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Microbead researcher among 6 recipients of Heinz Awards

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A scientist who warned about the environmental threat of microbeads is one of six people being honored with $250,000 cash awards from the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Family Foundation.

The annual Heinz Awards recognize achievement in the arts, public policy, the economy and other areas. The recipients of the 23rd annual awards were announced Tuesday.

Among them are SUNY Fredonia researcher Sherri Mason, who found that billions of tiny microbeads, the tiny bits of plastic found in some exfoliating body washes and facial scrubs, were being released into the nation’s waterways each day. The foundation said her work spurred state and federal microbead bans.

Other winners are environmental psychologist Ming Kuo, of Urbana, Illinois; marine biologist Enric Sala, of Washington, D.C.; and education expert Norman Atkins, multidisciplinary artist Ralph Lemon, and international business consultant Linda Rottenberg, all of New York City.

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