Why does glass not make nanoparticles?

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Why is glass seemingly healthier to use than plastic? Is it because it is more “natural?”

In: Chemistry

9 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Two main reasons:

1. Plastics have a tendency to break down into small particles, that can be then absorbed by your cells.
2. Glass is produced using a physical method. It is basically sand molten down and formed into a container. Plastic production is chemical. It involves usage of potentially harmful substances that may be then released from the product.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Glass is made of silicon, which doesn’t really react with anything. It’s a rock, basically. If you ingest small particles of it, it might get imbedded in some tissue, but won’t really cause any issues unless it’s in a very sensitive spot.

Plastic is made of hydrocarbons. And so are all the molecules in our bodies. Some of the plastics are similar enough to signalling molecules like hormones that our body will react to them. Microplastics in the environment is a little bit like microdosing hormones. It doesn’t have a big, immediate effect, but as they build up in our bodies, it can cause subtle shifts in our physiology. All the effects are unknown, but a suspected effect is a decrease in fertility.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because of the same physical characteristics that cause glass to be hard while plastic is inherently flexible. Plastic’s molecular adhesion is much lower by design so it’s easy for particles of it to slough off, especially when it comes to things like synthetic fabric being washed in washing machines or billions of tires driving around on roads. When glass gets broken down it breaks into big pieces first and then gradually smaller and smaller pieces until you just end up with sand and can’t be broken down any further by natural processes. Glass shards can be sharp but they aren’t going to make their way into your bloodstream. Eating light bulbs used to be a thing some people did to show off.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Glass does break down into small particles. The main difference is that plastics have a density around 1 whereas glass starts around 2.2. So glass particles will sink whereas plastics are close to neutrally buoyant and tiny particles can stay suspended in water for a long time.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Glass is just more durable than plastic, and when it does break, it’ll be in larger chunks rather than micro-shavings. Stuff like fiberglass is very bad because it doesn’t have these “safeties” of normal glass

Anonymous 0 Comments

Glass does make micro particles, they just kinda stop being meaningfully glass, you probobly do have a bunch of random silicon dioxide in your intestines from random dirt at all times, but that seems to not do much

Anonymous 0 Comments

It does, and acute exposure to it is called [silicosis](https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/silicosis). It’s pretty nasty. Don’t breath glass particles, kids.

Silica microparticles [have similar effects ](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7438384/)on cell cultures as plastic microparticles. That’s actually good news. Silica is in our drinking water, our air and our food. The fact that the earth’s surface is mostly silica that has been ground down continuously for billions of years, and we’re not all dead should tell us that small, largely inert particles don’t actually do that much in real world situations. It’s even accepted by the FDA as a food additive. Just like silica, microplastics are small, largely inert particles that are present in lower concentrations than silica is most situations. They’ve been shown to have bad effects in the lab, but always at concentrations millions or ever billions of times higher than we actually see in the environment.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Glass nanoparticles are called “sand”. Nature has evolved accounting for cleaning out sand and dust in limited amounts (though you can still get silicosis if you breathe in sand while using it for sandblasting, do not forget your PPE). Plastic is very resistant to natural filtering systems and is buoyant in water so it doesn’t even settle to the bottom.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Biggest source of microplastic in environment is from tires.

You cannot build tires made from glass.

That does not answer your question.

But it’s interesting to know, and we all learned something here.