Plastics are omnipresent but minimally understood and regulated in the United States. The lecture focuses on the dangers that chemicals in plastics pose to human health, particularly via leaching into food and water. Plastics are regulated by the Toxic Substance Control Act, which gives the Environmental Protection Agency the responsibility of testing to ensure that plastics do not adversely affect human health. When plastics can leach into food, the Food and Drug Administration can demand testing. Professor Wargo shows how oversights have led to limited labeling of hazardous plastics, which results in consumers having limited means of protecting themselves from harm.
Wargo, Green Intelligence, chapter 17
Can law change human behavior to be less environmentally damaging? Law will be examined through case histories including: environmental effects of national security, pesticides, air pollution, consumer products, plastics, parks and protected area management, land use, urban growth and sprawl, public/private transit, drinking water standards, food safety, and hazardous site restoration. In each case we will review the structure of law and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2010.