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Associate professor and researcher at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Bethanie Almroth, joins the show to discuss her research and expertise in ecotoxicology and microplastics pollution.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Roughly how many chemicals are in plastic packaging materials, and under what conditions they could leach out and cause ecotoxicological or adverse human health effects
  • What kinds of plastic materials are being found on beaches and other spaces in the environment in very significant amounts, and what it is about these materials that makes them likely to end up in the environment
  • What are nurdles aka “mermaid tears” and what role do they play in ecotoxicology and environmental health and safety

For the past nine years or so, Almroth’s work has revolved around microplastics and the effects of plastic pollution on animal and environmental health. She describes her research as having two main tracks:

#1 What happens when fish are exposed to microplastics? How do the chemicals in these materials affect their health?

#2 Where and how are microplastics released into the environment and how do they travel through food chains? How do we approach the problem of plastic in the environment from a broad, social perspective?

“Plastic is not one thing; plastic is many things,” says Almroth. The market is dominated by a number of different types of polymers, which are the same polymers found in the environment. According to a report published early this year from China, 350,000 chemicals are registered for sale on the global market. In her own work, Almroth has helped show that there are approximately 1,000 toxic chemicals contained in plastic packaging materials that most of us interact with on a daily basis.

Almroth shares what she believes are the most compelling unanswered questions in the field of microplastics pollution and research. Tune in for all the details, and learn more by visiting https://www.gu.se/om-universitetet/hitta-person/bethaniecarney-almroth.

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK

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