For September’s CHE-Alaska webinar, we will be joined by science journalist Matt Simon, author of “A Poison Like No Other: How Microplastics Corrupted Our Planet and Our Bodies.” In the book, Simon reveals an entirely new dimension to the plastic dilemma – how microplastics break down into small enough pieces to enter lungs, be absorbed by crops, and infiltrate aquatic animals’ muscle tissues. Unlike other contaminants that are single elements or have simple chemical structures, microplastics represent a cocktail of toxicity: plastics can contain as many as 10,000 different chemicals – some which are linked to diseases from diabetes to cancers and other endocrine disrupting disorders.
Simon will also discuss how this latest aspect of the microplastic crisis pertains to the Arctic – which is becoming increasingly contaminated. In a recent article Simon published on Wired, he writes, “As scientists have shown elsewhere, the team found that microplastics contamination in the Arctic has been growing exponentially and in lockstep with the growth of plastic production—which is now up to a trillion pounds a year, with the global amount of plastic waste projected to triple by 2060.” CHE-Alaska is part of CHE’s broader network, an international partnership of nearly 5,000 individuals and organizations across 87 countries and all 50 US states dedicated to addressing environmental impacts on human health across the lifespan.
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About the speaker: Matt Simon is a science journalist at Wired magazine, where he covers the environment, biology, and robotics. He’s the author of two previous books, “Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World—and Ourselves” and “The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution’s Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life’s Biggest Problems.” He enjoys long walks on the beach and trying not to think about all the microplastics there.