About the Shaw Institute | 30 Years of Environmental Impact Research:

“Improving human and ecological health through innovative science and global partnerships”

The Shaw Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit scientific research organization based in Maine and New York. Founded in 1990 by environmental health scientist Dr. Susan Shaw, its mission is to discover and expose environmental threats to people and wildlife through innovative science and to engage in global partnerships to improve human and ecological health. 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 around the world.


When Plastics Burn: Dr. Susan Shaw Addresses the Human Cost of the Plastic Crisis at the Plastic Health Summit

At the world's first Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam, Dr. Susan Shaw delivered a presentation on the extreme danger of burning plastics that was named "the most powerful talk of the Summit' by the event organizer, Maria Westerbos. Dr. Shaw's final sequence, “Children of the Plasticene," even moved audience members to tears with a devastating portrayal of children living and working on burning plastic dumpsites across the world.


Woodrow Wilson Fellow Dr. Susan Shaw on the Ethics of the Anthropocene at Muhlenberg College Campus

On October 22 to 25, Dr. Susan Shaw attended Muhlenberg College’s Center for Ethics, where she delivered a series of lectures on topics related to key health threats we face in the Anthropocene era, including the hazards of photochemicals, chemical exposure, plastic pollution, the legacy of the BP oil spill, and cancer in the fire service. Learn more here.

View Dr. Shaw's talk Science, Lies and Politics posted at TEDxMidAtlantic SUPERPOWERS

Science, Lies, and Politics | Susan Shaw | TEDxMidAtlantic


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

News & Events

Plastic Health Summit

October 3, 219
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The world's first international Plastic Health Summit unites leading scientists, policymakers, and innovators to deliver state-of-the-art research on micro- and nanoplastics, plastic additives, and health to the public. 
As US Science Liaison to the Plastic Health Coalition, Shaw Institute founder Dr. Susan Shaw will deliver an on-stage presentation about the extreme dangers of burning plastic facing millions worldwide. 
Watch Dr.Shaw's talk in full. 

Gulf of Maine 2050 – International Symposium

November 4 - 8, 2019
Portland, Maine

The Gulf of Maine 2050 international symposium will integrate environmental, economic, social, and institutional perspectives on emerging climate challenges and opportunities. Shaw Institute will present recent research on POPs, climate change, and water quality at the Poster Sessions on November 6 & 7. 

UAlbany Institute of Health & Environment Brown Bag Seminar

December 6
Albany, NY
Dr. Susan Shaw has been invited to give a seminar on "Plastic & the Toxic Chemistry of a World on Fire" by Institute Director Dr. David Carpenter. The seminar will explore the toxic threat of burning plastics facing millions worldwide. Dr. Shaw is an adjunct professor at the School of Public Health, SUNY-Albany 

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