Plastics Break Down Fast in Ocean (Aug. 19, 2009) — Plastic has long been considered indestructible. Contrary to the commonly held belief that plastic takes 500 to 1,000 years to decompose, scientists are now reporting that ‘indestructible’ plastics decompose with surprising speed and release toxic substances into the water.

plasticsThey say that the hard plastic polystyrene begins to decompose with exposure to rain, sun, weather, and ocean within one year, releasing potentially toxic bisphenol A (BPA) and other chemicals into the water.

Researchers delivered their findings to the American Chemical Society (ACS), where they called the discovery “surprising.”

“Plastics in daily use are generally assumed to be quite stable,” said Katsuhiko Saido, lead author of the new study.

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