The Not-So-'Micro' Plastic Problem: A Conversation with Matt Simon

September 27, 2023
4:00 pm US Eastern Time

You can watch the recording of this webinar here.

For this webinar, CHE-Alaska was joined by science journalist Matt Simon, author of the book A Poison Like No Other: How Microplastics Corrupted Our Planet and Our Bodies. In the book, Simon reveals a new dimension to the plastic dilemma – how microplastics break down into small enough pieces to enter lungs, be absorbed by crops, and infiltrate aquatic animals’ muscle tissues.  Microplastics represent a cocktail of toxicity: plastics can contain as many as 10,000 different chemicals. These include chemicals that are linked to diseases including cancers, diabetes, and other disorders associated with endocrine disruption.

Simon also discussed how the microplastic crisis pertains to the Arctic, which is becoming increasingly contaminated. In a recent article Simon published on Wired, he writes,

“As scientists have shown elsewhere, the team found that microplastics contamination in the Arctic has been growing exponentially and in lockstep with the growth of plastic production—which is now up to a trillion pounds a year, with the global amount of plastic waste projected to triple by 2060.”

Featured Speaker

Matt Simon is a science journalist at Wired magazine, where he covers the environment, biology, and robotics. He’s the author of two previous books, “Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World—and Ourselves” and “The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution’s Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life’s Biggest Problems.” He enjoys long walks on the beach and trying not to think about all the microplastics there.

This webinar was hosted by the CHE-Alaska Partnership, which is coordinated by Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT). Driven by a core belief in environmental justice, ACAT empowers communities to eliminate exposure to toxics through collaborative research, shared science, education, organizing, and advocacy.