In a new paper, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) senior fellow Angela Logomasini, PhD argues destroying the U.S. plastics industry, as several pieces of legislation pending before Congress aim to do, would have far-reaching negative consequences for humanity. 

In The Immeasurable Benefits of Plastics to Humanity, Logomasini writes that banning plastics would jeopardize the level of health care humans receive from medical facilities, put the world food supply at risk, and undermine public health.

Examples of how banning plastics would put humans at risk include:

Medical professionals rely on vast numbers of plastic products. Single use plastics are vital in preventing hospital-acquired infections, which is more important than ever given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plastics are an essential part of protecting our food supply and by extension, our health, from dangerous pathogens. By extending shelf life, plastic food packaging also makes it more affordable to feed the world’s growing population, while leaving excess land for wildlife.

Plastics make homes more affordable and bring many benefits to construction. Plastics can be used for vinyl siding, vinyl flooring, pipes, wire coating, insulation, window frames, decking, fencing, components of lighting and appliances, tools, and more.

Manufacturers use plastics to make many affordable, lightweight safety devices, from hardhats to goggles, to sporting equipment. For example, plastics have replaced glass in many applications because they are safer and less prone to breaking. Plastics greatly relieve risk of injury to babies and children from potential shards of glass from broken cups and bottles.

“Misguided anti-plastics policies jeopardize the level of care people receive in medical facilities, put the world food supply at risk and undermine public health,” said study author Logomasini.

“Telling hospitals they must stop using single-use plastics would put more patients at risk of contracting COVID-19 or other hospital-born infections. Destroying the plastics industry in the United States would not eliminate the need for plastics, it would force us to depend on foreign sources for plastics in order to meet our most basic needs.”

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