Photograph showing plastic waste polluting the beach
Book Excerpt from Thicker Than Water
In Chapter 5, "Pick Up the Pieces," author Erica Cirino investigates the potential health risks of the small plastic particles that permeate the planet.
ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, Mario De Moya F
Book Excerpt from Thicker Than Water
Book Excerpt from Thicker Than Water

In Chapter 5, "Pick Up the Pieces," author Erica Cirino investigates the potential health risks of the small plastic particles that permeate the planet.

In Chapter 5, "Pick Up the Pieces," author Erica Cirino investigates the potential health risks of the small plastic particles that permeate the planet.

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, Mario De Moya F
ocean pollution
Problem plastic bottles and microplastics floating in the open ocean
Opinion: Plastic Pollution May Endanger Brains
Erica Cirino | Oct 1, 2021
Plastic waste pervades every ecosystem on Earth and is likely affecting neurobiology as well.
Image of the Day: Plastic Nests
Amy Schleunes | Mar 3, 2020
Seabirds in Norway use fishing debris to construct nests.
Two orcas underwater
Long-Banned Pollutants Will Decimate Orcas: Study
Shawna Williams | Sep 28, 2018
PCBs persist in the environment and accumulate in killer whales, driving their numbers down.
two manatees at the ocean floor
Mutated Gene Could Raise Marine Mammals’ Vulnerability to Pesticides
Shawna Williams | Aug 10, 2018
The resulting lost protein, PON1, breaks down organophosphates in land mammals.
Life Scientists Cut Down on Plastic Waste
Katarina Zimmer | Aug 1, 2018
Across the US, laboratories are finding creative ways to minimize the amount of plastic they throw away.  
cod hanging to dry above snow next to the sea
Just 13 Percent of Ocean Is Wilderness: Study
Shawna Williams | Jul 26, 2018
An analysis of 15 types of stressors finds humans are heavily affecting most sea areas.
Deepwater Coral Reefs Unlikely to Welcome Shallow-Water Animals
Sukanya Charuchandra | Jul 20, 2018
Historically thought to be a refuge for coral growing in the shallows, coral reefs from oceanic depths face similar threats, finds a new study.
What's a Good Consumer To Do?
Bob Grant | Jul 1, 2018
In a world beset by climate change, marine pollution, and dwindling natural resources, a member of the mushrooming human population pauses to consider his role.
Image of the Day: Plastic Feast
The Scientist Staff, The Scientist Staff | Oct 30, 2017
New research suggests that plastic might just “taste good” to hard corals.
Plastic Pollutants Pervade Water and Land
Ee Ling Ng | Jun 1, 2017
Contamination of marine and terrestrial ecosystems by microplastics is putting individual organisms at risk.
Infographic: Plastic Pollution
Ee Ling Ng | May 31, 2017
Both macroplastic items, such as bags, bottles, and other packaging, and products containing micro- and nanoplastic particles—from cosmetics to paints—contaminate the Earth’s ecosystems.
Behavior Brief
Ben Andrew Henry | Dec 22, 2016
A round-up of recent discoveries in behavior research
An Ocean of Plastic
Jef Akst | Dec 15, 2014
A new study surveys the extent of the plastic problem in the world’s oceans, estimating more than 5 trillion pieces weighing nearly 250,000 tons.