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Societal benefits of plastics
(a) Improved consumer health and safety
Plastics contribute to the health and safety of consumers in food and water packaging applications. Water has become a critical focus in urban areas, and plastics provide the mechanism for the supply and storage of clean drinking water. Additionally, plastics are lightweight, easy to manufacture and are installed in a range of diverse water control and distribution systems (e.g. sewerage, storm water, land drainage and irrigation). Plastic food packaging allows safe, time-dependent storage of fresh produce and other food, using temperature and atmosphere control inside the package (using gas-flush packaging and oxygen scavenger technology). In addition, the quality of packaged foods (especially time–temperature history) can be monitored with low-cost indicator labels built into the packaging (M. A. Neal 1990–1995, personal communication).