ISTC was one of several expert organizations invited to provide information on microplastics at a public meeting hosted by Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison in Highland Park, IL, on August 14, 2019.
ISTC researcher John Scott discussed the current state of knowledge within the scientific community. He also discussed the current ISTC research on the topic.
Members of the public also asked questions and provided comments on the microplastics pollution issue. Two major themes arose from this discussion:
Do microplastics impact human health?
Panel consensus: There is a major gap in knowledge about the impact that microplastics have on human health. There are a few literature review studies available from epidemiology data, but no long-term health studies have been conducted on the impact to humans of exposure to microplastics.
What can we do to stop pollution and clean up microplastics?
Panel consensus: Shedd Aquarium wants to become a zero waste leader in the community to show businesses and organizations that reducing plastic use is not only possible, but also manageable. ISTC suggested that waste-to-energy processes, such as pyrolysis or gasification, could be a better alternative than landfilling plastic waste. Policies could be implemented to assist in the transition away from plastics, particularly single-use plastics for non-medical/non-disability purposes.