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PITTSBURGH—More than 50 years after the passage of the national Clean Water Act, industrial polluters still regularly dump toxic chemicals linked to birth defects and cancer into local waterways, according to a new report.

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Researchers and consumers are calling on industries and institutions to phase out these chemicals and instead pursue safer alternatives that serve similar functions. But it's complicated.

Professor of environmental chemistry Martin Scheringer joins "The Great Simplification" podcast to discuss new research on PFAS and their ubiquity in waterways all over the globe. The conversation then turns to plastic pollution and what we might do about it.