When plastic is burnt, it releases harmful substances such as sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, dioxins, and furans. That’s why inhaling plastic fumes can increase the risk of heart diseases and respiratory effects. The most affected internal organs are the lungs.
When they turn out to be swollen, it becomes challenging for oxygen to flow into the blood, which increases the risks of respiratory failure. This problem involves the inability to breathe well to allow oxygen to reach the cells.
If you learn more about what happens if you smoke plastic, you will know what to do to avoid inhaling the fumes. Also, you’ll be able to look for alternative methods of disposing of plastic wastes.
What Happens If You Smoke Plastic
As you are aware, plastic fumes can cause issues in your body. And the health concern varies depending on the type of plastic being burned, source of smoke, length of exposure, gas released, and the process used to burn plastic.
The most common symptoms of inhaling plastic fumes are dizziness, confusion, and irritations of the throat, skin, and nose. Prolonged exposure to plastic smoke can cause issues such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing blood
- Aggravated asthma
Smoking plastic can cause injuries. Thus, you need to seek immediate medical attention when you accidentally inhale plastic fumes. If issues related to smoking plastic are not treated, you may experience permanent damage to the lungs, which can cause lifetime breathing issues.
At this stage, your lungs may become blocked or filled with fluid, causing shortness of breathing or respiratory failure. This phase is severe and can result in heart and lung damage.
Also read: Minimize air pollution harm to your health
Here are ways to get rid of plastic fumes
When you burn plastic waste, it produces dioxin and furan, which can cause death or severe health issues. In this case, it is good to recycle plastic or consider reusable containers to avoid burning. What about if someone burns plastic accidentally in your home or workplace?
In this case, it is good to look for ways to eliminate plastic fumes to avoid inhaling. The first thing to do if you notice some plastic fumes in your home or work is to measure the air quality levels.
If the air quality is poor, you can use Portable fume extractors with HEPA filters to capture the plastic fumes before entering the breathing zone. Besides, you can consider air cleaners to improve indoor air quality.
Mostly, you are not likely to experience lasting health effects immediately after you inhale the plastic fumes. Because of this, you need to seek medical attention or look for ways to treat the issue before it becomes a big problem.
Here are 3 methods of treating smoke inhalation
- 1. Antidotes
Antidotes are used to stop the effects of smoke in your body. These medicines work by preventing absorption and minimizing the conversion of smoke to toxic substances.
2. Steroids and bronchodilators
Steroids and bronchodilators are medications used to open up air passages if you have issues with breathing.
In most cases, smoking plastic causes infections in the lungs. To treat this issue, you can consider antibiotics.
Also read: Environment impacts of fracking
FAQs about the Impact of Smoking Plastic
Can you get high from burning plastic?
The feeling of being high is associated with relaxation, excitement, and contentment. But this doesn’t mean that you should use anything that makes you high. For instance, plastic fumes can make you high when smoked.
However, this can be highly toxic because plastic produces harmful gases and substances when burned or melted, which can cause severe problems to the body.
Can smoking plastic kill you?
Burning plastic waste produces dioxin and other chemicals, which, when inhaled, can cause coughing, shortness of breath, and asthma. These health issues can extend and become severe cases, resulting in death.
What are the health problems related to smoking plastic?
When you smoke plastic, you can encounter short-term and long-term health issues. This is because plastic burning releases substances such as nitrogen oxides, dioxin, mercury, and sulfur dioxide.
When these harmful chemicals enter your body, they can affect the respiratory system, pneumonia, allergies, and lung infections. In this case, it is advisable to open the doors and windows as soon as you inhale plastic fumes. Also, you can use candles and vinegar to mask the plastic fumes odor.
Is it advisable to burn plastic?
Fumes from burned plastics are dangerous. Once you inhale the smoke, you can experience immediate effects such as eyes, nose, and throat irritation. Also, prolonged exposure to the smoke with no safety precaution can cause cancer and other illnesses. Because of this, it is not good to burn plastic.
Instead, you can consider taking the plastic waste to the recycling center or buying non-plastic items such as metal straws. With this, you will prevent polluting water bodies, air, and the soil. Also, you will avoid health issues related to plastic smoke.
Burning plastic waste is not the best solution for solving pollution issues. In fact, burning contributes to air pollution, which can affect human health.
Now that you understand what happens if you smoke plastic, it is good to look for safe disposal methods. You can go for approaches such as returning the single-use plastics to the relevant company for recycling.
For products that cannot be recycled, it is vital to avoid them. You can achieve this by carrying your shopping bag, water bottles, and buying items in bulk. Also, educate people about the impact of plastics on environmental sustainability and the best disposal methods.