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Abstract

Plastics, currently the universal workhorse materials of modern economy, because of their low cost and varied functional properties are posing serious threat to environment and consumer’s health in many direct and indirect ways. Rising concern about the impact of plastics on environment and human health, has forced the industry to look for alternatives. This review studies current understanding of benefits and concerns surrounding use of plastics, reviews literature about health effects in humans and discusses the current state of evidence, as well as future research trends. There is increasing concern regarding additives in plastics to which most people are exposed, such as phthalates, bisphenol A or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), and their detection in humans, leading to harmful impact on health. The studies are divided, among many other issues on the fact of considering these additives as carcinogens or toxicants, but there is a consensus that these chemicals have the ability to alter the endocrine system. Human data are limited compared to large body of experimental evidence documenting reproductive or developmental toxicity in relation to these compounds in animals. The concentrations of these additives in young children, a segment particularly sensitive to exogenous insults, are typically higher, indicating the need to decrease exposure to these compounds. The rapid increase in usage of plastics and increased awareness about its health hazard has lent urgency to the whole issue.

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Correspondence to Pramod Kumar.

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Kumar, P. Role of Plastics on Human Health. Indian J Pediatr 85, 384–389 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12098-017-2595-7

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