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Plastic Hangover - Charlie Rolsky and Rolf Halden - TEDxASU

Dr Halden and his graduate student Charlie discuss our societal addiction to plastic and how YOU can make a difference.

Dr Rolf Halden - Professor of Environmental Engineering at ASU

Rolf is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at Arizona State University, where he founded and directs the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. His research team is studying the consumption, behavior and health status of urban populations around the world via analysis of chemical and biological agents detectable in the urban water cycle. A recent success story of this work is the nationwide ban by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of ineffective, yet harmful antimicrobial compounds, including triclosan and triclocarban, that were commonly formulated into pharmaceuticals and personal care products.

Charlie Rolsky - ASU Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant in Biology

I conduct research in Rolf Halden's lab, within Biodesign's Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Here, I work on marine and aquatic microplastics which have emerged as a major source of concern within many ecosystems and environments. Their identification, fate, and impact are only now starting to be understood and we have developed several analytical tools to help improve upon this. We are collaborating with ASU's Fulton School of Engineering on several projects pertaining to microplastics as well as with many groups around the world. I have also worked for several years on using non-invasive research methods to collect species health information. This includes fecal samples from wild species such as killer whales. Through this information, we can gather all kinds of knowledge pertaining to hormonal activity in the realm of stress, reproduction, and overall species health. I have been a TA for over six years and actively participate in science outreach programs aimed at empowering budding scientists from elementary school to high school. I also run a non-profit where we design and sell clothing that have sciencey designs and all proceeds go to various charities from groups that train therapy dogs for at-risk kids to plastic pollution advocacy.