Microplastics: Are Acrylic Bong Users at Risk? | Westword

Do Acrylic Bongs Carry Microplastic Risks?

These cheap pieces are mainstays for Boomer and Gen-X weed smokers.
Cartoon character smoking weed
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Dear Stoner: My mom uses one of those old acrylic bongs. Not only can she afford a better one, but I think it's unsafe. Does the acrylic bong carry a risk of bad fumes or microplastics?
Froggy Jim

Dear Froggy Jim: Acrylic bongs are mainstays for Boomer and Gen-X weed smokers. Aging heads love smoking out of those cheap tubes of plastic polymer, usually with the same water from last week. Old habits die hard with parents and veteran stoners, though, and both of these demos rarely take advice from young people.

While we couldn't find any literature about microplastic risk in acrylic bongs, there is plenty of research showing that acrylic materials are capable of releasing microplastics. The fumes part is more defined: When exposed to temperatures around 140 degrees and higher, plastic used to make water bottles releases toxic fumes like BPA. Acrylic can withstand much higher heat, closer to 570 degrees, but that still isn't risk-free near a torch, and the cheap production of acrylic bongs and their metal bowl pieces often leaves a lot of long-term questions, too.
click to enlarge Gas mask bongs and acrylic bongs at a trade show
Acrylic bongs are cheap, durable and easy to clean. But are the safe?
Jacqueline Collins
You can't exactly "break" a piece of plastic on accident like a lamp or piece of glass you hate, like in the A Christmas Story. In this case, you'll have to get sneaky. Instead of arguing with your mom about the pros and cons of her smoking devices, I suggest that you don't bring it up at all — and then buy her a small, reputable glass bong. Tell her you got it for free, and chuck that acrylic relic in the trash the second she turns around. If you return in a week and she has another one, then it's time to give up. You won't win.

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