Every stage of the life-cycle of plastic involves toxic chemicals, which threaten human health, the environment, biodiversity, and the climate.
IPEN’s work aims to reveal the toxic threats to health and the environment in each stage of plastics’ life-cycle in order to:
- Curb the production of toxic oil, natural gas, and petrochemicals.
- Eliminate and substitute the most toxic chemicals used in the production of plastic.
- Strengthen global policies related to plastic waste controls and incineration.
- Promote environmental justice.
IPEN research and projects reveal hazardous substances in all stages in the life-cycle of plastics
IPEN Related Research and Resources on Toxic Plastics
Plastic waste has become an unprecedented pollution issue, blanketing our planet in the petrochemical remnants of plastic production. This report examines current and emerging methods by which plastic waste is managed globally and questions whether any of them present a solution to the rapidly accelerating generation of plastic waste. In short, they don't and the only long-term answer is to produce less plastic.
Places like the US, EU, or Australia create vast amount of waste, including plastic waste, exporting much of it to countries lacking the resources or infrastructure to manage them safely. This study looked at levels of toxic chemicals samples of eggs in and around places where the waste is often burned openly to obtain metals or as a fuel source. The study found some of the highest levels of certain toxics, such as chlorinated dioxins ever measured in the environment.
Both the African environment and the human health of Africans suffer from toxic chemicals and imported wastes more than in developed countries. Africa has become the destination of illegal toxic waste exports and, as this study shows, toxic chemicals are also present in toys, kitchen utensils, and other consumer products sold in African markets.
This joint report of the Endocrine Society and IPEN provides the current best knowledge about the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on human health. It discusses chemicals known to be hazardous to human health yet actively used in plastics, exposures, the problem of microplastics, and the issues surrounding alternative plastics.
Report developed in collaboration with multiple UN convention groups, technical experts, and organizations working to address toxic pollution, discusses the key challenges society faces to eliminate toxic components in the plastics life-cycle, identifies chemicals and sectors of greatest concern, and outlines key approaches for tackling the issues.
Research from IPEN, Nexus3, Arnika, and ECOTON, demonstrates how highly toxic chemicals from plastic waste contaminates free-range chicken eggs in Indonesian communities where plastic waste accumulates. Eggs, collected in the communities where plastic waste is burned to reduce volume and for factory fuel, were found to contain dangerous levels of chemicals posing dire threats to human health including dioxins, flame retardants, and the toxic “forever chemical,” PFOS.
Research, lead by CIEL, exposing the distinct toxic risks plastic poses to human health at every stage of the plastic life-cycle, from extraction of fossil fuels, to consumer use, to disposal and beyond.
Evidence of banned toxic flame-retardants, hazardous chemicals from electronic waste that are known to disrupt thyroid function and cause neurological and attention deficits in children, are recycled into new plastic consumer products across Europe.
A study of children’s products from 26 countries revealed that toxic flame-retardant chemicals in recycled electronic waste results in pervasive contamination of new plastic children’s toys and related products. Recycling materials that contain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other toxic substances contaminates new products, creates human and environmental exposure, and undermines the credibility of recycling.
Highly toxic brominated dioxins found in toys and accessories sampled in seven countries that were made from recycled e-waste plastic reveals levels of dioxin found in previous studies in waste incineration fly ash or other industrial waste.
The toxic industrial chemical Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are primarily used in metalworking, but also used in plastic products as flame retardants and softeners. A survey of children’s products in 10 countries reveals widespread contamination with SCCPs.
Report on the toxic threats from waste incinerator ash that, which is generated at a rate of millions of tons every year includes analysis of global scale of toxic ash and other residues from waste incineration contain dioxins, furans (PCDD/Fs) and a range of other highly toxic POPs at levels which are a threat to human health and the environment.
Abbreviated brief summarizes findings of the Toxic Ash Poisons Our Food Chain report.
Research from IPEN and BAN reveals dire human exposure and food chain contamination from highly toxic plastics in waste in Ghana, including toxic recycled e-waste shipped from Europe.