ANN ARBOR (AP) — Women scientists are conducting a series of expeditions on all five Great Lakes and the waterways that link them to call attention to the problem of plastic pollution.

Organizers say seven research vessels are leading the “eXXpedition Great Lakes 2016” event Saturday.

They’ll collect water samples that will be examined for the presence of tiny plastic debris known as “microplastics.” Some are beads added to beauty and health products as abrasives, which a new law has banned. But microplastics also come from other sources, including synthetic clothing fibers.

Researchers are studying whether the plastic bits can transfer toxins to fish and other organisms.

The seven lead research vessels in the expedition will have all-female crews. Leaders say they want to inspire young women to seek careers in science and engineering.


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