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Understanding the microplastics threat

Demand for piano keys, billiard balls, and combs was going up in Europe even while getting hold of elephant tusks and tortoise shells was becoming more difficult as their population dwindled

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Prosenjit Datta
The history of synthetic plastics can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century. As with any invention, the discovery of synthetic plastics started as a quest to find a solution to some problems — in this case, the reduced availability of tortoise shells, and elephant ivory, used predominantly for making combs, billiard balls, piano keys, etc, in the 19th century.

Demand for piano keys, billiard balls, and combs was going up in Europe even while getting hold of elephant tusks and tortoise shells was becoming more difficult as their population dwindled.
 
A chemist named Alexander Parkes
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First Published: Apr 01 2024 | 10:54 PM IST

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