Plastics

Most plastics contain organic polymers. The vast majority of these polymers are based on chains of carbon atoms alone or with oxygen, sulfur, or nitrogen as well. The backbone is that part of the chain on the main path linking a large number of repeat units together. To customize the properties of a plastic, different molecular groups hang from the backbone (usually they are hung as part of the monomers before the monomers are linked together to form the polymer chain). The structure of these "side chains" influence the properties of the polymer. This fine tuning of the repeating unit's molecular structure influences the properties of the polymer. Most plastics contain other organic or inorganic compounds blended in. The amount of additives ranges from zero percentage (for example in polymers used to wrap foods) to more than 50% for certain electronic applications. The average content of additives is 20% by weight of the polymer[citation needed]. Many of the controversies associated with plastics are associated with the additives.Organotin compounds are particularly toxic.

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