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Turns out that plastic bag waste is not the most harmful by-product of plastic bags - toxic gases just might be. A new study reported on in The Independent states that as plastic bags break down they are releasing gases that are incredibly harmful to both humans as well as marine life.
From The Independent:
"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 that 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 toxic to humans and animals, the scientists said. The scale of plastic pollution in the sea has only been widely recognised in recent years when sailing yachts reported vast areas of ocean, such as an area estimated to be twice the size of Texas in the North Pacific, that seem to be permanently covered in a layer of floating marine litter caught up in swirling ocean currents or gyres."
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