“Black Mirror” is a sci-fi series that looks at the unexpected consequences of new technologies and contemporary behavior — and paints a dystopian portrait of the near future that would give Rod Serling nightmares!

But that’s nothing compared to the unexpected consequences of using recycled black plastic for food packaging and utensils. A new study in Environment International found that toxins such as bromine and lead showed up in some of 600 black plastic consumer products they tested, including cocktail stirrers and children’s toys.

Because black plastic looks cool, folks like it. But it’s hard to recycle (something about the recycling technology doesn’t work well on dark colors), so to obtain it, manufacturers are relying on “the plastic housings of end-of-life waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE). Inefficiently sorted WEEE plastic has the potential to introduce restricted and hazardous substances into the recycled black plastic, including brominated flame retardants (BFRs), Sb, a flame retardant synergist, and the heavy metals cadmium, chromium, mercury and lead.” They cause everything from reproductive and thyroid problems to neurotoxicity, mental retardation, kidney, bone and lung disease.

Scientists at the University of Plymouth in the U.K. have sounded the alarm and given you an opportunity to mount a campaign that will stop the use of black plastic altogether: Don’t buy black plastic bags; refuse to order takeout from places that serve their food in black plastic. Just say no, loudly and consistently. Then you’ll be looking at a healthier person in the mirror.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

Source: The Associated Press

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