Adding it Up

Plastic is not exclusively composed of polymers. In addition to polymers, a diverse array of other substances is also present in plastic. These additives play a crucial role in enhancing specific characteristics of the plastic material, such as its appearance, durability, resistance, and flexibility. Unfortunately, a significant number of molecules found in plastic additives have not been thoroughly studied and are not adequately regulated, potentially leading to various health issues.

This pioneering study introduces a novel approach for quantifying the leakage of additives resulting from mismanaged plastic waste. With the aim of comprehensively understanding the complete environmental and health implications of plastic, the research delves into the following key inquiries:

  1. Estimating the total volume of plastic additives infiltrating both oceans and land due to the mishandling of plastic waste, accompanied by projections for future trends.
  2. Examining the methodologies employed, the study illuminates existing knowledge gaps and data deficiencies, highlighting areas that necessitate further investigation.
  3.  Analyzing the distinct contributions of various sectors to the infiltration of additives into the ocean and land
  4. Scrutinizing the intricate web of health and environmental consequences stemming from the presence of plastic additives
  5. Proposing actionable solutions to ameliorate the overarching situation.

"The omnipresence of plastic in our lives today belies its danger. Plastic is not on the periodic table, like cobalt or copper. It is a mixture of chemicals, many of them toxic to human health. In only a few decades we have infected every inch of our planet with such chemicals, leaching into our environment at escalating levels. The danger to next generations is clear and strong policy is urgently needed. But for policy to change, we need clarity on the extent of the crisis. This EA report exposes current practice and calls for safer chemistry. It is possible. But only if we demand it."

Key-Highlights from the report:

  • Plastic additives contribute significantly to ocean and terrestrial pollution, with nearly 1 million tons of pollutants leaking into the ocean annually.
  • Uncertainties and a lack of transparency remain significant obstacles to studies of additives. This study highlights critical gaps in the understanding of the issue, emphasizing the pressing need for increased transparency and data accessibility.
  • Plastic additives potentially have greater environmental and health impacts than the plastic itself.



EA – Earth Action

Lausanne, Switzerland

Ch. des vignes d’argent 7

1004 Lausanne Suisse