Take a moment and think about all the plastic you use. Plastic is in our homes, at work, in our cars, in our food, and in our bodies. We use it to brush our teeth, serve our food, and shovel snow. It’s everywhere and all but unavoidable.
Director Werner Boote unveils the world of plastic—where it comes from, how it was invented, how we use it, and how it affects our world— in a documentary titled “Plastic Planet.” Originally released in Germany in 2009, the documentary will be released to DVD on Earth Day, April 22.
“The most shocking thing I found in my journey to create this is that I have plastic in my blood,” Boote says. After testing a plastic globe for contaminants, Boote decided to test his own blood to see if he had the same toxins. “I found that I have plastic in my blood—like everyone else. In the film you only see that I [got] tested, but the whole film crew was tested and every one of us had all kinds of substances that come from plastics in our blood.”
Boote tested a plethora of products for their chemical content and found that many included BisphenolA (BPA), a toxic substance that disrupts the body’s hormones and can lead to a wide array of problems including neurological issues, disrupted thyroid function, cancer, reproductive issues, and obesity. It was only last year that Canada declared BPA as a toxic substance, the first country to do so. Many countries in the European Union and Canada have recently banned the use of BPA in some plastic products, like baby bottles, but not all. So far in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has declared BPA a “chemical of concern,” but has yet to take any action.
“The most important thing is to start being aware of the material,” Boote says. “Realize how much plastic is in your surroundings. When you touch plastic, harmful substances can enter your skin and move into your body. When you drink or eat off of plastic, you could be consuming harmful substances. When you smell things they can enter your nose and into your blood system. Think of this: If a pregnant woman is exposed to BPA, it affects her, the fetus, and—if the fetus is female—her eggs, too, and are carried on for generations.”
In order to incite change, Boote encourages the viewer, and everyone else, to speak up. “To make change you need three parties: the consumer (saying we want it), the politicians (who have more power to ban and make laws), and the industry (responsible for creating products).” He says if all three of these are in place, we can make the world a better and safer place.
For more information on Plastic Planet, visit firstrunfeatures.com/ plasticplanet.