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Endocrine Disruptors in Plastics: State Policy Options

Join us on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 7pm ET on Zoom for a conversation about endocrine disruptors with John Peterson 'Pete' Myers, Ph.D., CEO and Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, New York State Senator Pete Harckham, Chair of the New York Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, and Megan Wolff, Ph.D., MPH, Policy Director at Beyond Plastics.

In 1991, Dr. Pete Myers coined the term “endocrine disrupting chemicals” (EDCs) to describe chemicals capable of hacking the human body’s hormonal systems. Even at the time, it was clear that these chemicals could cause harm at extraordinarily low doses and that they were common additives in plastics. More than thirty years later, plastic pollution has become so widespread that microscopic flecks of plastic can be found in snow, soil, drinking water, and even human blood – and what Myers and others have learned about EDCs has grown grimmer. Endocrine disruptors in plastic are associated with a 50% decline in adult male sperm counts over the past five decades and are implicated in the enormous leap in rates of autism and ADHD among children. Moreover, it is clear that a great quantity of the plastic in our lives was never necessary in the first place. Approximately 42% of plastic currently under production is used for packaging, much of which is discarded as soon as it is used. It is critical that plastic reduction and safer, healthier alternatives become law. 

Many of our elected representatives are coming to recognize this reality. This past spring, New York State Senator Pete Harckham, Chair of Committee on Environmental Conservation (D, WF) introduced bold new legislation capable of reducing plastic packaging, strengthening recycling infrastructure, and banning several toxic plastic additives. The bill, The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S.4246-a/A.5322-a) will be considered by the NY State Legislature when they reconvene in January, and is one of several promising state policy options to reduce the negative impacts of EDCs on human health.

On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, please join the League of Women Voters and Bedford 2030 for a webinar discussion between Dr. Pete Myers and Senator Pete Harckham. What do we know about EDCs in plastic? What are they doing to our health and what are the most effective, politically feasible ways to reduce these toxins (and plastic pollution) from our lives?

Register now for this free webinar on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET.

Thanks to our co-sponsors for this webinar: Bedford 2030, Climate Reality Project/Westchester, Environment Advocates NY, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Grassroots Environmental Education, Mothers Out Front NY, NY Society for Ethical Culture, NYPIRG, Physicians for Social Responsibility NY, Physicians for Social Responsibility PA, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Sustainable Westchester, RAC-NY (Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism), Riverkeeper, and Teatown Reservation.

John Peterson 'Pete' Myers, Ph.D. is founder, CEO and Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, a not-for-profit organization that promotes public understanding of advances in scientific research on links between the environment and human health. Dr. Myers holds a doctorate in the biological sciences from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA from Reed College. Along with co-authors Dr. Theo Colborn and Dianne Dumanoski, Myers wrote “Our Stolen Future,” a book (1996) that explores the scientific basis of concern for how contamination threatens fetal development. Dr. Myers is now actively involved in primary research on the impacts of endocrine disruption on human health. He has also served as Board President of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, an association of more than forty foundations supporting work on biodiversity, climate, energy and environmental health and board chair of the H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. In 2016 he received a Laureate Award for Outstanding Public Service from The Endocrine Society, the world’s largest association of medical and research professionals specializing in endocrinology. In November 2016 he received along with 11 others, the first “Champion of Environmental Health Research” award from the National Institutes of Health.

Senator Pete Harckham was elected to the New York State Senate in November 2018, and re-elected in 2020 and 2022—the culmination so far of a distinguished career in public service. Currently, he is chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.Through his two full terms in office, Harckham has become one of the most productive members of the New York State Senate. He worked to make the 2% Property Tax Cap permanent; delivered record aid to education; and addressed the opioid crisis by doubling minimum treatment times and reducing barriers to life saving treatment.Well-regarded as a champion of the environment, Harckham helped pass the toughest climate protection legislation in the nation, and also introduced legislation, later enacted, requiring all new passenger car and truck sales to be zero emission by 2035 and allowing municipalities to build solar canopies and jumpstart community renewable energy projects. Earlier this year, Governor Kathy Hochul placed Harckham’s landmark wetlands legislation protecting Class C streams statewide, which will safeguard fragile drinking water resources, into her proposed 2023 State Budget.

Megan J. Wolff, Ph.D., MPH is a public health historian with an eye to using history to inform policy. After receiving her masters and doctorate in public health from Columbia University, she spent over a decade at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she developed a mental health policy initiative within the Department of Psychiatry. She believes that climate change is the greatest threat to health and well-being in contemporary life, and that overproduction of plastics touches on every phase of the climate fight. She lives with her family in New Paltz, New York.

Elisabeth (Beth) Radow is the managing attorney of Radow Law PLLC. Beth’s law practice and pro bono work focuses on real estate, real estate finance, the environment and sustainability.  Beth has chaired the Committee on Energy, Agriculture and the Environment for the League of Women Voters of New York State since 2010.  

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December 2

Virtual Grassroots Organizing Training