A new film starring Johnny Depp, "Minamata", directed by Andrew Levitas, tells the story of the legendary photo-journalist Eugene Smith and his wife Aileen Mioko Smith whose LIFE Magazine photos and book Minamata brought global attention to the devastating impacts of mercury pollution and exposed the corporate malfeasance of the Chisso Corporation that knowingly poured mercury-contaminated wastewater into Minamata Bay for decades. The film is an important opportunity to hold polluters accountable and to move global policy to more effectively curb mercury pollution.
Environmental Health Groups Celebrate the End to EU Allowance for Banned Flame Retardant Chemicals to Enter Recycling Streams & New Products
(Gothenburg, Sweden) The European Union (EU) has taken an important step towards cleaning up its recycling; it will no longer allow materials containing a class of toxic, globally banned flame retardants known as PBDEs to be recycled. Researchers had revealed that across Europe, alarming levels of toxic banned flame retardants and related chemicals, which originated largely from discarded electronics equipment, were contaminating the recycling stream and new consumer goods made from recycled plastics. Environmental health advocates applaud the EU’s decision and encourage the six remaining countries with PBDE recycling exemptions to follow suit.
On the 5th of December 2019, the Basel Ban Amendment became international law. The Ban Amendment, adopted by the parties to the Basel Convention in 1995, prohibits the export of hazardous wastes from member states of the European Union, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Liechtenstein to all other countries.
IPEN & BAN have produced a Basel Ban Amendment Guide, covering the implications and next steps for countries, public interest groups, and other stakeholders with the common goal to stop international hazardous waste dumping.
IPEN’s Toxic Plastics video provides a quick and accessible overview about how toxic chemicals in plastics threaten human and environmental health throughout the plastic life-cycle, from petrochemical production through disposal. Most plastics are not recyclable, but new plastic products made from recycled plastics can contain a toxic soup of dangerous chemicals. Landfills leech toxic chemicals into soils and groundwater. Incineration creates toxic pollution, including dioxins. Exporting plastic waste is poisoning poor communities around the world. View and share the video in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish, and then find IPEN research and reports for a deeper dive.
IPEN has joined 15 public interest NGOs and networks in providing critical comments on the draft European Union (EU) law on PFOA and PFOA-related compounds. In a letter dated 4 December 2019, NGOs noted that the proposed limit for PFOA in consumer products is not protective and not consistent with updated scientific information on the extreme toxicity of PFOA.
(Geneva, Switzerland): In a world first, the environmental treaty named after the devastating mercury pollution tragedy in Minamata, Japan, has just announced its decision to release global guidance on the clean up of mercury polluted sites.
After 4 years of hard negotiations and campaigning by IPEN, overcoming resistance from global powers such as the EU and the US, and with the steadfast support of the African region and many other countries, the Minamata Convention on Mercury has finally adopted official Contaminated Sites Guidance.