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Beyond Plastics: Endocrine Disruptors and State Policy Options

Start time October 3, 2023 - 7:00 pm
End Time October 3, 2023 - 8:00 pm
Event Details
Please join Beyond Plastics, the League of Women Voters and Bedford 2030 for a webinar discussion between Dr. Pete Myers and Senator Pete Harckham. What do we know about Endocrine Disruptors in plastic? What are they doing to our health and what are the most effective, politically feasible ways to reduce these toxins (and plastic pollution) from our lives?

Speakers: New York State Senator Pete Harckham, Chair of the New York Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, John Peterson ‘Pete’ Myers, Ph.D., CEO and Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, and Megan Wolff, Ph.D., MPH, Policy Director at Beyond Plastics.

In 1991, Dr. Pete Myers coined the term “endocrine disrupting chemicals” (EDCs) to describe chemicals capable of hacking the human body’s hormonal systems. Even at the time, it was clear that these chemicals could cause harm at extraordinarily low doses and that they were common additives in plastics. More than thirty 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 Myers and others have learned about EDCs has grown grimmer. Endocrine disruptors in plastic 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 Committee on Environmental Conservation (D, WF) 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 NY State Legislature when they reconvene in January, and is one of several promising state policy options to reduce the negative impacts of EDCs on human health.