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    Plastics and Human Health


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    Emeriti Professors College Lecture Series

    The UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and Emeriti Professors College invite you to join us for this inaugural lecture on World Environment Day 2024 as part of our new series celebrating the ongoing and vital contributions of our Emeriti Professors to the University and the Community-at-Large.

    Plastics and Human Health

    Speaker: Emerita Professor Sarah Dunlop, The University of Western Australia and Minderoo Foundation

    Plastic is incredibly cheap, versatile and has transformed our lives and economies. But, is it death by a thousand conveniences?

    Plastic is made from fossil fuel and is therefore a carbon emitter. As we transition to renewable energy, plastic is the fossil fuel industry’s Plan B and production continues to soar. We throw it away, often after a single use. It resists recycling with plastic pollution reaching every corner of the planet including the human body.

    This public talk uncovers plastic’s darker side stemming from the hazardous chemicals used to make it and the micro- and smaller nanoplastics which form as it breaks up. We know what to do as individuals and with an effective United Nations Global Plastics Treaty, but will we?

    Emerita Professor Sarah Dunlop is a neuroscientist who has made significant research contributions on recovery from neurotrauma, both chemical and physical, including protecting babies’ brains and for patients with spinal cord injury.

    She joined Minderoo Foundation in 2020 and established Plastics and Human Health whose mission is to drive change through high-impact scientific research. The tragedy of plastic pollution has not turned the dial, but establishing causal evidence for harm to human health should.

    Sarah’s former senior roles include NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Head of School Biological Sciences UWA, President, Australian Neuroscience Society and Accorded Status, Royal Perth Hospital.


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