Click on links below to listen to Sherri’s story.
Story Preservation recorded the personal narrative of Dr. Sherri A. “Sam” Mason on July 22nd on the campus of Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont.
While there has been much study and media attention focused on the spread of microplastics into our oceans, Sam has emerged as a leader in the small but growing study of their affects on lakes and rivers far from the coasts.
In 2018, The Heinz Family Foundation named Dr. Sherri Mason as the recipient of the prestigious 23rd Heinz Award in the Public Policy category. She is recognized for her groundbreaking research identifying the presence of microbeads and microfibers in fresh water, and for raising awareness of the potential impact of microplastics and associated contaminants on the food chain and human health, resulting in state, federal and international policy change.
Her work has drawn international attention to the threats posed by microplastics in freshwater and led to the enactment of the federal Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. Other countries are following suit. The Canadian and New Zealand governments banned microbeads in early 2018, and the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries are rolling out bans on microbead-laden products over the next two years. To date, 448 brands from 119 different manufacturers have promised to remove plastic microbeads from their products.
Dr. Mason is also using her expertise to expand her focus to include the presence of microplastics in drinking water. In March 2018, the results of a study conducted by Dr. Mason analyzed bottled water from nine countries — the U.S., China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Lebanon, Kenya and Thailand — and found that 93 percent showed some contamination from microplastics, or plastic debris less than one millimeter in length. Microplastics have also been found in samples of sea salt, freshwater sediment and even in air samples.
She currently serves in the role of Sustainability Coordinator at Penn State University, Behrend.
For more, go to http://www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative. Details can be found on our website.
INTRO TO RECORDING:
PLASTIC IS EVERYWHERE:
MICROBEADS AND MICROFIBERS:
TAP AND BOTTLED WATER STUDIES:
WHY WE NEED MORE SCIENTISTS:
This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.