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A Toxics-Free Future

Highlights Front Roll

Ukraine Bans Asbestos
NGO Practical Guide on Chemicals in Products
NEW STUDY Mercury Harming Economic Growth
IPEN at the Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Conferences of the Parties
Stories from the Clean Room
Critical Milestone in 10-Year Battle: Agreed Policy Framework on Samsung

On the day before the official opening of the seventh session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC7) for the international Minamata Convention, IPEN hosted a side event in the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center, Dead Sea, Jordan. This side event highlighted the latest developments in the guidance for mercury-contaminated site identification, characterization and remediation, and addressed issues of relevance to Article 12 of the Convention and the urgent need to prioritize action to clean-up mercury hot spots. In addition, there was discussion about the challenges involved in the remediation of ASGM sites, as well as industrial and legacy sites, with a particular focus on the public health implications of inaction.

On International Women’s Day 2016, IPEN Participating Organization Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) is proud to announce the launch of its new publication “Women and Chemicals– The impact of hazardous chemicals on women." With Women and Chemicals, WECF presents a deeper look at the nexus between gender roles and women’s exposure to hazardous chemicals worldwide.

On March 2nd, Berta Cáceres, one of the leading indigenous activists in Honduras and a Goldman 2015 Prize Winner, was assassinated in her hometown of La Esperanza, Honduras. She was a fighter for the rights of people to live in a protected and healthy environment.

Berta won the Goldman Prize in 2015 for her successful fight against the world’s largest dam builder, and in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples of Honduras. Her powerful speech at  the Goldman Prize ceremony inspires us all. IPEN stands in solidarity with environmental leaders and movements around the world and commits to continue our fight for environmental, health and human justice.

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In the run-up to the meeting, which willl take place 10 - 15 March, 2016 in the Dead Sea, Jordan, IPEN has released its "Quick Views" of the Minamata Convention's INC7. This document is a summary statement of some IPEN views about issues that will be taken up at the INC7; including, among others, contaminated sites, artisanal and small-scale gold mining, mercury supply and trade, mercury waste, effectiveness evaluation and finances.

Worried about everyday exposure of infants and children to potential chemicals of concern, IPEN Participating Organization WECF has released a survey on 341 baby cosmetics – cleansing milks, lotions, shampoos, bath products, ointments, baby wipes, cleansing waters, eaux de toilettes, sun protection products – sold on the French market in pharmacies, parapharmacies, supermarkets and organic shops. WECF’s experts assessed the products’ ingredients based on the labels. Based on an analysis of existing scientific literature and opinions by European Union (Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety - SCCS) and French (National Agency for the Safety of Medical and cosmetic products - ANSM) risk assessment agencies, the experts classified the ingredients or families of ingredients used in the 341 products in three categories from “high risk” to “moderate risk” and “low or not identified risk”.

IPEN has released its first Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign newletter, and it features information about a recent meeting held in Ethiopia where African leaders committed to set legal limits on lead in paint, as well as highlights from the 2015 International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. These highlights include activities from NGOs in Bangladesh, Belarus, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mauritius, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. 

Read the newsletter here.

News Release

Representatives of European Union (EU) countries will this week examine an application by Canadian-based Dominion Colour Corporation to continue to use lead pigments despite a ban from the European Chemicals Agency. Dominion has spent over 1 million Euros over the past three years to be exempted from an EU ban on two lead pigments used in paints, which was originally scheduled to come into effect in May 2015. Dominion states that its lead pigments are supposed to be used for industrial purposes.

“Other paint companies including the largest ones in Europe have already stopped using lead in paint and support the ban,” said Tatiana Santos of the European Environmental Bureau, “We are outraged that a Canadian company is single-handedly fighting to continue the use of lead pigments in paint.”

Dominion is one of the largest manufacturers of lead pigments in the world and has factories in Canada, Europe and other countries. At a February 3 and 4, 2016 meeting of the EU REACH Committee, representatives of EU countries will discuss Dominion's application.

“The biggest paint company in the world, AkzoNobel, stopped using lead in any of its products, including industrial paints, since 2011,” said Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director of Occupational Knowledge International. “We urge the EU REACH Committee to deny Dominion's claims and act to protect public health.”

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