Prague, 12 October 2015 — A new survey found toxic flame retardant chemicals from electronic waste are recycled into plastic children’s toys for sale in the European Union. Measurements of 21 toys purchased in six EU countries found that 43% of them contained significant levels of OctaBDE and/or DecaBDE. OctaBDE is listed in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination. DecaBDE is under evaluation by the Stockholm Convention expert committee which has concluded that “global action is warranted.” Both chemicals are ubiquitous in the environment globally and can disrupt human hormone systems, creating potential adverse effects on the development of the nervous system and children’s IQ.
IPEN has joined NGOs and colleagues in an open letter to the Ocean Conservancy about its report “Stemming the Tide.” The report promotes incineration in Asia as a supposed "solution" to the problem of ocean plastics.
(Geneva) Delegates to the world’s only international forum addressing global and national chemical issues re-committed to take essential actions to fulfill a goal of sound chemicals management by 2020, but allowed the only program funding activities in the most impacted countries to expire. The USD $4 trillion/year chemical industry, which participates in the conference, also failed to offer new funds to pay their fair share for the costs of chemicals management and harm. A very small global levy on the industry of 0.1% would yield more than USD$4 billion/year.
“ICCM4 agreed to take action on some critical toxic chemical issues,” said Olga Speranskaya, Co-chair of IPEN. “However, a five-year funding gap will make it extremely difficult to implement them. This makes the need for funding urgent. Governments, financial institutions, intergovernmental organizations and the chemical industry must each pay their fair share,” she added.
The true costs of the chemical industry's products include more than just the costs to produce them. The costs of illness and environmental devastation amount to over $1 trillion (USD) per year, paid for by the public rather than the chemical industry.
IPEN’s Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project was developed to eliminate lead in paint in seven Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project is one part of a larger campaign to eliminate lead paint worldwide. In 2007 and 2008, NGOs in IPEN’s network collected and analyzed decorative (home use) paints on the market in 11 developing countries, and in countries with economies in transition. The results were startling. In every one of these countries, many of the solvent-based, decorative enamel paints contained dangerously high lead levels. In response, IPEN launched a worldwide lead paint elimination campaign. Since then, IPEN-affiliated NGOs and others have sampled and analyzed paints on the market in approximately 40 low- and middle-income countries.
This report tells the story of how seven Asian countries succeeded in reducing lead levels in paint in their countries and highlights the project accomplishments in each country. Read it here.
Press release (Geneva): More than a thousand non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from more than 100 countries called for the creation of a Global Alliance to Phase-out Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) today at the opening session of the world’s only forum on international chemical safety.
“In many developing and transition countries, ordinary conditions of pesticide use are a source of significant harm to farmer and ecosystem health. That’s why the governing Council of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization called for the progressive ban of HHPs in 2006. However, to this day, HHPs continue to be widely used and there is no comprehensive, international approach to their phase-out,” said Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair. “It’s time for this meeting to take that step.”
Later this month the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the multinational company Unilever will be honored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a Champion of the Earth.
Sadly, many communities and children have been affected by mercury pollution from a former thermometer factory run by Hindustan Unilever Ltd. in Kodaikanal, India. The Unilever corporation has rejected requests from the community to clean the mercury waste that is still contaminating the area, despite the factory having been closed since 2001.