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A Toxics-Free Future


Highlights Front Roll

IPEN Resources for the Plastics Treaty INC-1
New Video: Plastics Poisoning Our Health
How the UNEA Plastics Resolutions Relates to Chemicals and Health
Plastic Poisons the Circular Economy
Plastics, Plastic Waste, and Chemicals in Africa
Plastics, EDCs & Health Report Links Chemical Additives and Health Effects
Contrary to current estimates, new research suggests that there is twice as much plastic waste exported to non-OECD countries

Read the study here

Plastics are a mixture of fossil fuels and chemicals, and many chemicals in plastics are known to cause serious health problems. Exports of plastic wastes have been identified as a significant global health and environmental threat, but current reporting systems underestimate the volumes of plastic wastes that are traded globally. 

IPEN is participating in the resumed Fourth Meeting of the Intersessional Process for SAICM (IP4.2) in Nairobi from 27 February to 3 March, 2023. The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a unique global strategy to create a world where chemicals are no longer produced or used in ways that harm human health and the environment.

Some sessions will be livestreamed: go to the SAICM page and under "Meeting Documents" look for "daily schedule." Registration is not required.

Materials for IP4.2

IPEN’s IP4.2 Quick Views

Background Materials

Annotated Provisional Agenda for IP4.2 and Meeting Documents (here and here)

IPEN’s IP4 Quick Views and Other Materials on IP4

Global Chemicals Outlook II: From Legacies to Innovative Solutions

Earth Negotiations Bulletin Summary report of IP4 

An Assessment Report on Issues of Concern

IP4 working documents and information documents

UNEA Resolution 5/7 on the Sound management of chemicals and waste

Independent Evaluation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (Executive Summary)

IPEN has engaged in the science-to-policy (Science-Policy) discussions under the BRS and Minamata Conventions, SAICM, and the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) for many years. In March 2022, UNEA adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a new Science-Policy Panel to support action on chemicals, waste, and pollution.

The first Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) meeting to develop the Science-Policy panel took place in Nairobi in October 2022. 

The resumed session (OEWG 1.2) takes place in Bangkok from 30 January to 3 February 2023. Follow IPEN on social media for updates during the week of the event.

OEWG-1.2  Bangkok, 30 January to 3 February 2023

  • See IPEN's Quick Views here.

OEWG-1 Nairobi, October 2022 

  • See background and the IPEN/CIEL statement at the event here.
Advancing the Importance of Chemicals and Health

The Plastics Treaty’s first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-1) met in Punta del Este, Uruguay from November 28 through December 2, 2022. IPEN ensured that voices from all regions in the global south were present in the meeting by supporting in-person participation by nearly 30 public interest participating organizations, and coordinated over 45 IPEN NGO members, working collaboratively to advance our views and promote the adoption of a Treaty that accounts for the threats to human health and the environment from chemicals in plastics.

IPEN created several resources for delegates and others to educate them on the health threats from chemicals in plastics and to address solutions via a Plastics Treaty. Our new report “An Introduction To Plastics & Toxic Chemicals: How Plastics Harm Human Health And The Environment And Poison The Circular Economy” provides background on plastics as materials that pose threats to human health and includes a foreword by scientists who co-authored the recent studies showing that plastics and chemical production may have already exceeded the “planetary boundaries.” Our briefing for delegates on “Enhancing Controls to Protect Human Health from Plastics" describes how health and chemicals are relevant to the Treaty and how the Treaty should address these issues. 

Articles from the week-long negotiations

IPEN is featured in several news reports on the Plastics Treaty INC-1. Summaries from a few articles are below (click the headlines for the full story).

See all of IPEN's resources from the INC-1 here.

Associated Press

Negotiators take first steps toward plastic pollution treaty

On Friday afternoon more than 2,000 experts will wrap up a week of negotiations on plastic pollution at one of the largest global gatherings ever to address what even industry leaders in plastics say is a crisis.

It was the first meeting of a United Nations committee set up to draft what is intended to be a landmark treaty to bring an end to plastic pollution globally.

“If we look 30 years from now, we’re set to have four times more plastic. We’re in an extremely unfortunate situation. So you must have a global approach to this,” said Björn Beeler, who was at the meeting as the international coordinator for the International Pollutants Elimination Network, or IPEN.

Entire beaches on what used to be pristine islands are now mounded with trash. Examination of a random handful of sand in many places reveals pieces of plastic.

Tadesse Amera, an environmental scientist, said the treaty should address not only waste but the environmental health issues posed by chemicals in plastics as the products are used, recycled, discarded or burned as waste. Amera is the director of Pesticide Action Nexus Association Ethiopia and IPEN co-chair.

“It’s not a waste management issue,” he said. “It’s a chemical issue and a health issue, human health and also biodiversity.”

On Wednesday, November 30, at the Plastics Treaty INC-1 negotiations in Punta del Este, Uruguay, IPEN co-hosted a science and health information briefing on "Health, Chemicals, Plastics and a Non-Toxic Circular Economy." The briefing was co-hosted by the governments of Uruguay and Switzerland, and with the Endocrine Society, and included speakers on the science and health risks from chemicals in plastics followed by a panel discussion.

You can download the presentation slides from the event here.


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