Evidence that the neurotoxic metal mercury poses a global health threat to all was underscored today in a new study analyzing the mercury body burdens among delegates of a global conference of the world’s first mercury treaty. The study detected mercury levels above health alert thresholds in over half of the global policy decision-makers tested at the first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention.
Researchers concluded that even global policy-makers who are educated about mercury risks are not protected from mercury contamination. The findings revealed mercury in all participants and elevated mercury levels exceeding theUS EPA health advisory level of 1 ppm. Levels many times higher were identified in delegates from a number of regions. Mercury, while harmful to adults, causes the greatest damage to the developing nervous systems of fetuses in utero.
Amongst other articles in the magazine, IPEN Co-Chair Olga Speranskaya writes about women leading the fight against the largest mining plant in Russia, the Tominsky MPP plant, owned by a Russian copper company. The company is currently destroying protected forests to clear land and build the mine. Activist scientists at the forefront of this movement describe a domino effect of environmental impacts that threaten to make the populated region uninhabitable.
Today in Nairobi, during the 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3), IPEN and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) held a press conference to announce a new partnership to contribute to the work on Gender and Chemicals, through a focus on women. IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya opened the press conference with a statement on the partnership, reminding attendees: "There are nearly 4 billion women and girls on the planet. Despite the fact that women make up roughly half of the population and chemical exposure is widespread, knowledge of exposure routes and the true impacts of chemical exposures on women are difficult to determine because there is a lack of gender-disaggregated data."
(Göteborg, Sweden) In an unprecedented study on the experiences of women working at two Samsung factories in Vietnam, a new report documents health and workplace violations by the electronics industry giant. The workers’ experiences of fainting or dizziness, miscarriages, standing for eight-to-twelve hours, and alternating day/night shift work are documented in a report released by the Hanoi-based Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED) and IPEN, a global network of environment and health NGOs working to reduce and eliminate harmful chemicals.
Samsung dominates the global phone market as well as the electronics sector and economy of Vietnam, where 50% of its smart phones are produced. The electronics sector is a significant area of growth for Vietnam, as electronic products outpace other exports. However, Vietnam has no labor codes specifically protecting the health of electronics industry workers, who are overwhelmingly women.
A new video has been released by UN Environment at the 3rd Meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly featuring Minamata Disease survivor, Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto.
Shinobu calls for an end to pollution: "The fetal Minamata disease patients including myself are getting worse, year by year. Many people are still suffering and struggling from pollution. Today, I must repeat my message--Minamata disease is not over. Pollution must end."
For years, IPEN has worked on several issues of pollution that will be relevant to the Assembly. For informational materials to supplement issues covered at the meeting, visit IPEN's UNEA3 Information Materials page.
The IPEN MENA Regional Meeting convened from October 31st to November 2nd, 2017 in Hammamet, Tunisia
The IPEN Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Meeting was hosted and organized by Association d'Education Environnementale pour la Future Génération (AEEFG), the IPEN Hub for the MENA region. Topics covered at the meeting focused on the Stockholm and Minamata Conventions, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), lead in paint, women and chemicals, building capacities, and the GEF Small Grants Program. Participating Organizations (POs) in attendance were also updated on the outcomes of the Minamata Convention’s 1st Conference of the Parties (COP1) and the Stockholm Convention’s 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8).