Compost bins, water butts and hoses.


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Someone was asking about the possibility of toxins leaking from plastic edging into their veg. patch. A little research showed that re-cycled plastic is far more likely to leach, and the above products are nearly always made from it, and then the products from them applied direct to the plants. It's a bit scarey. I can imagine someone in an urban environment growing in plastic containers, watering and composting from plastic containers, and thinking they are improving their diet with fresh food whilst gradually killing themselves.
 
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I'm 59 so I figure the damage has already been done!

I try to be careful but don't sweat over it too much. That said, once I'm managing to actually keep plants alive for a whole season I might turn my attention to that kind of thing! I'd be amazed if there weren't health and safety regulations in the UK that cover this? I mean, even bags of nuts here have the warning 'may contain nuts'.
 
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If I put nuts in my compost bin do I legally have to post a warning? How about when we peel chestnuts at Christmas?
I'm 59 so I figure the damage has already been done!
Well, at least I am old enough that there was hardly any plastic in my childhood. The lead soldiers can't have been too good for me, especially when we melted the broken ones down to make a keel for a sailing boat.
 
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If I put nuts in my compost bin do I legally have to post a warning? How about when we peel chestnuts at Christmas?

Well, at least I am old enough that there was hardly any plastic in my childhood. The lead soldiers can't have been too good for me, especially when we melted the broken ones down to make a keel for a sailing boat.
We keep hearing how life expectancy has improved, but when you look back at grandparents etc they didn't do bad!

My gran lived on Dartmoor all her life in a thatched cottage with no electricity, a well for water and an open fire. Until the day she died she'd hop across the stepping stones on the river as she went out onto the moors to gather fire wood. She was a little grey haired old lady that wore pink bloomers, had rickets and wore a hearing aid. An old fashioned granny. She was 83 when she died and her last day was spent exactly as every other day of her life.

She had three sons - one died in his 50's, one in his early 70's and my dad in his late 70's. None of their wives lived beyond their 70's.

I think they're manipulating the data to make it seem as if healthcare and better lifestyles is increasing life expectancy. It's likely the impact of fewer babies and young mums dying in childbirth.
 
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Well, I should be dead if not for modern medicine. I was badly burnt at birth and taken to Barnet hospital which had been a front line hospital during the Battle of Britain, best burn treatment in the world at the time. I have had a couple of major diseases, including TB. Then I contracted Wegeners , a form of vasculitis, about 1990. Before they had steroids in the '70s that killed people within two or three months of diagnosis, but as the immuno-suppressants have improved so has my treatment. I am cautious about Covid, at my age and immuno-suppressed it would probably finish me off.
Looking back what I do remember from my childhood are London smogs that left you coughing up black, that can't have done any good. The clean air acts were definitely a good step, and now we are starting to get to grips with car exhausts as well.
Generating electricity from nuclear sources and calling it 'clean' seems retrogressive, the waste needs to be contained for so long, and already we have well polluted the Irish sea with it, but the complex chemicals associated with plastics does seem like a major hazard.
 
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Well, I should be dead if not for modern medicine. I was badly burnt at birth and taken to Barnet hospital which had been a front line hospital during the Battle of Britain, best burn treatment in the world at the time. I have had a couple of major diseases, including TB. Then I contracted Wegeners , a form of vasculitis, about 1990. Before they had steroids in the '70s that killed people within two or three months of diagnosis, but as the immuno-suppressants have improved so has my treatment. I am cautious about Covid, at my age and immuno-suppressed it would probably finish me off.
Looking back what I do remember from my childhood are London smogs that left you coughing up black, that can't have done any good. The clean air acts were definitely a good step, and now we are starting to get to grips with car exhausts as well.
Generating electricity from nuclear sources and calling it 'clean' seems retrogressive, the waste needs to be contained for so long, and already we have well polluted the Irish sea with it, but the complex chemicals associated with plastics does seem like a major hazard.
My mum grew up in London and talked about the thick smog. Ironically, she never had breathing problems till we moved to Scotland - in the country. She then developed quite severe late onset asthma.
 
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My mum grew up in London and talked about the thick smog. Ironically, she never had breathing problems till we moved to Scotland - in the country. She then developed quite severe late onset asthma.
Exactly the sort of results that anecdotal evidence turns up. Partly I think it is remembered because it is remarkable.
It would be good if there were a properly funded, independent, university based body where one could ask such questions and get fact based replies. But I don't know which plastics do it, or under what conditions, let alone what it is they leech. I might have some idea about their chemistry if I was given names, but not of what effects it might have, or in what proportion of cases?
I am left in ignorance and so is everybody else.
The paranoid side of me says "If people are being kept ignorant it is usually for a bad reason, good causes are shouted from the roof tops', I wonder who would benefit from this? Who might find themselves restricted by public health legislation ? ", but of course the evidence is purely anecdotal. We are all actually responsible, we use it, we should be lobbying for research and knowledge.
 

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Can plastics leach chemicals into the soil? Yes at a slow rate.
Do they spread in the soil? Not significantly.
Are they taken up by plants? Probably not, plants are good at filtering out what they want from the soil.
The paranoid side of me says "If people are being kept ignorant it is usually for a bad reason, good causes are shouted from the roof tops',
Not necessarily; bad news gets trumpeted far louder and faster than good news.
It would be good if there were a properly funded, independent, university based body where one could ask such questions and get fact based replies.
If you have a few million any university would gratefully take it, do the work and tell you they need more money to reach a conclusion.
Microplastics are a major and growing problem there effects are being studied and some of the results are concerning; so use as little plastic as possible, recycle where practical.
In previous times things were far worse with arsenic and copper being used in plant sprays, lead paint was common. This usage resulted in the top meter or so of the soil in the walled garden at the new RHS garden at Bridgewater having to be treated as toxic waste.
 
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In previous times things were far worse with arsenic and copper being used in plant sprays, lead paint was common
Yes it was pretty awful, but they didn't know that, as we don't know how bad what we are doing is. I am not sure we can definitively say it was worse, it didn't cause huge floating islands of plastic in the oceans, what is leaching from them?
 
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Yet I would still say (based only on personal observations) that people used to live longer and healthier.
Kids don't die at a young age or during childbirth any more, but the price for that seems to be a massive increase in allergies, ADHD - and of course obesity in kids is getting out of hand. When I was at school in the 70s there was one fat kid in my class. By today's standards she'd probably be considered normal weight.
 
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Yet I would still say (based only on personal observations) that people used to live longer and healthier.
You would be wrong. There was a continuous increase in life expectancy from the 1840's (When it was about 40 years) until very recently, and a general decline in ill health, it is well documented. Recently Covid has decreased life expectancy. The figures are not all in yet there was probably still an overall increase, with more men than women dying. There have been ups and dons, when smoking took off among men it slowed, and again when women started smoking more. Women working made a difference as well. It seems quite likely that the larger numbers of men who died during covid was down to historical smoking and now so many of the more vulnerable have died the death rate is dropping, although Covid is still a very significant factor


Anecdotal evidence often leads to very inaccurate conclusions, but there have been careful recording and registration of births and deaths over the last hundred and eighty years, the chart below probably covers your lifetime, there are similar figures for % of life spent in good health.

United Kingdom - Historical Life Expectancy Data
YearLife ExpectancyGrowth Rate
202281.650.150%
202181.520.150%
202081.400.150%
201981.270.150%
201881.150.070%
201781.090.070%
201681.040.070%
201580.980.070%
201480.930.070%
201380.870.290%
201280.630.290%
201180.400.290%
201080.160.300%
200979.930.300%
200879.690.320%
200779.430.320%
200679.180.320%
200578.920.330%
200478.670.330%
200378.410.320%
200278.160.320%
200177.910.320%
200077.670.320%
199977.420.320%
199877.170.240%
199776.980.240%
199676.800.240%
199576.610.240%
199476.430.240%
199376.240.290%
199276.020.290%
199175.800.290%
199075.580.290%
198975.360.290%
198875.140.250%
198774.950.250%
198674.760.250%
198574.570.260%
198474.380.260%
198374.190.320%
198273.950.320%
198173.720.320%
198073.480.320%
197973.250.320%
197873.010.220%
197772.850.220%
197672.690.220%
197572.530.220%
197472.370.220%
197372.210.140%
197272.110.140%
197172.010.140%
197071.910.140%
196971.810.140%
196871.710.190%
196771.580.190%
196671.440.190%
196571.310.190%
196471.170.190%
196371.040.120%
196270.950.120%
196170.870.120%
196070.780.120%
195970.700.120%
195870.610.340%
195770.370.340%
195670.130.340%
195569.890.340%
195469.650.350%
195369.410.350%
195269.170.350%
195168.930.350%
195068.690.000%
 
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You would be wrong. There was a continuous increase in life expectancy from the 1840's (When it was about 40 years) until very recently, and a general decline in ill health, it is well documented. Recently Covid has decreased life expectancy. The figures are not all in yet there was probably still an overall increase, with more men than women dying. There have been ups and dons, when smoking took off among men it slowed, and again when women started smoking more. Women working made a difference as well. It seems quite likely that the larger numbers of men who died during covid was down to historical smoking and now so many of the more vulnerable have died the death rate is dropping, although Covid is still a very significant factor


Anecdotal evidence often leads to very inaccurate conclusions, but there have been careful recording and registration of births and deaths over the last hundred and eighty years, the chart below probably covers your lifetime, there are similar figures for % of life spent in good health.

YearLife ExpectancyGrowth Rate
United Kingdom - Historical Life Expectancy Data
202281.650.150%
202181.520.150%
202081.400.150%
201981.270.150%
201881.150.070%
201781.090.070%
201681.040.070%
201580.980.070%
201480.930.070%
201380.870.290%
201280.630.290%
201180.400.290%
201080.160.300%
200979.930.300%
200879.690.320%
200779.430.320%
200679.180.320%
200578.920.330%
200478.670.330%
200378.410.320%
200278.160.320%
200177.910.320%
200077.670.320%
199977.420.320%
199877.170.240%
199776.980.240%
199676.800.240%
199576.610.240%
199476.430.240%
199376.240.290%
199276.020.290%
199175.800.290%
199075.580.290%
198975.360.290%
198875.140.250%
198774.950.250%
198674.760.250%
198574.570.260%
198474.380.260%
198374.190.320%
198273.950.320%
198173.720.320%
198073.480.320%
197973.250.320%
197873.010.220%
197772.850.220%
197672.690.220%
197572.530.220%
197472.370.220%
197372.210.140%
197272.110.140%
197172.010.140%
197071.910.140%
196971.810.140%
196871.710.190%
196771.580.190%
196671.440.190%
196571.310.190%
196471.170.190%
196371.040.120%
196270.950.120%
196170.870.120%
196070.780.120%
195970.700.120%
195870.610.340%
195770.370.340%
195670.130.340%
195569.890.340%
195469.650.350%
195369.410.350%
195269.170.350%
195168.930.350%
195068.690.000%
Looking at data in this way is very misleading.

All of my grandparents were born around 1900 when the expected lifespan was 48 for men and 51 for women. Their mothers (lets assume their mothers were all 20 years old at the time) would be expected to live to 63 years old.

That implied that between 1880 and 1900 life expectancy dropped by 12 years. Of course, it didn't. But the figures are skewed by high numbers of infant mortality.

All of my grandparents lived to late seventies or eighties. 30 years or so beyond life expectancy at birth.

There are other factors such as occupation. My husband was raised in a poor area of Yorkshire where men drank life fish and worked in factories or mines. He doesn't know anyone from his family or home town that got out of their 60's. Almost every relative of mine of my grandparents generation - and their friends - got to around 80. The following generation haven't lived as long.

So yes, a child born today can expect to live much longer than a child born 100 years ago. But for people that get past the childhood danger zone and don't have dangerous careers I really don't think life expectancy is changing. Working class lifespan is probably increasing but not middle class. As middle class people never had illness due to poverty.

EDIT: This perhaps explains what I mean more clearly:

" If 50% of the population died before one year of age and 50% of the population died at 80 years of age, the average age of life expectancy is around 40 years even though 50% lived to 80 years of age. If you eliminate the infant mortality the life expectancy goes up to 80 years of age. This does not mean people are living longer, they are still dying at 80 years of age but the statistical average, the “life expectancy,” has increased."

I think the bottom line is that if you have food, shelter and basic sanitation you won't die younger than you should. Measles for example kills millions every year. People THINK measles deaths are prevented in the UK by vaccines, but in reality you can look back and see that deaths were largely prevented long before vaccines came along. Vaccine isn't a killer of healthy (well fed, warm, clean) kids.

We've prevented unnecessary deaths of kids and workers. But we haven't actually made people that live in good conditions live longer. And my observation tells me that people that live in good conditions are actually dying sooner.
 
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