Conflicts in Chemistry: The Case of Plastics

Health

Health

Additives in plastic bottles are a rallying point for many concerned that plastics contain toxins.

Additives in plastic bottles are a rallying point for many concerned that plastics contain toxins.

You are concerned about the health risks of plastics. Plastic additives are increasingly present in human bodies, and studies suggest that these additives pose a threat. Though more research is needed, you believe the existing evidence mandates action. The government should regulate plastics and plastic additives until they are proven safe.

Read the Original Regulation and your group’s Goals and Recommendations for the final regulation, and use them to prepare answers to the following questions, which the Regulators will ask during the Hearing:

1.    Recycling in the United States is currently a function of municipal governments. Who should be responsible for plastic waste? Should the producers of plastics bear more of a burden than the consumers? What is the role of individual responsibility in addressing the matter of plastic waste?

2.    Only a small percentage of plastic waste in the United States is recovered for recycling, meaning most plastic trash goes into landfills. What is the best way to reduce the amount of plastic entering the waste stream? Is curbside recycling the best option? Do we need to develop new methods of recycling and fuel recovery? Or is reducing plastic production and consumption the best way to reduce waste?

3.    The goal of this hearing is to create a federal regulation that will effectively address concerns about plastics. What issues would governmental regulation of plastics most effectively address? What can be accomplished without governmental regulation that would improve the way we use and dispose of plastics? What new problems might result from these regulations?

4.    What historical cases, examples, or evidence provide useful lessons about the successes or failures of addressing the impact and implications of our uses of plastics?

5.    Do the problems caused by our use of plastics outweigh the benefits that they provide?

Researcher and Antitoxicity Advocate

An expert on environmental toxins and environmental law with a particular interest in the effect of chemical toxins on children.

Researcher of Endocrine Disruptors

A research scientist concerned about the poorly understood but potentially devastating effects of endocrine disruptors on human and animal populations.

Academic Researcher

A professor and scientist who studies the intersection between molecular science and public policy and harbors deep concerns about the potential toxic effects of plastics.

Senatorial Aide 

A legislative aide to a Senator who is a strong proponent of the “Non-Toxic Child Act,” and is interested in seeing elements of that law in the new regulations.

Antitoxicity Activist

A marine biologist and director of NOAA’s Marine Debris Program who is concerned about the toxic effects of plastic trash in the oceans.