Drinking water systems across the U.S. are contaminated with the hazardous “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. The presence of these toxic chemicals in water is known to harm humans who are exposed to them.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Freshwater Fish Map shows how PFAS also contaminate the bodies of fish in rivers, lakes and streams, where these chemicals also pose a risk to human health.
There is virtually nowhere on Earth today that remains untouched by plastic and ecosystems are evolving to adapt to this new context. While plastics have revolutionized our modern world, new and often unforeseen effects of plastic and its production are continually being discovered. Plastics are entangled in multiple ecological and social crises, from the plasticization of the oceans to the embeddedness of plastics in political hierarchies.
The complexities surrounding the global plastic crisis require an interdisciplinary approach and the materialities of plastic demand new temporalities of thought and action. Plastic Legacies brings together scholars from the fields of marine biology, psychology, anthropology, environmental studies, Indigenous studies, and media studies to investigate and address the urgent socio-ecological challenges brought about by plastics. Contributors consider the unpredictable nature of plastics and weigh actionable solutions and mitigation processes against the ever-changing situation. Moving beyond policy changes, this volume offers a critique of neoliberal approaches to tackling the plastics crisis and explores how politics and communicative action are key to implementing social, cultural, and economic change.
Editors: Trisia Farrelly, Sy Taffel, Ian Shaw
Contributors: Sasha Adkins, Sven Bergmann, Stephanie Borrelle, Tridibesh Dey, Eva Giraud, Christina Gerhardt, John Holland, Deidre McKay, Laura McLauchlan, Mike Michael, Imogen Napper, Tina Ngata, Sabine Pahl, Padmapani L. Perez, Jennifer Provencher, Elyse Stanes, Johanne Tarpgaard, Richard Thompson, and Lei Xiaoyu.
Fossil fuels — coal, oil, and gas — lie at the heart of the crises we face, including public health, racial injustice, and climate change. This report synthesizes existing research and provides new analysis that finds that the fossil fuel industry contributes to public health harms that kill hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. each year and disproportionately endanger Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities. President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress have a historic opportunity to improve public health, tackle the climate crisis, and confront systemic racism at the same time by phasing out fossil fuel production and use.
In this report by Greenpeace, the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, and The Movement for Black lives, experts show how tackling this fossil fuel racism would go a long way to address our present overlapping crises and correct the injustices that historically targeted communities have faced. A fossil fuel phaseout — an immediate halt to new extraction and infrastructure build-out and managed wind-down of existing production that prioritizes the needs of affected workers and communities — is necessary to end fossil fuel racism and fully address
the public health, racial injustice, and climate crises.
Material Research L3C has launched an interactive website, materialresearch.world, which features a Global Atlas of toxic chemical production facilities and links to groundbreaking reports about them.
Founded in 2019, Material Research works with reporters, NGOs and community leaders to fill gaps in understanding toxic and unjust supply chains.
“Our mission is to gather and deliver information that unites communities around the world against toxic pollution and other injustices,” said Jim Vallette, president of the charitable and educational “low-profit” (L3C) company based in Southwest Harbor, Maine.
The Material Research Atlas of Toxic Chemical Manufacturing identifies 465 factories that it has investigated with its partners. For U.S. facilities, it provides links to greenhouse gas, toxic chemical and other EPA records and related reports. Material Research developed the Atlas with the support of the Geographic Information Systems Laboratory at College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine.
Vallette has noted that the Atlas is a precursor to a larger open access data initiative under development by the company and other partners.
Material Research World also features a Resources page, with links to dozens of reports by leading environmental and human rights organizations and news outlets.
Microplastics have been extensively documented in marine ecosystems and food webs with devastating impacts. To solve this global crisis, identifying the polymer composition is key for resolving the material origin, geographic source, and ecosystem life cycle of ocean plastics. Visually based techniques, importantly, are not diagnostic. Raman spectroscopy is an increasingly preferred identification method for its accuracy and reduced likelihood of misinterpretation, though it can be inaccessible due to cost of paywalled spectral libraries and availability of relevant polymer spectra for comparison. Here, we provide an open-access reference library of high-quality, broad-spectrum Raman spectra of major polymer categories germane to marine environments. The library includes high-quality spectra from: (a) pristine anthropogenic polymers newly sourced from manufacturers (n = 40), (b) weathered anthropogenic polymers collected from used consumer, beachcast, agricultural, and fishery sources (n = 22), and (c) biological polymers representing diverse marine taxa, trophic levels, and tissues (n = 17). We hope this reference library can help this rapidly expanding scientific community and facilitate progress in the global plastic pollution crisis.
Surface water samples taken around the western and northern regions of Iceland are assessed for plastics using a low-tech aquatic debris instrument (LADI), which is an accessible, homemade, low-cost version of a traditional manta trawl. Results show an assortment of meso- and microplastics across 6 sampling sites. A close look at sample composition is discussed, including its relationship to Iceland’s sizable commercial fishing industry. This study is among the first to quantify and identify microplastic particles collected in Icelandic nearshore surface waters.