. If you live somewhere like me (NZ) and can drink water from the tap, then it’s very common to reuse bottled-water bottles. But apparently after 6 or so uses, the plastic starts emmitting chemical that is essentially poisonous…. dodgy as.

    I hadn’t heard as much about general plastic packaging, but am going to have to read up a bit more now.

  21. sara@Yeast Infection Relief says:

    This is a very enlightening post. 2,500 people have been found with traces of BPA in their urine? Now that’s really alarming. People really need to be more conscious and informed about the possible effects of each and every product that they’ll be using on their health!

  22. jinnie@Fat Loss Diets says:

    I avoid carrying plastic bags now-a-days. Instead have a big shopper bag and small handy coir bags with me always to use while shopping. I also return the bag given during shopping so that they could also save some pennies!

  23. jinnie@gist says:

    It’s a sad fact that people care more about how they look now instead of worrying about what can happen to you down the road. people know that plastic containers are bad for them but they continue using them.

  24. Storage Tanks says:

    Interesting indeed. A lot of people are now relying on plastic containers to transport fresh food which I think is really a bad thing. Even bottled water has it’s problems and we are constantly advised not to re use bottled water bottles.

  25. David@Plastic Injection Molding says:

    I heard it mostly for water bottles and to look for a number 7 in the code on the bottom. Guess the 7 is bad.

  26. Stan@ Cancer Life Insurance says:

    The compound, Bisphenol A (BPA) is a component of polycarbonate and other polymers used to make bottles for beverages. BPA is often chosen for a drinking water container because it is strong, but not heavy, like glass. However, research has shown that individuals, who consume Bisphenol A, tend to have a greater risk of certain types of cancers. Additionally, BPA can potentially interfere with hormone levels.

  27. Koozie Pricing says:

    I also agree with the idea that the bottle is more environment friendly. I have experience with it and I think it is good

  28. Reverse Osmosis says:

    Great article. I am shocked of the 2500 people, that 92% had some trace of BPA in their system, that is very scary. My wife and I switched recently from plastic sport bottles to stainless steel sport bottles to avoid any risk of BPA. Hopefully studies like this will change the way our products are made(using an alternative plastic). Thanks.

  29. Best Teeth Whitener says:

    Plastic is really bad,espcially if you leave bottles with water in them sitting in the sun and then you drink the water, because the chemicals seep into the water

  30. Mini Skip says:

    Very thought provoking. I wonder if there is any evidence out there that these traces of BPA can bring about the onset of various forms of cancer too. Only time will tell but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  31. Reusable Bags says:

    I’ve been reading that plastic bag makers have pointed to some research showing that reusable bags are unhygienic in order to put off food shoppers – it seems plastic bags probably aren’t either…

  32. Anne Smith@hypertension says:

    Like the site, just responding to the article the source is probabaly “Bisphenol A” not as stated a common agent found in curing agents for plastics. Natural is best, organic is better.

  33. club penguin cheats says:

    I used plastic containers for my food and after reading I’m having second thoughts. This topic is very helpful. I will try to use banana leaf, when we were young our mother put our food in a banana leaf.

  34. Jay@Aquasana says:

    We are finding out more and more about the additives we add to both our food and our utensils. The Romans had to deal with lead. We have to deal with plastic. Our family switched over to use either glass or stainless steel for our water containers and now use glass storage containers for our food

  35. dental assistant training says:

    I think that plastic is just all around bad – now after reading this even worse. I always new that it was messing up our carbon cycle, killing sea life, etc, but never knew it could be found in most peoples bodies….Eww..they should replace all plastic with some type of aluminum, at least that is something that can be recycled once it is thrown away as junk! 🙂

  36. Alex says:

    Plastic containers are all around us; they are used to store food, hold water and other beverages, or even house our medications. With all of the different types of plastic being used, do you know which ones are really safe?

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