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A Toxics-Free Future

Highlights Front Roll

Working to Eliminate Harm to Human Health & the Environment from Toxic Chemicals
New Report Emphasizes Importance of Tracking Emissions
IPEN Regional Meeting for Southeast & East Asia

To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, Landscapes News is publishing a series of stories honoring women with a laurel for their dedication to improving the landscape. In this profile, Landscapes News contributor Alexandra Popescu writes about Yuyun Ismawati. Check Viewpoint all week for more laurel recipients.

A lifelong environmental activist working to improve livelihoods across Southeast Asia, a Goldman Environmental Prize laureate for grassroots activism and most recently an entrepreneur, Yuyun Ismawati is a tireless campaigner for greener, healthier landscapes.

“I have always been curious and wondered what I could do to make things better,” says Ismawati, who is currently working to clean mercury-contaminated soils using renewable energy while earning a doctoral degree focused on the impact of mercury on child health at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.

The 2nd meeting of the intersessional process for considering SAICM and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 is being held in Sweden from 13 - 15 March, 2018. Numerous IPEN Participating Organization representatives are participating. IPEN has created a "Quick Views" (اللغة العربية, English, español, русский, français) document for the meeting, which highlights IPEN views on SAICM Beyond 2020 issues such as vision, policy principles, objectives and milestones, governance, high-level political commitment and financing.

For details about IPEN's activities at the meeting, please see this page. For more information (including an agenda, other meeting documents and more), see the SAICM website. 


Electronics corporations converge at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week where they roll out latest tech innovations.

Health and environmental advocates are holding a counter event called the Mobile Social Congress to make visible the social, health, and environmental impacts in the design, raw material mining, production, use and waste of electronics. Recent research from IPEN Partners, the Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED), exposed health and labor violations of women workers at Samsung Vietnam mobile phone factories. IPEN made a presentation for Mobile Social Congress laying out the concerning findings, Samsung’s efforts to suppress the study, and why the safe and healthy working conditions in the electronics industry should concern us all.

IPEN has prepared "Quick Views" documents for the following SAICM regional meetings:

These documents highlight IPEN views on SAICM Beyond 2020 issues such as vision, policy principles, objectives and milestones, governance, high-level political commitment and financing. The document also follows IPEN comments that were provided to Brazil and Canada, the Co-Chairs of SAICM's "Beyond 2020" intersessional process. 

Updates about IPEN's work during the SAICM regional meetings will be posted here. Additional IPEN policy papers relevant to the Beyond 2020 process can be found here, and IPEN's activities during the 1st Meeting of the Intersessional Process for SAICM Beyond 2020 that took place in Brazil in February, 2017 are detailed here.

The Czech environmental group Arnika is ringing alarm bells. According to the results of a recent study it conducted, some children’s toys and grooming accessories, such as hair brushes, sold in the EU contain toxic substances. Arnika’s Karolína Brabcová says this is an unfortunate side product of the drive to promote plastics recycling.

Listen on Czech Radio: http://www.radio.cz/en/section/panorama/the-downside-of-plastics-recycli...

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre published the CGFED/ IPEN response to Samsung's comments about the report released in December 2017 revealing working conditions in Samsung manufacturing facilities in Vietnam. 

"We are writing to respond to Samsung's criticisms of our recent study on working conditions at the company's mobile phone factories in Vietnam... In Vietnam and abroad, Samsung has been actively attempting to suppress and discredit this study that documents a number of concerning health and safety violations... However, none of Samsung's efforts can erase the evidence that Samsung has violated Vietnamese labour law and failed to honour its business obligations on human rights...

Our study and the company's reaction to it revealed several findings that are inconsistent with Samsung's obligations under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights including complying with national laws, providing a safe and healthy working environment, protecting the family unit, right to form independent trade unions, and freedom of expression...

Read and download the full press release here. 

IPEN Participating Organization Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) played a significant role in securing a new lead paint standard.

The Supreme Court of Nepal has rejected a writ, filed by Nepal Paint Manufacturers Associations (NMPA) and other paint industry allies, which sought to nulify a mandatory standard for lead in paint enacted three years ago by the Government of Nepal. The law, which took effect in June, 2015, also requires companies to print the lead content of the paint and a precautionary message on paint can labels."

This is a victory for Nepalese children, who will now be protected from lead exposure in their homes, schools and parks, where heavily leaded paints are commonly used. Effective implementation of the law by all concerned government agencies will ensure that children in Nepal have the opportunity to grow and reach their full intellectual potential. We urge all involved in the paint industry to follow the law and produce paints that meet the country's mandatory lead paint standard of 90 ppm; label their products appropriately; and include a precautionary message on each paint can," said Mr. Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director and Environment Scientist, Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED).

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