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Using Plastics in the Garden

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Plastics are a relatively new material to the world. The first fully synthetic plastic – Bakelite – was created in the early 1900’s by Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland. Following technological advances after World War II, the usage and types of plastics manufactured exploded.


Today, plastic is so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. Its usage has been critical to the technological advancements that have allowed civilization to progress. Knowing this, plastic certainly has a place in the world.

However, there are some health concerns surrounding plastic. Many kinds of plastic can leach chemicals such as BPA (bisphenol A), especially when exposed to heat or scratched. Even plastics labeled as BPA free can leach other chemicals with similar properties. These chemicals aren’t particularly friendly to humans beings; they can act as estrogens in the body, contributing to health problems, such as cancer. This is critical knowledge when it comes to the way plastics interact with out food.

So, if you are planting a garden, is it safe – or rather, is it best – to utilize plastic? Regardless of whether a plastic is labeled non-toxic, studies have shown that many will leach estrogenic compounds. While this does little to give one faith in labeling, it does even less to encourage one to use plastics around food.

Ultimately, the goal of planting a garden is to provide the freshest, healthiest, most-unaltered food for yourself and your family. You wouldn’t grow a garden only to douse it in chemical fertilizers and pesticides. You might as well be shopping at the grocery store! In that spirit, running the risk of any sort of chemical contamination seems unwise. Try your best to avoid using plastics in the garden, regardless of the application.



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