Pioneering environmental health scientist Susan Shaw has died at age 78

BLUE HILL, Maine – Susan Shaw, a pioneering environmental health scientist, toxicologist and author dedicated to researching ocean pollution, toxic chemicals and plastics in Maine and beyond, died late last month.

Shaw lived in Blue Hill since 1989, but had moved back to New York City recently. She died at her home on Jan. 27 after battling an illness. She was 78.

For decades, Shaw, the founder and executive director of the Shaw Institute in Blue Hill, fought against the hazards of chemicals and plastics to marine and human life. She is credited as the first scientist to reveal widespread contamination of fish and marine mammals in the northwest Atlantic from flame retardants leaching from furniture, documented the dangers of photographic darkroom chemicals, and launched the first studies into microplastics in the Gulf of Maine that led to state and national bans on microbeads.