One aspect of society's ambivalence over plastics relates to very genuine concerns about the environment. Most synthetic polymers are made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource; but this is not the greatest environmental danger that plastics present. Most plastics are not biodegradable: though made of organic materials, they do not contain materials that will decompose and eventually return to the ground. Nor is there anything in plastics to attract microorganisms, which, by assisting in the decomposition of organic materials, help to facilitate the balance of decay and regeneration necessary for life on Earth.
An article on Jan 10. about legal action against DuPont for chemical pollution referred incorrectly to DuPont’s response in the 1970s when the company discovered high concentrations of PFOA in the blood of workers at Washington Works, a DuPont factory. DuPont withheld the information from the ., not from its workers. The article also misstated the year DuPont agreed to a $ million settlement with the . It was 2005, not 2006. In addition, the article misidentified the water district where a resident received a letter from the district noting that PFOA had been detected in the drinking water. It was Lubeck, . — not Little Hocking, Ohio. The article also misidentified the district where water tested positive for PFOA at seven times the limit. It was Little Hocking, not Lubeck. And the article misidentified the city in Washington State that has fluorochemicals in its drink-ing water. It is Issaquah, not Seattle.