Health hazards of plastics

Other Names:
Disease-causing plastics
Plastic poisons

Ordinary polyethylene (polythene) plastic bags and containers are increasingly linked to a range of diseases ranging from stomach ailments to leukaemia. Their prolonged use is claimed to jeopardize the functioning of the kidney and brain.


A 2020 study by Australia’s University of Newcastle found that person could be ingesting five grams of plastic a week, the equivalent of eating a credit card. The largest source was drinking water, with the average person consuming 1,769 particles of plastic every week from water alone.  Another major source was shellfish, which tended to be eaten whole so the plastic in their animal's digestive system was consumed too.

In the United States, 94.4% of tap water samples contained plastic fibres, with an average of 9.6 fibres per litre. European water was less polluted, with fibres showing up in only 72.2% of water samples, and only 3.8 fibres per litre.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
28.07.2021 – 06:46 CEST