MNN Galleries

The 10 worst forms of pollution

By: Bryan Nelson on July 7, 2010, 1:05 p.m.
Young man walks near a mountain of plastic debris

Photo: By AfriramPOE/Shutterstock

8 of 12


Many plastics are toxic. Vinyl chloride (PVC), is a known carcinogen, and bisphenol A (BPA) can disrupt endocrine function, can cause insulin resistance and it has been linked to heart disease. Plastics biodegrade slowly, in some cases lasting for hundreds of thousands of years. Waste accumulated from excessive use of plastics has become a worldwide problem. Gigantic islands of plastic trash have been known to accumulate in the North Pacific Gyre, the most famous of which is the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch.