Image and edited excerpts from Yahoo! News

Many things around us are made of plastic. Plastic may be convenient, but it poses grave hazards.

> Chemicals from plastics have been linked to endocrine disruption, weight gain, insulin resistance, decreased reproductive health, and cancer.

> Humans inhale and ingest microplastics through seafood, water, beer, and even salt. The average adult takes in about 2,000 microplastics annually through salt alone, a study shows.

> Plastic pollutes the environment and threatens wildlife, killing millions of animals each year, including birds and fish. The creatures sometimes ingest it or become entangled in things like plastic bags and packaging rings used for soda and beer cans.

The marine biologist who first coined the term “microplastics” almost 2 decades ago has recently issued a dire warning: We need to change our ways if we want to solve the plastic pollution problem. Many of the solutions to the plastics plague lie at the production level. Therefore, it’s important to curb the creation of single-use plastics, says Richard Thompson.

What you can do: Use reusable plastic-free items (eg: metal razors, durable water bottles, shampoo bars, dissolvable dishwasher/laundry pods, and non-plastic sandwich bags) – these also save you money in the long run.