Dr. Scott Coffin has been studying plastic since 2014. He is a toxicologist and Research Scientist at California State Water Resources Control Board speaks with EcoJustice Radio about how microplastics are entering our environment, as well as ways to reduce exposure and solutions to the plastic plague.
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Microplastics: From Oceans to Human Bodies with Dr. Scott Coffin, Environmental Toxicologist
From the air we breath, to the water we drink, to the food we eat – microplastics are everywhere!
Microplastics, small, micro sized plastic fragments are showing up in our water sources, rain, drinking water, and beverages like beer. It is in food, salt, and seafood. Moreover, it has recently been found in human breast milk, placentas, human lungs, and blood. One report indicated that blue whales are consuming 10 million pieces of microplastic particles a day.
As plastic fragments, it continues to shed fibers smaller than a strand of human hair. Most the time we are unaware how and when this happens. Did you know, when you open a plastic cap on a bottle, you release thousands of particles. But then there is also our clothing, roads, artificial turf, food packaging, tea bags, or plastic that comes in contact with friction, hot liquid, or hot food.
Our guest Dr. Scott Coffin has been studying plastic since 2014. He is a toxicologist and Research Scientist at California State Water Resources Control Board speaks about how microplastics are entering our environment, what solutions are being put in place to assess risk and implement precautionary solutions, and how we might limit our own exposure.
The biggest human body entry point for micro plastics isn’t our water, food packaging, or clothing (which are still of great concern), it is the air we breathe.
Plastics and their chemical additives can be toxic, of the more than 10,000 unique chemicals used in plastics, more than 2,400 are of potential concern, most of which are unregulated.
So should we be worried about micro plastic in the environment and our bodies? What is the average level of human exposure? And is there enough evidence to prove that a health risk exists?
Dr. Scott Coffin is a research scientist and subject-matter expert for microplastics at the California State Water Resources Control Board, where he leads the agency’s efforts to monitor and manage microplastics pollution in drinking water and the environment. Dr. Coffin holds a PhD in environmental toxicology from the University of California, Riverside, and has been studying plastic’s impacts on the environment since 2014.
Jessica Aldridge, Co-Host and Producer of EcoJustice Radio, is an environmental educator, community organizer, and 15-year waste industry leader. She is a co-founder of SoCal 350, organizer for ReusableLA, and founded Adventures in Waste. She is a former professor of Recycling and Resource Management at Santa Monica College, and an award recipient of the international 2021 Women in Sustainability Leadership and the 2016 inaugural Waste360, 40 Under 40.
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