Calm lake reflecting sky with boat in foreground
Plastic Pollution Boosts Bacterial Growth in Lake Water
A study finds that not only did aquatic bacteria thrive when chemicals washed from degrading plastic were introduced into lake water, they also broke down organic matter more efficiently.
Plastic Pollution Boosts Bacterial Growth in Lake Water
Plastic Pollution Boosts Bacterial Growth in Lake Water

A study finds that not only did aquatic bacteria thrive when chemicals washed from degrading plastic were introduced into lake water, they also broke down organic matter more efficiently.

A study finds that not only did aquatic bacteria thrive when chemicals washed from degrading plastic were introduced into lake water, they also broke down organic matter more efficiently.

plastics
Close-up of a fiber with brightly colored pathogens beside it
Microplastics in Seawater May Harbor Parasites
Christie Wilcox | Apr 26, 2022
Laboratory experiments find that Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia can congregate on microplastic beads and fibers, suggesting they might make their way into and around the world’s oceans by hitching rides on tiny bits of trash.
Photograph showing plastic waste polluting the beach
Book Excerpt from Thicker Than Water
Erica Cirino | Oct 1, 2021
In Chapter 5, "Pick Up the Pieces," author Erica Cirino investigates the potential health risks of the small plastic particles that permeate the planet.
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.
Special report
a hand in a blue glove holds a clear plastic multiwell plate in a laboratory with foil-wrapped plates on a metal shelf in the background
Labs Worldwide Still Struggling Amid Broken Supply Chains
Katarina Zimmer | May 21, 2021
Countries outside the US and Europe that are already used to long wait times for laboratory supplies are facing greater research disruptions than ever during the pandemic.
Baby Bottles Can Shed Millions of Microplastic Particles: Study
Max Kozlov | Oct 19, 2020
The project did not assess any implications for children’s health, but the authors recommend changing up how parents use baby bottles to reduce the amount of plastic in formula or breastmilk.
superworms polystyreme styrofoam Zophobas atratus
Beetle Larvae Can Survive on Polystyrene Alone
Nayanah Siva | Mar 11, 2020
Also known as superworms, the scavengers are able to digest the plastic, opening up the possibility of harnessing their abilities to help tackle our pollution crisis.
Image of the Day: Plastic Nests
Amy Schleunes | Mar 3, 2020
Seabirds in Norway use fishing debris to construct nests.
Image of the Day: Impaired Meiosis
Amy Schleunes | Feb 7, 2020
A phthalate commonly found in shampoos, cosmetics, and cleaning products disrupts reproduction in worms.
UCL to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics, Including Pipette Tips
Katarina Zimmer | Oct 25, 2019
Britain’s largest university aims to eliminate single-use plastics, in the lab and elsewhere around campus, by 2024. How exactly the institution plans to meet that goal is yet to be determined.
Image of the Day: What We’ve Dumped
Carolyn Wilke | Jan 10, 2019
Researchers collected trash that washed up at Gulf Coast shoreline sites over two years. Most of it was plastic.
BPA and Its Replacements Have Same Effects on Mice
Kerry Grens | Sep 13, 2018
The plastic ingredients BPS and diphenyl sulfone cause chromosomal abnormalities, and the effects can last for generations.
Giant Trash Collector Launched to Scoop Up Ocean Waste
Catherine Offord | Sep 10, 2018
The 600-meter-long structure will tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a huge buildup of trash floating between California and Hawaii—but not everyone thinks it will work.
Plastics Emit Greenhouse Gases as They Degrade
Shawna Williams | Aug 2, 2018
The materials are a previously unaccounted-for source of methane and ethylene, researchers find.
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.  
Organic Fertilizers Rife With Microplastics: Study
Shawna Williams | Apr 4, 2018
Converting biowaste to plant food is an overlooked source of tiny plastic pollutants, researchers say.
FDA Report on BPA’s Health Effects Raises Concerns
Ashley Yeager | Feb 27, 2018
The pre-peer review assessment finds the compound has “minimal effects,” but endocrinologists and others say key data have yet to come out.
The Best Multimedia of 2017
Catherine Offord | Dec 27, 2017
Editors’ picks of the year’s best in The Scientist infographics.
Image of the Day: Plastic Feast
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Oct 30, 2017
New research suggests that plastic might just “taste good” to hard corals.
Opinion: Toxic Time Bombs
Robert Martin | Sep 25, 2017
Decades of evidence point to the untoward health effects of endocrine disruptor exposures, yet little is being done to regulate the chemicals.