Dr. Megan Wolff, Ph. D, MPH, will moderate a conversation between John Peterson “Pete” Myers, Ph.D., CEO and chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences and co-author of the landmark book “Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence and Survival? A Scientific Detective Story” and New York State Senator Pete Harckham, chair of the New York Environmental Conservation Committee and sponsor of a landmark packaging and plastic reduction bill in New York State. The bill would reduce plastic packaging by 50% over the next 12 years.
In 1991, Dr. Pete Myers coined the term “endocrine-disrupting chemicals” (EDCs) to describe chemicals capable of hacking the human body’s hormonal systems. From the start, it’s been clear that these chemicals that are common additives in plastics can cause harm even at extraordinarily low doses. More than 30 years later, plastic pollution has become so widespread that microscopic flecks of plastic can be found in snow, soil, drinking water, and even human blood — and what Dr. Myers and others have learned about EDCs has grown even grimmer. Endocrine disruptors in plastics are associated with a 50% decline in adult male sperm counts over the past five decades and are implicated in the enormous leap in rates of autism and ADHD among children.
Moreover, it is clear that a great quantity of the plastic in our lives was never necessary in the first place. Approximately 42% of plastic currently under production is used for packaging, much of which is discarded as soon as it is used. It is critical that plastic reduction and safer, healthier alternatives become law.
Many of our elected representatives are coming to recognize this reality. This past spring, New York State Senator Pete Harckham, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, introduced bold new legislation capable of reducing plastic packaging, strengthening recycling infrastructure, and banning several toxic plastic additives. The bill, the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S.4246-a/A.5322-a), will be considered by the New York State Legislature when it reconvenes in January, and is one of several promising state policy options to reduce the negative impacts of EDCs on human health.
Hope you can join! Please extend this invitation to your friends, family, neighbors, and elected representatives.