About the Shaw Institute

Improving human and ecological health through innovative science and global partnerships

The Shaw Institute is a nonprofit scientific research organization founded in 1990 by environmental health scientist Dr. Susan Shaw. Over three decades, our research on plastics, ocean pollution, flame retardants, and climate change has informed public opinion and fueled policy, impacting millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide.

World on Fire

Along the West Coast, raging wildfires are burning millions of acres of land, destroying homes and claiming at least 35 lives. Smoke from the fires has caused the world's unhealthiest air quality in three states and is expected to travel as far as Europe at a devastating coast to human health. 

“With west coast fires ravaging millions of acres and hundreds of structures, we have a public health crisis that is unequivocally tied to climate change. As the fires consume homes, the toxic smoke from  burning plastic is a nightmare health threat for residents and people miles beyond the fire zone. Leadership at the federal level is urgently needed, not climate science denial.“ – Dr. Susan Shaw


Announcing Our New Research 2021

From plastic pollution to climate change, join Shaw Institute for a deeper look at our changing world and help us create a healthier future. See our new projects here.

The Plastic Threat to Maine Seabirds
Ocean Plastic as a Hub for Superbugs
Safeguarding the Maine Outdoors
Edge of Extinction: Marine Mammals of the Northern Hemisphere
Eye On Change: Sea Stars and Diet Risks of Commonly Eaten Vegetables

Dr. Shaw at the 2019 Plastic Health Summit: The Hidden Danger of Plastic in a World on Fire

Called the "most powerful speech" of the 2019 Plastic Health Summit, Dr. Shaw's onstage talk in Amsterdam reached a livestream audience of 400 million people. Now you can tune in to see "When Plastics Burn", an urgent call-to-action for our time.

Don't miss: Soundbite remarks from lead scientists at the Plastic Health Summit, courtesy of the Plastic Soup Foundation.


Focus Areas

Through its focused initiatives, the Institute addresses critical health and environmental issues related to toxic chemical exposure among people and wildlife. From ocean plastics to human and wildlfie exposure, we strive to bring science-based solutions to these priority concerns.

Human Exposure

Plastics and

Marine Wildlife Exposure

Oil Spill Response

Maine Coast Monitoring

Lecture Series

Your contribution supports our work to protect human and ecological health. Thank you


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