Shaw Institute

The Shaw Institute is a nonprofit scientific institution based in Maine and New York with a mission to improve human and ecological health through innovative science and strategic partnerships. Founded in 1990 by leading environmental scientist Dr. Susan Shaw, the Institute is globally recognized for pioneering, high-impact research on plastics, POPs, climate change, and oil spills that has fueled public policy and societal change nationally and internationally.

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Shaw Institute has been a key thought-leader on microplastic pollution since 2011 when Dr. Susan Shaw launched the first microplastics research effort in the Gulf of Maine. The early discovery of an alarming amount of microplastics in Maine’s “pristine” coastal waters and shellfish (oysters and mussels) prompted a state and subsequent national ban on the use of microbeads in personal care products. Our findings to date suggest micro- and nanoplastics are pervasive in the food web. Our current research efforts to identify exposure levels, sources, and pathways, and elucidate the health effects of plastic and associated toxic chemicals in organisms and humans

The Shaw Institute and the Plastic Health Coalition share a common vision to advance understanding of human exposure and health effects of microplastics, to communicate that risk to a broad public, and to take bold, concerted actions to curb plastic pollution worldwide.

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