Pamela Miller boarded a plane Wednesday morning bound for Geneva, Switzerland, where she hopes the world will ban a chemical she believes may have killed five members of her family.
She grew up next to a plant in Ohio that produced vast quantities of short-chain chlorinated paraffins, called SCCPs. Now she is deeply involved in the international process to stop the chemical's manufacture and other persistent organic pollutants, called POPs, that especially hurt Arctic people.
Thursday, a report she co-authored with the help of an international team will be released with test results that found SCCPs in children's toys, such as rubber duckies and Mickey Mouse slippers, and in baby bibs and a hand blender for baby food, items purchased all over the world.
The chemical, used to soften plastic, has already been banned in many countries because it harms neurological development in children, as well as disrupting the endocrine system and causing liver and kidney disease and cancer.
"It's a chemical that nobody has ever heard of, yet it is produced in huge volume and it's in many products we use every day," Miller said.
A survey of children’s products in 10 countries1 finds widespread contamination with an industrial chemical recommended for global prohibition. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are industrial chemicals primarily used in metalworking, but also as flame retardants and softeners in plastics. Their harmful properties have attracted global concern and a Stockholm Convention expert committee has recommended world-wide elimination of SCCPs under the treaty. SCCPs adversely affect the kidney, liver, and thyroid; disrupt endocrine function; and are anticipated to be human carcinogens.
In the run-up to the Basel Convention's 13th Conference of the Parties, IPEN and the Basel Action Network (BAN) have released a "Quick Views of Basel Convention COP13." This document is a summary statement of IPEN and BAN views on issues that COP13 will be called upon to address, including E-waste guidelines, illegal traffic, POPs wastes, technical assistance and regional centres, compliance, the Cartagena Declaration, and more.
A new global survey finds that recycling plastics containing toxic flame retardant chemicals found in electronic waste results in contamination of the world’s best-selling toy along with other children’s products. Ironically, the chemical contaminants can damage the nervous system and reduce intellectual capacity but are found in Rubik’s Cubes – a puzzle toy designed to exercise the mind.