Plastic is a material that can be molded, extruded, cast, spun or used as a coating. Plastic is made out of linked polymers. Plastics are turned plastic through softeners and plasticizers, which make these linked polymers easier to bend and manipulate. The plastics can then be turned into products such as toys. But one of the largest benefits of plastic is that this material has helped improve packaging.
Phlates are chemicals that are frequently added to plastic polymers to plasticize them. These phlates have been found to cause cancers and problems with the endocrine system and have been banned in the use of toys as a result. These substances can be found in almost all plastics, though they are not always in quantities large enough to be harmful. Many plastics also have substances that look to the human body like estrogen and can lead to reproductive problems.
Polyethylene terephthalate is used to make plastics that are found in various substances that are consumed orally. Workers who are exposed to high amounts of this substance have developed skin irritation and respiratory problems. High density polyethylene is a much safer version of plastic. This plastic is often used with liquid substances because the plastic is very good at preventing liquid leakage. The polyethylene is smooth and very clear. The plastic is also very resistant to shattering. The high density polyethylene is much thicker.
Polyvinyl chloride disrupts the endocrine system, causes asthma and allergic reactions, harms the liver and kidney and disrupts bone formation. While this plastic can be very bad for one’s health, the plastic is good at resisting grease, oil and chemicals. However, human contact with polyvinyl chloride should be limited.
Low-density polyethylene is one of the most commonly used plastics in packaging because the plastic can easily be stretched over products. Bottles made out of this plastic can be squeezed easily. Container lids made out of this plastic easily fit.
Polypropylene is useful for storing hot liquids, since the plastic is more resistant to heat. This plastic is also very resistant to acids and bases.
Some fragile objects need extra protective coating. These objects are often packed in polystyrene, which a clear, hard and brittle plastic. This plastic can be made extra durable by combining it with rubber, but adding rubber will make the plastic less clear. However, less clarity might be beneficial in some circumstances.