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[GreenYes] RE: polyethylene problems??
Thanks for the overkill about benzene, an unrelated compound. If we read the
relevant sections, one will indeed find that ethylene is a rather benign
Ethylene Glycol, however, is famous for killing dogs, who like the sweet
taste of antifreeze.  
Polyethylene plastic products are for all practical purposes, inert.
Treating the difference between plastics families as "semantics of degrees,
ie; PVC v. HDPE," demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of chemistry.  
For example; sodium chloride is used everyday as table salt, while pure
sodium is highly toxic and reacts explosively with water.  Who wants to
protest salt?
A deck made of plastic milk jugs is not going to poison Old Faithful.  That
sort of drivel is a major disservice to sensible environmental debate.
> -----Original Message-----
> From:	debra lombard []
> Sent:	Monday, December 17, 2001 2:06 PM
> To:; greenyes listserv
> Subject:	polyethylene problems??
> Dear Jay and GreenYes listserv,
> You asked, " what is toxic about polyethylene?  The product leaches
> nothing
> into foods, prevents untold waste of food, and has reduced the weight of
> transport packaging several times over.  And, if burned at the proper
> temperature as a supplemental boiler fuel, releases nothing more (and
> often less) into our atmosphere than the gasoline, fuel oil and coal
> that you
> depend on every day."
> The following information comes to you from Encyclopedia Britannica:
> Ethylene is the hydrocarbon feedstock that is used in greatest volume in
> the petrochemical industry. It is a colorless gas with little odor and
> is used to make ethylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze for cars;
> styrene, a component of synthetic rubber; polyethylene plastics, noted
> for their toughness and chemical resistance; latex paints; and Dacron,
> Orlon, and rayon textile fibers. It is also used to make solvents,
> cellophane, and vinyl plastics.
>                 Propylene is used in making acrylics, rubbing alcohol,
> epoxy glue, and carpets. Butadiene is used
>                 to make synthetic rubber for truck and car tires, hoses,
> carpet fiber, paper coating, and plastic
>                 pipes.
>                 Benzene is used to make styrene, the basic ingredient of
> polystyrene
> from Encylopedia Britannica:
> From the National Institue of Health's ToxNet website about ethylene:
> Inhalation is not generally associated with toxicity, although cases of
> chronic
> poisoning with nystagmus and recurrent attacks of unconsciousness have
> been
> reported in factory workers exposed to vapors of ethylene glycol.
> [Haddad, L.M., Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug
> Overdose. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Co., 1990.
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