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A Toxics-Free Future

Highlights Front Roll

Lead Paint Standard Promoted in East Africa
Kirabati Included in Regional Mercury Study
MINAMATA @ 60: Learning from Industrial Disasters
Camel Milk Found to Contain High Concentrations of Dangerous Chemicals
Monsanto Tribunal Underway in the Hague
TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neurodevelopmental Risks
Analysis Finds Dangerous Toxics in Everyday Products

한국어 IPEN has joined with trade unions and public interest organizations to endorse a letter from Supporters of Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry (SHARPS) to Mr. Jae-yong Lee, the heir apparent of Samsung Electronics. The letter urges Mr. Lee to initiate a new dialogue with SHARPS about his company’s occupational disease victims. As of September 2016, SHARPS has profiled 223 Samsung Electronics employees who developed a variety of serious diseases including leukemia, brain tumors, and multiple sclerosis. Of the 223 victims, 76 have died.
A recent AP investigation outlined how Samsung has requested government authorities to withhold critical information from sick workers about chemical exposures. The Samsung issue is occurring during a global effort to address hazardous substances within electronics as a global emerging policy issue under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management.

Press Release, Quezon City.  Civil society groups exhorted Asian governments to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury as environmental and health officials from several countries converge in Pasay City for a three-day regional forum.

In a joint statement, the EcoWaste Coalition, the Collaboration Center for Minamata Disease Victims and IPEN (a global NGO network for a toxics-free future) called upon the participants of the “Regional Forum on Environment and Health in A Southeast and East Asian Countries” to endorse the rapid ratification of the mercury treaty and promote the early implementation of activities, with full participation of public interest groups, to prevent and reduce mercury pollution.


Rome, Italy — A UN expert committee has determined that PFOA, commonly known as the “Teflon chemical,” warrants global action under the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty that bans the world’s most hazardous chemical pollutants.
In a consensus decision, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) agreed that PFOA “is presumed to be an immune hazard to humans” and linked to, “high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer and pregnancy-induced hypertension.” Experts concluded that PFOA does not degrade in the environment, is transported over long distances, and biomagnifies in animals, threatening the food chain. As a result, the expert group, noting a recent study concluded that, “a ‘safe’ concentration in the environment cannot be established.”

This week in Rome, the Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee is considering its final recommendations to governments about listing flame retardant, DecaBDE, in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination. The auto and aerospace industries have pressured the Committee to exempt certain uses of DecaBDE. In addition, the UK government has pushed for sweeping exemptions for uses in military vehicles and airplanes.[1]

Surprisingly, an IPEN examination of submissions to the Committee revealed that the UK government submitted virtually identical comments as the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industry association (ADS).[2] For example, the UK and ADS submissions identically claim that the, “cost and time required to re-certify a change of flame retardant is substantial and we believe presents a disproportionate impact on our industry.”

IPEN Science and Technical Advisor, Joe DiGangi, said that, “Promoting industry lobbyist comments as a government submission is a clear conflict of interest, disrespectful to the UK public, and completely undermines the credibility of the government.”

IPEN, currently in Rome for the 12th meeting of the Stockholm Convention's POPs Review Committee (POPRC), today made an intervention on PFOA in plenary. The intervention, delivered by IPEN Senior Advisor Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, described how PFOA's toxicity has for years made it an appalling threat to the health of communities all over the world, and reminded participants of the Committee meeting that the industry has known since at least 1961 that PFOA is toxic. PFOA contamination is linked to ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and kidney cancer.

IPEN Participating Organization Ecological Alert and Recovery-Thailand (EARTH), along with Chulalongkorn University, National Health Commission Office of Thailand, Kumamoto Gakuen University, and Collaboration Center for Minamata Disease Victims, organized a program and public conference from 9th-12th September, 2016 in Thailand. The program aimed to discuss lessons learned from the Minamata industrial disaster and how to apply those lessons for a sustainable society and environment.

Tanzania Bureau of Standards’ Acting Director General, Engineer Edna Ndumbaro, has announced that Tanzania plans, over the next four years, to remove all paints with lead substances from the market.

In addition, government representatives from Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to work to revise the lead limit of the current East African Community (EAC) standards on various types of paint to 90 ppm total lead.


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