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A Toxics-Free Future


Highlights Front Roll

Plastics Treaty INC-3
Chemical Recycling: A Dangerous Deception
IPEN at the Mercury Treaty COP-5
See - our website on toxic plastics
Video: Plastics Poisoning Our Health
Plastics, Plastic Waste, and Chemicals in Africa

IPEN members from around the wrold will participate in the sixth session of the U.N. Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) in Nairobi, Keny from February 26 to March 1, 2024. The theme of the session is "Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution."

In previous UNEA meetings IPEN has advocated for strong global protections from toxic chemicals, including successfully working for adoption of the resolution for a Plastics Treaty at UNEA-5.

McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Jolly Time found to have inconsistent use of PFAS and PFAS-free packaging

Toxic chemicals linked to cancer, infertility, endocrine disruption, and other serious health conditions can leach from packaging to food, posing threats to consumers globally 

A study released today by IPEN and 18 IPEN member groups found toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, including globally banned substances, in single-use, paper, cardboard, and plant-based molded fiber food containers and tableware purchased from seventeen countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean. PFAS chemicals have been linked to cancer, infertility, and endocrine disruption. Prior studies have shown that PFAS in food packaging can leach into food and higher levels of PFAS have been found in blood testing of people who regularly eat types of foods that are typically sold in PFAS-containing packaging.

PFAS, called “Forever Chemicals”due to their extreme persistence in the environment, are widely used in food packagingand single-use tableware to confer grease-resistance. But the study found some packagingmade without PFAS, demonstrating that alternatives to the toxic substances are available. The findings also show that leading global food companies, including McDonald’sKFC, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Jolly Time sell food in PFAS-free packaging in some countries but continue to use PFAS-tainted wrapping in other countries. 

Jackets and other clothing from thirteen countries contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and other serious health conditions

A study released today by Arnika, IPEN and 13 IPEN member groups and partners found toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, including globally banned substances in outdoor jackets and clothing purchased from thirteen countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Most of the outdoor jackets were marketed for children and many of the products come into direct contact with skin. PFAS, called “Forever Chemicals” due to their extreme persistence in the environment, are used in clothing and other products to confer stain- and water-resistance. But the study also found jackets and clothing made without PFAS, demonstrating that safer alternatives to the toxic substances are available.

Chemical Recycling: A Dangerous Deception

A new report from Beyond Plastics and IPEN debunks the plastic industry’s claims that chemical recycling, also known as “advanced recycling,” will play a significant role in reducing global plastic pollution. In fact, the science and data outlined show that chemical recycling has failed for decades and will not contribute significantly to resolving the plastics crisis.

Global mercury pollution has been recognised as a major problem that can only be tackled effectively by international regulation and government cooperation. Mercury is a hazardous neurotoxin that can cause many health problems in humans, and most exposure is caused by dietary impacts such as eating contaminated fish where mercury bioaccumulates.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury has been developed as the main international legal instrument to protect human health and the environment from mercury pollution with range of controls on trade, emissions, and use of mercury. The fifth Conference of the Parties (COP-5) of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (Mercury Treaty) will take place in Geneva from 30 October to 3 November 2023, and several important decisions will be discussed.

Find IPEN's Quick Views for COP-5 here.

Study finds plastic toys from 10 countries have high levels of toxic chlorinated paraffins

High levels of chemicals in several toys could qualify them as hazardous waste 

A study released today by IPEN and its members from ten countries reveals that shockingly high levels of the toxic chemicals chlorinated paraffins are common in children’s plastic toys. All thirty-one toys tested for the study were found to contain the harmful chemicals, which are linked to cancer, damage to developing brains, endocrine disruption, damage to the liver and kidneys, and threats to reproductive health.

The toys were purchased in Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Malaysia, Mali, Philippines, Uganda, and USA. All toys tested contained both short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs and MCCPs), even though SCCPs were banned globally under the Stockholm Convention in 2017. MCCPs are currently under evaluation for a potential global ban and evidence shows they are equally harmful and warrant the same action. Several toys contained levels of SCCPs above the current proposals to limit amounts of the chemical in hazardous waste, meaning the toys could be considered hazardous waste under health-protective guidelines.

“We were very disturbed to find that our children’s toys contain these highly toxic chemicals. Many plastics contain toxic chemicals, and our study shows these chemicals can make their way into our homes in products our children and families use,” said Mme. Kouyaté Goundo Sissoko from ONG Appui pour la Valorisation et la Promotion des Initiatives Privées (ONG AVPIP] in Mali. “Industry must end their use of toxic chemicals in plastics. Our children deserve safe toys.”   


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