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Smith, Kennedy Statements on Testimony from Today’s Joint Hearing and Human Health Risks Posed by Plastics

The Chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, Senator Bob Smith and the Chair of the Assembly Environment, Natural Resources, and Solid Waste Committee Assemblyman James Kennedy released the following statements on the expert testimony heard at today’s joint hearing, held on Earth Day, on the issue of plastic pollution and its threats to human health: 

Statement by Senator Smith: 

“Today’s testimony highlights the increasing and varied dangers posed by the proliferation of plastics in our environment and, ultimately, in our bodies,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “Microplastics are now all around us, in the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. With constant exposure to these plastics and the chemicals involved in their production comes serious health risks, including an increased risk of cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as threats to reproductive health and fertility. 

“Though we have taken steps to reduce the prevalence of plastic in our environment, especially as it relates to single-use plastics such as shopping bags and food containers, it is clear that the scale of this issue warrants further action,” continued Senator Smith. “I intend to work with my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly to develop legislation to further limit plastic use, so that we can better protect both the public and the environment from the negative impacts posed by plastics.”

Statement by Assemblyman Kennedy:

“To date, the Legislature has passed numerous bills to protect our environment, most notably the enactment of our successful plastic bag ban. Today’s hearing presented us with an opportunity to discuss the health risks associated with plastics and microplastics, such as endocrine disruption and cardiac incidents. The testimony we heard underscores the urgency of our ongoing efforts to create better and more robust environmental protections for the well-being of New Jersey residents,” said Assemblyman James Kennedy (D-Somerset/Union).

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the committee as well as advocates to find new ways to combat plastic pollution and implement measures to safeguard both public health and the environment from its harmful impacts.”

To hear the testimony, the archived proceeding can be found via the OLS website (Archived Proceeding: NJ Legislature).