Thursday, September 3, 2009
New Study Shows Plastic Breaks Down in the Ocean at an Alarming Rate
Although plastic trash is known to be indestructible, scientists recently discovered that some plastics actually decompose rapidly in the ocean. Instead of taking hundreds of years and high temperatures to decompose, plastic it now seems can break down at cooler temperatures and within one year of hitting the water. This is bad news since as it decomposes, plastic leaches toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A into the ocean. With about 44 percent of all seabirds and 267 marine species already affected by plastic garbage, the presence of bisphenol just means even more trouble for our wildlife.
All the water samples collected in the study had derivatives of polystyrene, a common plastic used in disposable cutlery, Styrofoam, and DVD cases, among other things.