Air Date: Week of April 28, 2000
Diane Toomey reports on studies which find that pollution is having a deleterious effect on brain development and human intelligence – worldwide.
GRABER: The next time you slip on that polyester shirt, don't be surprised if your appetite picks up. Synthetics like polyester are made from petroleum-based plastic fiber, but some manufacturers are now developing plastic fiber from plants. Today they're using corn, but any starchy plants, like wheat, sugar beets, even agricultural waste will do. The starch is turned into sugar and then lactic acid. When processed, it can make a flexible and strong product. And this veggie process uses 30 to 50 percent less fossil fuel, and it produces a lot less carbon dioxide. And next in line, the experts say, is packaging made entirely from agricultural products. So you might find yourself unwrapping that new shirt and tossing the wrapping right onto the compost pile. And who knows? Perhaps some day the shirt could end up among the orange peels and coffee grinds, too. And that's this week's Living on Earth technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.
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