NALCO decision: another disgrace from BP oil spill?
Citing a federal legal technicality, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier has dismissed all claims against NALCO, the manufacturer of Corexit, the chemical dispersant used to break up crude oil gushing from BP's blown-out Deepwater Horizon/Macondo well. Read more >
CNN checks in with Dr. Susan Shaw about cleaning up oil spills
Dr. Susan Shaw recently spoke with CNN about a new technology to clean up oil spills using magnets and molecular-scale technology. Shaw became a sharp critic of using chemical dispersants to break up oil after diving into the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and is considered a leading expert on the impacts of toxic chemicals in our oceans. Read More >
Dr. Susan Shaw to Dive into Topics of Polluted Oceans, Toxic Chemicals and Human Health at Making Waves 2012 in Boulder
Leading marine toxicologist and ocean advocate will deliver a TED-style talk at Making WAVES 2012 in Colorado about ocean pollution and solutions to the issue, including a call to action for reform and a campaign to reduce toxic chemicals in our oceans. Read More >
NBC-TV News interviews Dr. Shaw on build up of toxic chemicals
in our oceans
Based on her pioneering research on the toxic legacy of man-made chemicals in the ocean environment, Dr. Shaw addressed the imperiled state of the world's oceans in a "207" program interview on NBC-affiliate station WCSH6 in Portland, Maine, on June 8.
View the video here (06:15)
Bangor Daily News Reports on Dangers of BPA
MERI adds scientific perspective to a discussion of the chemical's impacts
The Bangor Daily News consulted MERI to gain some insight into Governor Paul LePage's controversial comments on BPA, in which he denied there was any scientific evidence of BPA's impacts. But according to MERI's senior scientist, “BPA is one of the most well-studied chemicals, and it is just ludicrous to ignore the science. There is a large body of evidence about the hazards of BPA that is irrefutable.” Click here to read the article.
MERI Testifies on Environmental Rollbacks in Augusta
Director Dr. Susan Shaw asks Maine to remain an environmental leader
On February 14th, Dr. Shaw testified before Maine’s Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform. MERI has serious concerns about the impact of proposals released by the Maine Governor’s office in January, which would weaken or eliminate environmental laws and regulations—safeguards that protect human health as well as Maine’s natural environment and economy.
The proposals would roll back laws that restrict or eliminate toxic chemicals from consumer products, such as the Kid-Safe Products Act, which banned the neurotoxic flame retardant Deca in certain consumer products, and allows for the review and restriction of other dangerous chemicals like BPA in favor of safe alternatives. On the basis of sound science, including MERI’s testimony, legislators overwhelmingly passed this law, and the science has only become stronger. Parents and other consumers are demanding the end to the use of toxic chemicals in products that can harm their children during crucial stages of development.
The State of Maine has been a leader in addressing the issue of toxic chemicals and attempting to keep them out of our homes, our offices, our food chain and ultimately our children’s bodies. We cannot revert to Federal laws for protection; state legislators need to continue to protect Americans at the state and national levels. The Federal Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) is extremely weak and in dire need of a drastic overhaul to address the thousands of chemicals in use that are not currently regulated. And for every toxic chemical that is banned, the industry introduces a structurally similar chemical to replace it – without first having to prove its safety. Based on solid science, we should be increasing—not dismantling—our protections. Click here to read MERI’s testimony; watch it here.
Why Use Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals?
New comprehensive study concludes that there are better alternatives
Since the 1970s, an increasing number of fire regulations have expanded the use of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. Used in a wide range of consumer products, these chemicals are now recognized as harmful contaminants and some are known to cause health effects in animals and humans. The authors of a new study, including MERI's Dr. Susan Shaw, have concluded that impacts on environmental and human health outweigh any fire safety benefits. Fire-safe cigarettes, fire-safe candles, child-resistant lighters, sprinklers, and smoke detectors can prevent fires without the potential harm of flame retardant chemicals. Click here to view the article in Reviews on Environmental Health.
MERI Weighs in on Use of Aquaculture Pesticides
Controversy remains over role of salmon farms in lobster deaths
The Bangor Daily News interviewed Dr. Susan Shaw, MERI's director, for a report investigating possible contaminants used in aquaculture. Dr. Shaw said that the use of pesticides in salmon farms, particularly cypermethrin and deltamethrin, is a “huge cause of concern.” Both chemicals cause animals to go into convulsions and are “extremely toxic” to crustaceans, she said, and such pesticides' cumulative effects on the environment are largely unknown. Click here to read the full article. MERI has conducted its own research on contaminants in farmed salmon, which you can read here.
MORE Magazine Honors MERI's Director
Illustration by Daniel Adel
Marine toxicologist granted 'Noisemaker' award for her work in the Gulf
MORE's 2nd Annual Noisemaker Awards recognized MERI director Susan Shaw as one of 11 women who were "voices to be reckoned with" in 2010. Shaw was tapped "for warning America that the 'cure' for the oil disaster in the Gulf may be worse than the spill." According to MORE, "Shaw has become one of the most outspoken scientists on the subject of dispersants and the Gulf cleanup." MERI's director will continue to raise awareness: "It’s going to take us years, probably decades, to document the impact on human health and the environment,” she says. “I think the media has moved on from the story, but people like me will continue to speak out.” You can view the story in the December 2010/January 2011 edition of MORE Magazine. Click here for the online edition.
San Antonio Statement Questions Widespread Use Of Flame Retardants
MERI director among co-authors of statement in Environmental Health Perspectives
Signed by nearly 150 scientists from 22 countries, the statement raises concerns about a major class of chemicals used as flame retardants in consumer products like televisions, computers, cell phones, upholstered furniture, mattresses, textiles, and automobiles. The authors, including MERI’s director, Dr. Susan Shaw, point to the growing body of evidence that brominated and chlorinated flame retardants are accumulating in humans and the environment, harming unborn children, affecting people’s hormones, and playing a role in causing cancer. Such flame retardants may not even improve overall fire safety, they point out. They call not just for the use of alternative chemicals, but also innovative changes in product design which could reduce the need for toxic flame retardants. The statement's signatories are all experts in the study of environmental contaminants. To read the statement in Environmental Health Perspectives, click here. For the full press release, click here. To read the accompanying editorial, click here.
Department of the Interior Taps MERI Director
Strategic Sciences Working Group to help speed Gulf spill recovery
Some of America’s leading scientists have stepped up to bat for the Gulf of Mexico, including MERI's director, Dr. Susan Shaw. She has been named to the Strategic Sciences Working Group (SSWG), a unique cross disciplinary working group comprised of 14 scientists with the power to influence the highest levels of government. In May, the SSWG conducted a rapid scientific assessment of the spill’s potential consequences. In September, the group convened in New Orleans to go a step further and provide policymakers with the information they need to accelerate the region’s recovery. They have relied on Shaw’s expertise to understand the spill’s health impacts on wildlife and people. “There is no safe level for exposure to carcinogenic, mutagenic chemicals in oil,” according to Shaw. Click here to read the full press release. The SSWG press packet is available here.