Chemistry professor David Tyler featured in The Atlantic magazine

UO chemistry professor David Tyler
UO chemistry professor David Tyler

Are cloth toys safer than plastic ones? UO chemist David Tyler helps answer a mother’s concerns in a recently published story in The Atlantic magazine and website.

Tyler, the Charles and M. Monteith Jacobs Professor of Chemistry, studies the life cycles of goods and materials. In an article published July 31, Tyler tells the writer that the answer depends on what environmental problem she cares about.

“Is global warming more important than toxicity?” Tyler asks. “The global-warming impact of most things made out of plastic is far smaller than, say, something made out of cotton.”

Tyler travels around the country giving “science pubs,” where he shares scientific breakthroughs and research in an informal and accessible atmosphere. Tyler says it is at these science pubs that he’s learned that most people care more about the immediate impacts than the long-range ones.  

In the end, Tyler advises the writer to let her daughter play with the doll that makes her happier.

“Look, your daughter gets a lot of enjoyment out of this doll, and if that makes her happy and she turns out to be a better person because she had this comfort as a child … ,” he concludes.

Read the full story here: “The Chemicals in a Plastic Doll

David Tyler is an Oregon expert in sustainable materials, plastics and natural gas. Learn more about Tyler and find more UO experts on the Media Relations website.