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Humans may consume up to a credit card's worth of plastic each week; local researchers discuss how to prevent it

Five smiling people wearing headphones sit at a table in a radio talk studio: A woman front left has long brown hair and is wearing a green top; a man front right has short grey hair and is wearing a blue plaid button-down shirt and jeans; a woman back left has short grey hair and is wearing a red top; a woman back right has curly dark hair and is wearing a black sweater and floral top; a man at right has short dark hair and is wearing a blue pullover and jeans.
Mari Tsuchiya
(foreground) Sami Romanick, Matt Hoffman, (background) Katrina Korfmacher, and Christy Tyler on "Connections with Evan Dawson" on Monday, April 22, 2024

Research shows humans may consume hundreds of plastic particles each day – up to a credit card’s worth every week. How do these particles get into our ecosystems and our bodies?

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Rochester Institute of Technology are studying this question. They recently received a $7.3 million dollar grant to establish the Lake Ontario Center for Microplastics and Human Health. The center’s work will focus on how plastic waste enters the Great Lakes and how it affects the health of humans, wildlife, and the environment.

Our guests this hour discuss their research and what it means for the community.

In studio:

  • Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Ph.D., professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Christy Tyler, Ph.D., professor in the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology   
  • Matt Hoffman, Ph.D., professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics in the College of Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology  
  • Sami Romanick, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow in biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester Medical Center            

*Note: For information about Sami Romanick's lecture at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, click here.

Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.