"THIS EYE-OPENING AND EDUCATIONAL DOCUMENTARY...WILL MAKE YOU SIT UP, LISTEN AND RECONSIDER YOUR LIFESTYLE AND DIET CHOICES." - JENNIFER TATE, VIEW LONDON
HOME // THE EXPERTS
In 1994 Charles founded the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. In 1995 he launched his aluminum hulled research vessel, Alguita, in Hobart, Tasmania. Since then he has logged over 100,000 miles of research voyages aboard. His 1999 study shocked the scientific world when it found 6 times more plastic fragments by weight in the surface waters of the central Pacific than the associated zooplankton. His second paper found that plastic outweighs zooplankton by a factor of 2.5 in the surface waters of Southern California.Those papers on oceanic plastic particulate pollution, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, and his review article "Synthetic polymers in the marine environment: A rapidly increasing, long term threat" published in Environmental Research, contributed to his reputation as a world-renowned investigator in this field.
His study of discharges by plastic processors resulted in the passage of a "Nurdle Bill" to prohibit the discharge of pre-production plastic pellets in the state of California. His work has been featured on Nightline, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, Rolling Stone, and The Wall Street Journal, and the National Geographic special "Strange Days on Planet Earth."
PROFESSOR VYVYAN HOWARD
Vyvyan Howard is Professor of Bioimaging at the University of Ulster, a medically-qualified toxico-pathologist and the current leader of the Nano Systems Research Group. He has held the Presidencies of the Royal Microscopical Society and the International Society for Stereology and was the General Editor of the Journal of Microscopy from 1985-91, the period when both confocal and scanning probe microscopy were becoming established. He is co-author of 'Unbiased Stereology' - the main textbook for the application to 3D measurement in microscopy, otherwise termed stereology, a field in which he has contributed and published widely. From 2007 to 2009 he was the President of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, an organisation representing some 30,000 medical doctors around the world which has WHO and UN recognition. He served on the DEFRA Advisory Committee on Pesticides from 2002-2008 as a toxicologist.
DR ANA M SOTO
Dr Ana M Soto is a professor of cell biology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, USA, and a member of the Centre Cavailles for the study of history and philosophy of science at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France. Her research interests include the mechanisms of steroid hormone action, the control of cell proliferation, breast and prostate neoplasias, and endocrine disruptors. Regarding the control of cell proliferation, in collaboration with Dr Sonnenschein she developed evidence indicating that the default state of metazoan cells is proliferation. Regarding carcinogenesis, also in collaboration with Dr Sonnenschein she proposed the tissue organization field theory, which posits that cancer is a problem of tissue organization. Consequently, she is studying the role of stroma-epithelium interactions in mammary gland carcinogenesis and in tumor regression.
Regarding endocrine disruption, again in collaboration with Dr. Sonnenschein, she developed assays for detecting estrogenicity and androgenicity (E-SCREEN and A-SCREEN assays) and identified novel xenoestrogens. She is currently studying the mechanisms underlying xenoestrogen-induced alterations of the development of the female genital tract, the neuroendocrine system and the mammary gland. She has been a member of national and international advisory panels on Endocrine Disruptors and on breast cancer research. Dr Soto also works on the clarification of epistemological issues arising from the study of complex biological phenomena.
PROFESSOR RICHARD THOMPSON
School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University Professor Richard Thompson's research focuses on three main topics (1) the effects of plastic debris in the marine environment (2) the ecology and conservation of shallow water habitats and (3) habitat modification to enhance biodiversity of marine engineering such as coastal defences and off-shore renewable energy devices. He has been working on the effects of plastic in the marine environment for over a decade.
In 2004 his group showed that waters around the north-east Atlantic had become contaminated by microscopic fragments of plastic or microplastic and that the abundance of this material had increased significantly over the last 40 years. These microplastic fragments some of which were smaller than the diameter of a human hair appear to have formed by the breakdown of everyday items such as plastic bags, bottles, rope and materials used in packaging. His group is at the forefront of research to establish the environmental consequences of this newly described form of debris.
PROFESSOR ANDY CUNDY
Professor Andy Cundy joined the University of Brighton in 2006. His research interests cover a number of fields in Applied Geology and Environmental Management. He has carried out research in four continents in projects funded by government, nuclear site owners, the Environment Agency, the European Union and private industry. In 2011 he was Visiting Professor at the Department of Earth and Marine Science, University of Palermo, Sicily. He manages the gamma spectrometry facility at Brighton University and leads the geology research area.
PAUL D JEPSON
After two years in clinical veterinary practice Dr Jepson joined the Institute of Zoology in 1993 as the co-ordinator of the Cetacean Strandings Project within England and Wales. Since 2000 he has been the Project Co-ordinator of the Defra-funded UK Cetacean Strandings Project (UKCSP). The UKCSP, initiated in 1990, is a long-term national research programme using systematic and standardised methodologies to investigate the causes of morbidity and mortality in UK cetacean species. Marine turtles have also been added to this remit. The research contributes to the UK Government's commitment to a number of international conservation agreements. His specific areas of research interest involve the pathological investigation of causes of morbidity and mortality in marine mammals (both cetaceans and pinnipeds), with particular emphasis on the potential relationships between their health status and their exposure to environmentally persistent and bioaccumulative pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals.
His doctoral thesis specifically investigated the potential relationships between contaminant exposure and health status in UK-stranded harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). He also participated in a (WWF-UK-funded) project with colleagues at the Institute of Zoology investigating potential relationships between "endocrine-disrupting" chemicals and indices of testicular development in harbour porpoises using (immuno-)histological methods.
DR PAUL CONNETT
Dr Paul Connett was a full tenured chemistry professor at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, until his retirement in May 2006. Besides teaching, Dr. Connett has, for the past 20 years, given over 2000 pro-bono public presentations on incineration and waste management in 49 states in the US, 7 provinces in Canada and 46 other countries. He has co-authored 6 peer reviewed and published papers on dioxin; co-edited the newsletter Waste Not; provided expert testimony in court cases; critiqued numerous health risk assessments and co-produced over 50 videos on waste issues, including a 10-part series on dioxin.
DR NGUYEN THI NGOC PHUONG
Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong is the Director of Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City [HCM City] and chairperson of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. She is Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Medical University of HCM City and Director General of Ngoc Tam Hospital Corporation of HCM City. Dr. Phuong has researched and published extensively on the deleterious health impact of Agent Orange on the people of Vietnam including the impact of toxic chemicals on reproductive outcomes, dioxin induced risk to pregnancies, and women giving birth to grossly deformed babies as seen at the OB/GYN Hospital in HCM City. Dr. Phuong has coauthored articles with American scientists on Agent Orange and the risk of gestational tropoblastic disease in Vietnam and chlorinated dioxins and dibenzofurans in human tissues from general populations.
As Director of Tu Du Hospital, Dr. Phuong established a "pregnant care network" to promote appropriate and quality births for women in remote areas of Vietnam. She established a training program for rural midwives from various ethnic minorities living in the Central Highlands who use their ethnic languages to educate people about reproductive health issues. Dr. Phuong is a member of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group and she writes and lectures widely and has testified before numerous government and scientific bodies, including the United States Congress.
DR GAVIN TEN TUSSCHER
Gavin ten Tusscher, PhD is a specialist paediatrician and member of the EU Technical Group on Bio-Monitoring of Children. He was awarded his doctorate in 2002 for a thesis on the long-term health effects for children of dioxin exposure at birth.
DR LINDA BIRNBAUM
Linda S. Birnbaum is Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Toxicology Program Division. Dr. Birnbaum has received numerous awards, including the Women in Toxicology Elsevier Mentoring Award, the Society of Toxicology Public Communications Award, EPA Health Science Achievement Award and Diversity Leadership Award, and 12 Science and Technology Achievement Awards. She is the author of several hundred peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, abstracts, and reports. Dr. Birnbaum received her M.S. and Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Illinois, Urbana. A board certified toxicologist, Dr. Birnbaum has served as a federal scientist for 30 years - 19 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, and the first ten years at NIEHS as a senior staff fellow at the National Toxicology Program, then as a principal investigator and research microbiologist, and finally as a group leader for the Institute Chemical Disposition Group.
MARCUS ERIKSEN PhD
Marcus Eriksen is currently the Executive Director of the 5 Gyres Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Science Education from University of Southern California in 2003, months before embarking on a 2000-mile, 5-month journey down the Mississippi River on a homemade raft of plastic bottles. His experience on the river led to a career studying the ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution, which has included 8 expeditions sailing 25,000 miles through all 5 subtropical gyres to discover new garbage patches of plastic pollution in the Southern Hemisphere and beyond. He and his wife, Anna Cummins, founded the 5 Gyres Institute, which is committed to marine conservation through continued research, education and adventure, studying and lecturing about the plague of plastic waste in our watersheds and in the sea. His work with Algalita, since 2004, continues today with collaborative expeditions and published work.
DR PHILLIP R COWIE
Dr Phillip Cowie is a lecturer in Marine Biology & Microbiology at the University Marine Biological Station Millport, UK. His initial research interests focussed on the composition of estuarine communities and their resilience to physical disturbance events. Subsequently, his research has followed three main themes: 1) marine microbial ecology with a focus on marine naked amoebae; 2) marine biofouling from the development of initial microbial biofilms to multi-species macrofouling communities and 3) plastics contamination of the marine environment. His research activities related to marine protozoology focussed on examining the role of marine naked amoebae within intertidal habitats and the forcing factors which influence intertidal amoebae community composition. Several publications have arisen from this work. His second main stream of research, biofouling communities, developed through working on a 3-year EU contract 'BRIMOM' (Biofouling Reduction Infrastructure for Measuring, Observing and Monitoring).
This work involved developing modifications to prevent biofouling on oceanographical monitoring equipment. He is currently conducting anti-fouling testing for several commercial companies and developing experiments to examine long-term changes in intertidal and subtidal epifaunal communities. His interest in plastics contamination of the marine environment developed from his monitoring of the biofouling communities that develop on different materials (including plastics) placed into the sea. Subsequent research with Masters students (papers in prep.) has focussed on the potential for marine organisms in the Clyde Sea Area to be affected by discarded plastic materials of different kinds.