SCB Webinar Series – Science Can Drive Policy: The Untold Story of the Microbead Victory

Microplastic has been reported in every major open ocean and in many freshwater lakes and rivers. Microbeads, tiny plastic fragments or beads included in the ingredients of hundreds of products, are one of the many sources of this growing contamination in aquatic habitats. We estimate that the United States alone emits 2.9 trillion beads per year. If you line these microbeads up end to end, the US emits enough microbeads to wrap around the planet >7 times. Among mitigation strategies for microplastic pollution, we saw legislation banning microbeads as the low hanging fruit. This simple solution would prevent one form of microplastic from entering aquatic habitats. Thus, we got involved. We showed how the scientific evidence regarding microplastic was enough to support a ban on microbeads. We communicated this through the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) in a policy brief and in a Viewpoint published in Environmental Science and Technology. We delivered our work to policy makers who asked us to provide input on the text for several bills, including Maryland and California (the country’s strongest bills regarding this issue) and to testify in support of the bill in front of California Assembly Members. This webinar will cover these topics and more.

Dr. Chelsea Rochman is an Ecologist with emphases in Marine Ecology, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Chemistry. Her research interests cover the ecological effects of anthropogenic contaminants on wildlife and our resources (e.g. water, seafood). More specifically, her current focus is the implications of the infiltration of plastic debris into aquatic habitats. Chelsea is currently a Davis H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow in Conservation Biology working with Dr. Swee Teh in the Aquatic Health Program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and in the lab of Dr. Miriam Diamond at the University of Toronto, St. George campus.

To listen to the webinar, see this link: Recording Information