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A Toxics-Free Future

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Conferences

1 October

IPEN Opening Statement in Plenary

"We were here in the same building in November 2003 as part of SAICM negotiations and we have been engaged in grassroots implementation since the very beginning and have as a network adopted “Toxics-free Future” as our vision for accomplishing SAICM’s goals. In adopting SAICM, governments agreed that advancing chemical safety should be viewed as a necessary component of the sustainable development agenda. Actions related to chemical safety and toxic chemicals are either referenced or implied in many, if not all, of the SDGs.

The global chemical production is projected to double by 2030, with rapid growth in emerging economies. In our view, a new global agreement on chemical safety should therefore include both an upgrade to SAICM, SAICM 2.0, and an enabling framework to match the growing challenge of health, environmental, and economic injuries associated with the production, use, and disposal of toxic chemicals and wastes."

Read the whole statement, given in plenary by IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Tadesse Amera, here.

Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair, giving the opening statement

 

28 September

Today IPEN held the first of its 2-day preparatory meeting for the SAICM IP3. Discussion during the meeting centered around the meeting flow, objectives, targets, indicators, milestones, and institutional arrangements, amongst other items. 

Akarapon Teebthaisong

 

23 September

Views of the SAICM 3rd Intersessional Meeting (IP3) (中文, English, русский, español, français, العربية)

IPEN's "Views of the SAICM 3rd Intersessional Meeting (IP3)” document addresses issues that will be taken up at the IP3, including process considerations; an enabling framework; targets, indicators and milestones; governance; and more. 

22 September

Update on the use of highly hazardous pesticides in six African countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia

Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) are a threat to human health and the environment, with significant impacts on developing and transition countries. In 2015, more than 100 governments at the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management agreed that HHPs were an issue of global concern and reached a consensus resolution to give priority to the promotion of agroecological alternatives in the process of implementing the strategy on HHPs developed by FAO-UNEP-WHO.

The phase-out of HHPs and the promotion of agroecological alternatives contribute to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that call for, inter alia, efforts to promote sustainable agriculture (SDG2), healthy lives and well-being (SDG3), sustainable management of water (SDG6), decent work (SDG8), and the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and halt of biodiversity loss (SDG15). Reduction and elimination of HHPs would make a significant contribution to each of these goals by reducing exposure and adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

IPEN Participating Organizations in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia conducted surveys of pesticide registration laws and examined the country situation on HHPs and possible alternatives. This document summarizes some of the main findings from those surveys.

20 September

Thought Starter on Beyond 2020 Indicators and Milestones: Chemical Safety Contributions to the SDGs

Targets, indicators and milestones are a key component of the new Beyond 2020 chemical safety agreement because they provide an important measure of what the new agreement will accomplish. IPEN has prepared a thought starter that proposes targets, indicators and milestones that reflect tangible outcomes to reduce harms in the real world and links these results to the achievement of defined Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

18 September

IPEN and colleagues will be attending the upcoming Third meeting of the intersessional process considering the Strategic Approach and sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 from 1 - 4 October, 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. Please check back here soon for more information about IPEN's meeting-related publications and activities!


10 May

IPEN Press release: UN meeting gives countries the right to refuse unrecyclable, polluting plastics

Governments at the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the Basel Convention acted to restrict rampant plastic waste exports by requiring countries to obtain prior informed consent before exporting contaminated or mixed plastic waste. A deluge of plastic waste exports from developed countries has polluted developing countries in Southeast Asia after China closed the door to waste imports in 2018. IPEN, the global network of environmental health, science and public interest organizations that has exposed environmental impcts of plastic waste exports to developing countries, applauded the move as a critical step to stem the toxic tide of plastic waste.

"This historic decision stops plastic trash dumping at the borders of exporting countries," said Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN Senior Advisor.

Read the entire press release here

7 May

Justice for Asbestos Victims

On the opening day of the Rotterdam Convention COP, Indonesian and other Ban Asbestos campaigners, Rotterdam Convention Alliance representatives, and supporters held a vigil and media conference at the entrance to the meeting venue in order to remind delegates about their responsibility to include chrysotile asbestos in the Convention. Subono, a victim of asbestos, later gave the following intervention in the plenary:

"My name is Subono. I worked for 14 years at SICP, a manufacturer of chrysotile raw materials imported from Russia, Brazil and Kazakhstan. I am suffering from asbestos related disease from exposure to chrysotile asbestos. I am here representing other friends who are victims of asbestos in Indonesia and in the world.

We are angry with the countries blocking the listing at this Convention. There are over 200,000 deaths from chrysotile exposure every year.  Millions dead over the last 20 years. Almost half of all global occupational diseases are caused by chrysotile asbestos but still no action here on this substance. COP9 marks the 7th COP over 12 years that chrysotile asbestos has been recommended but blocked.

We condemn this veto.

We know the lie of safe use. I worked in inhuman, dusty working conditions without real Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This made me and my friends often experience pain, coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue. Examinations that companies did were company secrets and not accessible

We demand, at this meeting, chrysotile can be included in the list of Appendix III or that the Convention is reformed to ensure this. Our hope is that all delegates here support it.

How can the financial interests of just a few Parties block the desires of the many to protect workers like me, from toxic exposures?"

Subono speaking at the media conference

Break Free from Plastic

Basel Action Network, Break Free from Plastic, GAIA, IPEN and other partners greeted delegates as they arrived at the conference center with signs encouraging them to "Support the Norwegian Amendment" and "Break Free From Plastic."

Norway proposed amendments to the annexes to the Basel Convention to bring problematic plastic waste streams within the scope and control of the Convention. EIA, CIEL, IPEN and BAN prepared a short legal explanation of what the proposal would entail. Find the explanation here.

BFFP Support Norwegian Amendment

2 May

Indigenous representatives Vi Waghiyi and Siqiniq Maupin talk about POPs in this video

Indigenous representatives Vi Waghiyi (right) and Siqiniq Maupin (left) being interviewd by Paul Rose

Information Fair Opens

The Information Fair opened, with the aim to "promote and facilitate the exchange of information for the implementation of the Conventions by providing an opportunity for partner institutions, non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations and private companies to exhibit their information products, projects and technologies that are available to support the implementation of the Conventions, and to showcase and debate about the crucial role that information plays in achieving the objectives of the three Conventions."

IPEN brought an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) machine to Geneva to showcase how it can be used to determine the elemental composition of materials. Specifically, IPEN wanted to show visitors to the booth that some children's toys and other consumer products made of black plastic contain brominated flame retardants. With the use of the XRF device, we could demonstrate a fast technique for total bromine detection that indicates BFR/PBDE content in the recycled children's products. This simple technique may be used by the recycling industry and during state boundary controls on imported waste to find out about potential chemical hazards.

At the booth we also explained more about IPEN studies related to Toxics in Recycled Plastics.

Jitka Strakova (Arnika, Czechia) explaining how the XRF works to a Convention delegate.

Jitka Strakova (Arnika, Czechia) and delegates.

1 May

IPEN Side Event: The Global PFAS Problem: Fluorine-Free Alternatives as a Solution

IPEN convened an international panel of independent experts from the fields of fire safety, chemistry, health, product formulation, remediation, and policy to present information about problems with PFAS in firefighting foam and fluorine-free alternatives. The experts came from the oil and gas and aviation sectors to share their knowledge and expertise with BRS COP Delegates.

For more details about the agenda, please see the flyer here

Nigel Holmes, Queensland Department of Environment and Science (Australia)

 

Lars Ystanes (Equinor environmental advisor) speaking at the standing-room-only side event, with an IPEN supporter in the foreground

 

IPEN Press Conference

IPEN held a press conference in Geneva to promote a new press release: "Firefighters, oil and aviation industry representatives, and Indigenous Peoples call for a global ban on PFAS chemicals with no loopholes for toxic firefighting foams at UN meeting."

Industry fire-safety experts assert - and IPEN agrees - that no exemption is needed because cost-effective, fluorine-free alternatives work as well or better than PFOA- and other PFAS-containing foams. Unlike PFAS-containing foams, fluorine-free alternatives do not cause long-term harm to human health and the environment or incur the extremely high cleanup costs of PFAS-containing foams. PFOA never breaks down, it can cause cancer and it is found in the blood of Arctic Indigenous Peoples and wildlife.

Featured speakers at the press release were:
• Mr. Kim Olsen, Head, Copenhagen Airport Rescue and Firefighting Academy, Copenhagen Airport, Denmark
• Commander Michael Tisbury, Vice President of the United Firefighters Union, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Melbourne, Australia
• Ms. Vi Waghiyi, Arctic Indigenous Expert (Yupik), St. Lawrence Island, Alaska USA
• Mr. Lars Ystanes, Environmental Specialist, Equinor, Bergen, Norway

Following the press conference, Reuters international news association printed the article, "China seeks loophole as UN nears pact banning toxic chemical- activists."

See a video of the press conference here.

Joe DiGangi, Pamela Miller, Lars Ystanes, Vi Waghiyi, Mick Tisbury and Kim T. Olsen

 

Press conference speakers, IPEN supporters and allies

Press Release: High Levels of Dioxins Found in Children’s Toys and Other Products Made of Recycled Plastics Found in Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, the EU, India, Japan and Nigeria

(Göteborg, Sweden) Alarming levels of some of the most toxic chemicals, including brominated dioxins and brominated flame retardants, were found in consumer products made of recycled plastics sold in Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, the EU, India, Japan and Nigeria. Dioxins were measured in children’s toys and hair accessories at levels comparable to those found in hazardous wastes, including the ash from waste incinerators. The results are being released as global decision makers meet this week at the joint Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm Convention to consider proposals to strengthen global policies for POPs and waste. 

Brominated dioxins are highly hazardous chemicals that are known to affect brain development, damage the immune system and unborn children, increase the risk of cancer and risk disruption of thyroid function. They are formed unintentionally during production of brominated flame retardants. In addition, when plastics with brominated flame retardants are recycled and heated to re-form new plastic products, additional brominated and chlorinated dioxins are formed.  

Dioxin and PBDE levels were found in all of the items sampled, and half of the products exceeded the proposed chlorinated dioxin hazardous waste limit. More than half of the analyzed products made of recycled plastic measured levels of PBDEs that meet current regulatory proposals of 1,000 ppm PBDEs, and these products that are within the weak regulation for PBDE contained 730 - 3,800 pg WHO-TEQ/gof brominated dioxins. Dioxins are extremely toxic in very small amounts. Levels of concern for dioxin substances are identified in the tenths of pictograms. The very high levels of dioxins measures signals that weak regulation of PBDEs can pose potential harms, not only from PBDEs, but also from PBDD/Fs. 

Read the entire press release here

Read the report, Poisoning Our Goods: Toxics in Recycled Products, here

Toxic Flood cover

30 April

IPEN "Egg Action"

IPENers distributed crackers with eggs to delegates to highlight the extreme food chain contamination from highly toxic plastics in waste in Ghana that includes toxic e-waste shipped from Europe. IPEN and BAN researchers found the highest levels of brominated and chlorinated dioxins— some of the most hazardous chemicals on Earth— ever measured­­­­ in free-range chicken eggs in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. The contamination results primarily from the breaking apart of discarded electronics (e-waste) and burning plastics to recover metals. Plastics from vehicle upholstery are also burned on the site and contribute to the contamination.

Eating just 2.5g of egg from a hen foraging in Agbogbloshie contains the equivalent of the daily intake of dioxins for 15 people.

Read the report here

See the flyer that was handed to delegates here

Jindrich Petrlik handing out egg snacks to delelegates  Yuyun Ismawati (BaliFokus / Nexus3) handing out eggs

Siqiniq Maupin (Native Movement) serving eggs to delegates

IPEN Views of Rotterdam COP9

In the run-up to the Rotterdam Convention's 9th Conference of the Parties (COP9), IPEN completed a "Views" document that addresses some issues that will be discussed at the COP9. These include enhancing effectiveness; compliance; amendments to Articles 16 & 22; listing HBCD, carbosulfan and chrysotile asbestos; and more.

The Views document can be read here.

More information about IPEN activities during the Rotterdam Convention can be found by clicking on the "Rotterdam COP9" tab at the top of this page.

29 April

Opening of the BRS COPs

IPENers greeted delegates on the first day of the the Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Conventions Conferences of the Parties (BRS COP) by wearing shirts that state, "IPEN Loves Firefighters / Fluorine-Free Firefighting Foam- Global Ban on PFOA" to show that we stand with firefighters (who suffer extraordinarily high rates of cancer) and everyone fighting for fluorine-free fIrefighting foam. IPEN aimed to remind the delegates that they are here to work towards stronger protection for firefighters, children, communities and the environment- and that the production and use of PFOA, PFOS and PFAS needs to stop.

More on the dangers of PFOA and sensible alternatives can be found in The Global PFAS Problem: Fluorine-Free Alternatives as Solutions.

 

 

28 April

PFAS Pollution across the Middle East and Asia

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have received significant public and media attention in the US, EU, and Australia, in part due to their toxicity, extreme persistence, and documented water pollution. However, information about PFAS in other parts of the world is largely lacking and the information which is available is difficult to access.

Over the past few months, IPEN Participating Organizations in twelve Middle Eastern and Asian countries conducted surveys to explore possible PFAS uses and pollution sources, scientific studies and government actions, including under the Stockholm Convention. Countries covered include: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The results of the surveys indicate the following:

  • PFAS are poorly regulated in all countries examined
  • PFAS contaminates adults and infants
  • Water pollution with PFAS substances is widespread
  • Marine and terrestrial organisms are contaminated with PFAS
  • Firefighting foams and extinguishers containing PFAS are in use
  • Consumer products are contaminated with PFAS
  • PFAS substances contaminate dust and particulate air pollution
  • US military bases in Japan cause PFAS pollution
  • Japan is an important PFAS producer
Please read the summary report here
Please see the individual country reports here
 
At the Stockholm Convention COP9, PFOA, which is part of the class of PFAS chemicals, will be considered for addition to the Treaty. IPEN believes it should be added to Annex A with no exemptions. For more information about PFOA, see IPEN's Guide to New POPs and the PFOS Evaluation.

 

27 April

IPEN Prep Meeting

IPEN Participating Organizations and partners met together in Geneva for a preparatory meeting about the Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Convention Conference of the Parties. Approximately 46 people from 24 countries attended the meeting, which addressed various subjects that will come up during the COPs such as PFOA, dicofol, marine litter, low POPs content, exemptions and more.

Group photo Geneva 2019

IPEN Co-Chairs Pamela Miller and Dr. Tadesse Amera at the IPEN prep meeting

26 April

Make Low POPs Content Level Low Enough for Health and Environment Protection (English / 中文 / español / русский)

In this update about Low POPs Content Level written for the Stockholm Convention, information about the limits that IPEN supports for dioxins and furans, brominated POPs, and short-chain chlorinated paraffins is provided. Learn more in the brief found here.

LPCL brief cover

24 April

Press release: Fire-Safety Regulators, Scientists, & Industry Representatives Call for a Global Ban on PFAS Chemicals with No Loopholes for Toxic Fire Fighting Foams

New report includes new data on PFAS exposures to Australian Firefighters

(Göteborg, Sweden): Industry fire-safety experts from the oil and gas and aviation sectors are joining with firefighter trade unions to urge governments to protect human health and the environment with a global ban on the toxic chemical, PFOA, and to reject loopholes for its use in firefighting foams. The use of PFOA and other fluorinated organic compounds (PFAS) is widespread across many industrial and domestic applications including textiles, food packaging, stain and oil resistant treatments, and industrial processes. Fluorinated firefighting foam is a leading cause of water contamination with toxic chemicals that are associated with cancer, endocrine disruption, and harm to fetal development.

The upcoming 9th Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is scheduled to address a global ban on PFOA as the UN meeting commences next week (April 29-May 10). A key issue will be whether an exemption should be granted for continued PFOA use in firefighting foams. Industry fire-safety experts assert that no exemption is needed because cost-effective fluorine-free alternatives work as well or better than PFOA- and other PFAS-containing foams. Unlike PFAS-containing foams, fluorine-free alternatives do not cause long-term harm to human health and the environment or incur the extremely high cleanup costs of PFAS-containing foams.

The Stockholm Convention's scientific expert body recommended global elimination of PFOA due to its toxicity, persistence, bioaccumulation in the food chain, and ability to travel long distances. They also recommended strengthening the listing of PFOS in the treaty by closing a large number of loopholes. Since PFOA and PFOS have been used in firefighting foams, the expert body addressed alternatives to them, warning  against using the entire class of PFAS substances in firefighting foams, "due to their persistence and mobility, as well as their potential negative environmental, human health and socioeconomic impacts." (POPRC-14/2)

In their new report, the fire safety experts demonstrate that PFAS alternatives to PFOA and PFOS are similarly toxic and even harder to control, leading to increased pollution, exposure, and presence in the food chain. In contrast, world-class airports and major companies have thrown their weight behind fluorine-free firefighting foams.

Read the entire press release here

Read Executive Summaries (عربى/ English / français / 中文 / español / русский) and the full report, The Global PFAS Problem: Fluorine-Free Alternatives as Solutions, here

Global PFAS Problem cover

23 April

Press Release: Highest Level of World’s Most Toxic Chemicals Found in African Free-Range Eggs: European E-Waste Dumping a Contributor

(Göteborg, Sweden): New research from IPEN and Basel Action Network (BAN) reveals dire human exposures and food chain contamination from highly toxic plastics in waste in Ghana that includes toxic e-waste shipped from Europe. Researchers have found the highest levels of brominated and chlorinated dioxins— some of the most hazardous chemicals on Earth— ever measured­­­­ in free-range chicken eggs in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. The contamination results primarily from the breaking apart of discarded electronics (e-waste) and burning plastics to recover metals. Plastics from vehicle upholstery are also burned on the site and contribute to the contamination.

Researchers analyzed the eggs of free-range chickens that forage in the Agbogbloshie slum, home to an estimated 80,000 people who subsist primarily by retrieving and selling copper cable and other metals from e-waste. The process of smashing and burning the plastic casing and cables, to extract the metals, releases dangerous chemicals found within the plastics, such as brominated flame retardants, and creates highly toxic by-product chemicals like brominated and chlorinated dioxins and furans. The sampling of eggs revealed alarmingly high levels of some of the most hazardous and banned chemicals in the world, including dioxins, brominated dioxins, PCBs, PBDE and SCCPs.

Read the entire press release here

POPs in Eggs Report for Africa coverWeak Controls cover

BAN and IPEN Quick Views of Basel Convention COP14 (中文 / English / русский / لعربية)

In the run-up to the Basel Convention's 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14), IPEN worked with Basel Action Network (BAN) to complete a "Quick Views" document that addresses some issues that will be discussed at tthe COP14. These include marine litter and microplastics; financial resources; compliance; e-waste guidelines; POPs waste; technical guidelines on incineration, engineered landfill, hazardous waste physico-chemical treatment and biological treatment; and more.

22 April

IPEN Working to Eliminate POPs on the Ground (عربى/ English / français / 中文 / español / русский)

As the 2019 Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Conventions Conferences of the Parties (BRS COPs) approaches, IPEN has dedicated the first of its 2019 bi-annual global newsletters to cover persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

In the newsletter, entitled "IPEN Working To Eliminate POPs On The Ground," IPEN Science Advisor Dr. Sara Brosché states, "Strong measures under the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions are crucial to stop the production and release of POPs and should be effectively implemented nationally. Hazardous waste limits should be protective and regrettable substitutions with related toxic chemicals prohibited.However, this is far from enough. Only 28 out of thousands of potential POPs are listed under the Stockholm Convention today and efforts need to be scaled up dramatically.”

This newsletter covers some work of IPEN Participating Organizations around the globe who have researched and/or monitored POPs in their countries. Topics include POPs Country Situation Reports, POPs in Community Food Chains, Toxic Recycling, Non-combustion Technologies for POPs Waste Destruction, Dicofol and PFOA, Sulfluramid, and POPs in Our Oceans.

The newsletter is available online in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish here.

POPs 2019 newsletter cover

 

18 April

IPEN's Views of Stockholm Convention COP9 (English / 中文 / español / لعربي / русский / français)

IPEN has released its "Views of Stockholm Convention COP9." This document is a summary statement of IPEN views on issues that COP9 will be called upon to address, including POPs wastes, tecnical assistance and regional centres, rules of procedure, compliance, listing of dicofol and PFOA, illegal traffic, rules of procedure, evaluation of PFOS, and more.

The Views document can be read here.

17 April

Legal Opinion Finds Canada In Violation of Basel Convention

A recent legal opinion from the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation Law Corporation has determined Canada’s refusal to repatriate 103 shipping containers of garbage illegally dumped in the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 to be in violation of the Basel Convention.

Read the letter and legal opinion that has been sent by IPEN and partner NGOs Right On Canada, Canadian Environmental Law Association, EcoWaste Coalition, and Basel Action Network to Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau about this issue, which is not just a legal matter, but also a moral issue that demonstrates Canada’s level of respect for the citizens of developing countries and how the nation demonstrates proper conduct. Leaving Canada’s garbage in another country for five years reveals values that clash with moral responsibility.

16 April

NGOs Urge Immediate Action to Stop Toxic Recycling

A recent analysis (by IPEN, Arnika and other NGOs) of consumer products sold in Brazil, Canada, Cambodia, EU and Japan made from recycled plastics has revealed toxic flame-retardant contamination in some children's toys, hair accessories, office supplies, kitchen utensils and other plastic products. Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Turkey are 7 out of 182 Parties to the Stockholm Convention that registered a recycling exemption for toxic polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are persistent organic pollutants (POPs), after they were banned under the Stockholm Convention in 2004. The exemption has permitted recycling of materials such as plastics from discarded computers and other products containing PBDEs in the recycling stream for the past ten years, and will allow it to continue until 2030. Via letters, environmental health organizations are urging the seven governments to end the practice and withdraw the recycloing exemptions because the resulting contamination of the recycling stream allows banned chemicals in products and poses a threat to public health, particularly children's health.

See the letters here to Brazil, Canada and the Republic of Korea here. 

15 April

IPEN Guide to New POPs and the PFOS Evaluation (عربى/ English / français / 中文 / español / русский)

For consideration at the Stockholm Convention's COP9, the Treaty’s expert committee, the POPs Review Committee (POPRC), has recommended two substances for listing: dicofol and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts, and PFOA-related compounds. The POPRC has also recommended strengthening the listing of PFOS in the treaty. Finally, one Party has proposed changing the process for evaluating candidate substances.

In this new Guide, IPEN provides recommendations about listing dicofol and PFOA, and perspectives on the suggestion for amending the evaluation process and the PFOS evaluation. The Guide also provides information about the serious hazards related to the use of dicofol, PFOA and related substances, and PFOS. Read the Guide here

Please go here for more information about the proposal to amend the Stockholm Convention evaluation process for candidate substances.

IPEN Guide to New POPs and the PFOS Evaluation

12 April

Say No to Sulfluramid: Reasons for a Worldwide Ban on this Toxic Agrochemical (español, English, português)

Sulfluramid is a chemically-synthesized pesticide used as a formicide, which, as it breaks down, turns into perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). PFOS is a toxic, extremely persistent and bioaccumulative pollutant, subject to worldwide restrictions pursuant to the Stockholm Convention on POPs. This Convention, intended to protect human health and the environment, took effect in 2004, and has been signed by most governments, includiing in Latin America and the Caribbean, where sulfluramid is widely used. At the upcoming Stockholm Convention COP9, IPEN believes that sulfluramid needs to be explicitly mentioned in Annex B on PFOS, and "acceptable uses" needs to be changed to "specific exemptions" for controlling leaf-cutting ants of the Attaand Acromyrmex genera. Learn more in this factsheet about sulfluramid.

Say no to sulfluramid

11 April

Briefing Paper on Non-combustion Techniques for POPs Waste Destruction (中文 / English / عربى )

Non-combustion techniques for the destruction of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) waste such as PCBs, dioxins and brominated flame retardants are urgently needed to destroy the world's growing stockpile of materials contaminated with the most dangerous contaminants on earth. Using incineration and cement kilns to attempt to destroy POPs only leads to the generation of more unintentionally produced POPs (UPOPs) in their emissions and solid waste. This new technical briefing paper from IPEN describes non-combustion techniques that have been commercialised and proven for the destruction of POPs. They are also considered to be more readily applicable to developing countries due to their less intensive capital and infrastructure requirements.

Non-combustion techniques for POPs destruction have never been more relevant as new POPs are added to the Stockholm Convention and new stockpiles of waste must be addressed.

View the new paper here

10 April

IPENers will be participating in the Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions taking place from 29 April - 10 May, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. Although the Stockholm Convention COP is IPEN’s main focus, IPEN will also participate in the Basel and Rotterdam Convention meetings. Please check back shortly for more information about IPEN's publications and actvities related to the meetings. 

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) held its 3rd Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG-3) from 2- 4 April, 2019 in Montevideo, Uruguay and IPEN participated.

4 April

IPEN Closing Statement delivered by Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair:

During this meeting, we have heard many ideas and interventions that would move us along this ambitious path, such as:

- Implementing the polluter pays principle through internalization of costs by the industry;

- Strong measures that include the full life-cylcle of chemicals and all waste, including an enabling framework whose elements are endorsed by a ministerial declaration at ICCM5 and subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly; and

- Time bound goals and measurable targets for issues of concern, together with clear criteria defined for how to move the issues ahead if they have not progressed as expected.

Read the entire Closing Statement here.

Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair

3 April

IPEN Intervention on Lead in Paint delivered by Dr. Sara Brosché, IPEN Science Advisor and Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign Manager

"There is still time to make significant additional progress towards eliminating led paint until ICCM5 with the right commitment from governments, industry and civil society. We know from our work that this commitment from all stakeholders is in place. We would therefore like to encourage government representatives participating in this meeting to state their intention to accelerate the establishment and enforcement of legally binding controls on lead in paint in all countries."

Read the entire Intervention, as well as Interventions on other issues being discussed at the OEWG-3, here.  

2 April

IPEN Opening Statement delivered by Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair:

"We hope to see ambitious recommendations that include:

  • An enabling framework that acts as an umbrella for all chemicals-related agreements whose elements are endorsed by a ministerial declaration in 2020 that is subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly to ensure high -level political ownership.
  • National implementation plans with agreed-upon measurable actions that contribute to implementation of Agenda 2030.
  • Open, inclusive and transparent participation by all stakeholders with a multi-sectoral approach."

Read the entire Opening Statement here.

1 April

IPEN side event:

Chemical Safety Contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals: The SAICM Experience and Perspectives for Beyond 2020

This side event will both reflect on the SAICM experience since 2006 and illustrate important actions needed at SAICM OEWG3 to advance the adoption of a Beyond 2020 framework. This side event will include a brief overview of SAICM implementation experience at the global and local levels, and lead into a panel discussion with NGO and government representatives sharing their perspectives for Beyond 2020 and SAICM OEWG3 outcome goals.

Panel discussion facilitated by Ms. Sofia Chavez, CasaCem, Mexico

Panel Speakers include:

The High Ambition Alliance; Ms. Eneida de León, Minister of Housing, Land Planning and Environment, Uruguay

IPEN’s Perspectives for Beyond 2020; Mr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair, Ethiopia

Zambia Perspective; Mr. David Kapindula, Zambia Environmental Management Agency, Zambia

South Africa Perspective; Ms. Noluzuko Gwayi, Advisor: International Chemicals & Waste Cooperation at Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa

See the flyer for the side event here

31 March, 2019

IPEN Participating Organization representatives and partners met with David Morin, Canadian Co-Chair of the SAICM intersessional process, to pose questions and hear his views on topics relevant to the OEWG-3 meeting.

30 March, 2019

IPENers and IPEN partners from 21 countries gathered in Montevideo for a capacity-building & strategizing workshop in preparation for the 3rd Open-Ended Working Group meeting, which will begin officially on 2 April.

Group photo Montevideo 2019

22 March, 2019: IPEN Views of SAICM OEWG-3

(العربية , English, 中文, русский, français)

IPEN's "Views of SAICM OEWG-3” document replicates the points on the enabling framework that appear in IPEN's Perspectives document below, and includes specific text on the proposed language for objectives and targets, which was based on comments received and work done in collaboration with the trade union representative to the SAICM Bureau and with Pesticide Action Network.

21 March, 2019: IPEN's "Enabling Framework" and Other Posters

Find new IPEN posters and postcards created for the OEWG-3 here

20 March, 2019: IPEN Beyond 2020 Perspectives for OEWG-3

(العربية , English, 中文, español, русский, français)

SAICM is the only international agreement that addresses the full range of known and newly discovered health and environmental concerns associated with the production and use of chemicals. The 2006 decision that established SAICM expires in 2020 and now there is a global process (the "Beyond 2020" process) to determine what comes next.

The Beyond 2020 process has one required result: It must, “develop recommendations regarding measurable objectives in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” In response, the IPEN Steering Committee adopted a one-page Toxics-Free Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Pledge in October 2018 that explains actions for a toxics-free future that are essential for sustainable development. This reflects a series of papers on relevant Beyond 2020 topics developed by IPEN and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in 2017, including measurable objectives in support of Agenda 2030.

In our view, a new global agreement on chemical safety should include both an upgrade to SAICM (SAICM2.0) and an enabling framework, and include the following features:

  • A timeless vision and broad scope that encompasses the entire lifecycle including wastes;
  • An enabling framework that acts as an umbrella for all chemicals-related agreements whose elements are endorsed by a ministerial declaration in 2020 that is subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly;
  • New and additional, adequate, sustainable and predictable finance mechanism accessible to all relevant stakeholders to address chemicals and waste issues;
  • Measurable contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals; and
  • Open, inclusive and transparent participation by all stakeholders with a multi-sectoral approach.

Read more about IPEN's vision for the future of chemical safety in our Perspectives for OEWG-3 here.

IPEN participated in the Mercury Treaty's 2nd Conference of the Parties (COP2), which took place from 19 to 23 November, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. Technical briefings on Effectiveness Evaluation and the Specific International Programme kicked off the week on 18 November.

23 November, 2018

IPEN press release

Mercury Treaty COP2 inches forward on non-binding guidance, while global mercury emissions surge 20% in 5 years. The solution? Shutting down coal-fired energy and banning the mercury trade.

Read the press release here.

IPEN's closing statement

Delivered by IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Tadesse Amera.

"We should take advantage of the synergies available between the Minamata Convention and the Paris Agreement and seize the opportunity to make large scale global reductions in mercury and carbon pollution. Parties should be bold and go beyond compliance with the Minamata Convention, rapidly replacing coal-powered energy with renewables instead of waiting for marginal pollution reductions under future BAT-BEP implementation for coal burning." 

"IPEN issues a challenge to all Parties who have not done so, to show further commitment to end the mercury trade and announce that their country has banned mercury exports at COP3."

Read the entire statement here.

Dr. Tadesse Amera waiting to make IPEN's closing statement (Photo by Yuyun Ismawati)

 

19 November, 2018

IPEN set up its booth at the conference venue today, with the theme of "Protecting Paradise." Based on the alarming results from the new study Mercury Threat to Women & Children Across 3 Oceans, and what it means for the communities living in the (mostly) Small Island Developing States where sampling was carried out, IPEN decided to highlight the beautiful, "paradise-like" environments of the islands and underscore the importance of ending mercury exports and stopping the use of coal in order to support island nations and "Protect Paradise." 

In addition, IPEN developed a "Travel Brochure" and "Tour Packages" in keeping with the theme.

Fuatino Matatumua-Leota, Delegate from Samoa, at the IPEN booth

19 November, 2018

IPEN / BRI press release: (Göteborg, Sweden) A new study has found elevated levels of toxic mercury in women of child-bearing age in countries across the Pacific, Caribbean, and Indian Ocean. More than half of all women who were sampled measured above the US EPA level of concern, and three out of four women measured had mercury levels that have been associated with the onset of mercury-related impacts to fetal development. The study establishes that mercury pollution has accumulated across the worlds’ major oceans, contaminating the marine food chain and posing a threat to a sizable portion of the world’s island populations.

Read the full press release here.

18 November, 2018

In light of today's technical briefing on Effectiveness Evaluation for the Treaty, IPEN prepared a one-page document outlining its views that new, science-based biomonitoring data is needed for the process. Read it here.

17 November, 2018

IPEN held its preparatory meeting for the 2nd Conference of the Parties at the meeting venue in Geneva. 23 IPENers from 20 countries attended the meeting, which focused on IPEN's priorities for the week ahead.

15 November, 2018

Mercury Trade and Supply in ASGM Hotspots: Kenya Country Situation Report

Centre for Environment Justice and Development (CEJAD) conducted a study to establish mercury use, trade and supply within the ASGM subsector in Kenya. The study methodology entailed literature reviews; key informant interviews; as well as survey of some of the miners in select mines in Siaya and Migori Counties. The main objective of the study was to asses mercury trade and supply chains in the target ASGM hotspots in Kenya. Read the study here.

9 November, 2018

IPEN's "Quick Views" on the Mercury Treaty COP2 (español / 中文 / English / русский / français / عربى)

This document presents IPEN's views about some issues that will be addressed at the 2nd Conference of the Parties, including mercury supply sources & trade, effetiveness evaluation, waste thresholds, contaminated sites, and more.

8 October, 2018

IPEN COP2 Briefs on:

14 March 2018

IPEN and PAN met with Gertrude Sahler, President of SAICM, to share information about priorities for and questions about SAICM's Beyond 2020 process. IPEN Steering Committee Member Alexandra Caterbow (HejSupport) facilitated the discussion, which focused on highly hazardous pesticides, financing, and women and chemicals. Dr. Meriel Watts (PAN Asia Pacific) and Yuyun Ismawati (BaliFokus) also shared specific information about the loss of life and damage to health caused by the toxic impacts of pesticides and mercury use. 

Yuyun Ismawati (BaliFokus), Alex Caterbow (HejSupport), Gertude Sahler (SAICM President) and Joe DiGangi (IPENGertrude Sahler (SAICM President), Joe DiGangi (IPEN), Semia Gharbi (AEEFG), Jasminka Randelovic (ALHem), Gilbert Kuepouo (CREPD) and Silvani Mng'anya (AGENDA)  

 

Today was a day for discussion in group sessions. Each group discussed the following five themes: Vision, Policy Principles, Objectives and Milestones, Implementation (Including finance) and Governance. The purpose of the discussion day was to “exchange views and foster an inclusive dialogue among all SAICM stakeholders.”

Each theme had two pre-assigned Co-Hosts. IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya and Mr. Rico Euripidou, from IPEN Participating Organization groundWork, were designated Co-Hosts. The Co-Hosts, which represented the five
United Nations regions as well as the five sectors represented in the Bureau (public interest organizations, health sector NGOs, labour sector NGOs, industry and IOMC), participated in each of the discussion groups to facilitate the dialogue and build on the discussions of each of the groups.

Following the conclusion of all the discussion groups, the Co-Hosts shared the findings from the groups in plenary. The findings (as presented by the Co-Hosts) will be consolidated into one paper and it will be presented to and shared with all the meeting participants on 15 March. The SAICM Secretariat notes, “Based on possible further input and comments in plenary, including inclusion of the plenary discussions on high-level political commitment and
visibility under agenda item 5(f), this paper may constitute the outcome of the second intersessional meeting and will be annexed to the report of the meeting, serving as input to the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group.”

Griffins Ochieng (CEJAD), Johanna Hausmann (WECF) and Lia Esquillo (IPEN / EcoWaste Coalition) looking at questions for the group discussion

 

13 March 2018

IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya made an Opening Statement in plenary today, stating: "We hope that during these three days we will have time to discuss financial mechanisms that guarantee a sufficient and sustainable funding for the implementation of SAICM emerging policy issues and other issues of concern, and national implementation plans with agreed-upon measurable actions that contribute to implementation of Agenda 2030. We strongly believe that the key to securing sustainable funding for chemical safety is the internalization of costs within relevant producer industries."

Please click here to read the entire statment, as well as to see other interventions given in plenary.

Click here to view some of IPEN's participation in SAICM reported by International Institute for Sustainable Development/ Earth Negotiations Bulletin (IISD/ENB).

12 March, 2018

After attending an "Exchange of Views among SAICM Stakeholders" at the meeting venue today, IPEN set-up a display of information resources, which included IPEN's Beyond 2020 Perspectives as well as the recent report Stories of Women Workers in Vietnam's Electronics Industry, which IPEN published along with partner CGFED in Vietnam.

Hang Pham, Vice Director of CGFED, at the IPEN exhibit holding the "Stories of Women Workers in Vietnam's Electronics Industry" report

12 March, 2018

IPENers from around the world gathered in Solna, Sweden for a two-day preparatory meeting in advance of the 2nd Meeting of the Intersessional Process for SAICM beyond 2020, which begins on 13 March.

IPEN Group SAICM 2nd intersessional

5 March, 2018

IPEN Quick Views of 2nd Beyond 2020 Intersessional Process Meeting (اللغة العربية, English, español, русский, français)

This "Quick Views" document highlights IPEN views on SAICM Beyond 2020 issues such as vision, policy principles, objectives and milestones, governance, high-level political commitment and financing. The document also follows IPEN comments that were provided to Brazil and Canada, the Co-Chairs of SAICM's "Beyond 2020" intersessional process.

4 March, 2018

IPEN Beyond 2020 Perspectives (français / русский / español / اللغة العربية)

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is the only international agreement that addresses the full range of known and newly discovered health and environmental concerns associated with the production and use of chemicals. The 2006 decision that established SAICM expires in 2020 and now there is a global process to determine what comes next. In 2017, in advance of the 1st Meeting of the Intersessional for Process for SAICM beyond 2020, IPEN and Pesticide Action Network collaborated to produce a series of documents that highlight civil society views on key topics for the Beyond 2020 process. The papers describe SAICM’s importance, how chemical safety can contribute to sustainable development, and how actions should be financed. In addition, the papers deal with the relationship between women and chemical safety, how the industry should reduce and eliminate hazard through design, and the connection between human rights and chemical safety. These papers continue to be relevant for the 2nd Meeting of the Intersessional Process, and you can read all the papers here.



6 December, 2017

On 6 December in Nairobi, IPEN released a new report showing high mercury levels among Minamata COP1 delegates. Researchers from IPEN (a global public health and environment network) and BRI (the Biodiversity Research Institute) analyzed mercury levels in hair samples from 180 delegates (104 women and 76 men) from 75 countries who participated the COP1 of the Minamata Convention in Geneva from September 24-29th, 2017. The findings revealed mercury in all participants and elevated mercury levels exceeding the US EPA health advisory level of 1 ppm, above which brain damage, IQ loss, kidney and cardiovascular damage may occur, in over half of the study participants. Levels many times higher were identified in delegates from a number of regions. Read information about the release here .

5 December, 2017

On 5 December, IPEN Co-Chair Olga Speranskaya gave a presentation at the Multistakeholder dialogue at UNEA3 during a segment titled, "How Does Pollution Affect Us?" Olga's presentation covered the impact of pollution, specifically as it affects women, a population that has become particularly vulnerable to toxic chemical exposure.

"Throughout their lives, men and women are exposed to numerous harmful chemicals. But chemicals in women’s body can be transferred across the placenta during fetal development and through breast milk to the nursing baby. Exposures during fetal development can cause lifelong diseases and disabilities and increase the risks of irreversible harm. Adverse effects can also be carried across multiple generations."

Read Olga's full presentation here .

4 December, 2017

During a side event about the rising environmental pollution and human rights violations from the energy and extractive industry, IPEN partner, Peninah Atwine from EMLI-Uganda shared her experience with gold mining and mercury use in mining sites in the Buhweju District Mining sites in Uganda. Peninah noted that mining activities are intensifying under working conditions that are not environmentally sound.

The following are some highlights from Peninah's presentation:

  • Over 2000 miners can be found working at one mining site where there is only a single toilet. This forces the workers to use bushes instead, which has put their health at significant risk, resulting in the contraction of cholera and other related diseases.
  • The use of mercury by artisanal small scale miners is introduced by gold buyers. Therefore, the workers are not afforded knowledge about the effective use of such chemicals and the implementation protective measures . In addition, waste water containing mercury is discharged in water catchment areas, like wetlands, polluting nearby bodies of water.
  • Moreover, mining activities are carried out in wetlands, which puts children and nearby communities in danger when mining sites are left uncovered, increasing the risk of diseases and accidents. In one instance, an uncovered mining site led to the death a child from a nearby community.
  • Men who work in mining communities confess that their families are breaking up due to their inability to function and participate well in a family environment after heavy days of work.
  • Lastly, the lack of nearby health facilities around mining sites and land-grabbing by investors has created continued health risk and turmoil for mining workers.

Peninah Atwine speaks at UNEA side event about the dangers of working in the ASGM industry.

4 December, 2017

From 15:30 - 16:15 today in Nairobi, IPEN and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) held a press conference to announce a new partnership. The overall theme of the IPEN - UNEP Partnership is to contribute to the work on Gender and Chemicals, through a focus on women in the following areas :

  • Raising awareness of the health effects and other impacts to women and children as vulnerable populations from chemical exposures, including by creating opportunities for training and experience-sharing and collecting relevant sex-disaggregated data;
  • Promoting women's engagement and leadership in decision-making processes at national and global levels; and
  • Implementing and contributing to activities related to SAICM Emerging Policy Issues and other Issues of Concern, as well as related chemicals conventions and relevant Sustainable Development Goals.

IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya opened the press conference with a statement on the partnership, reminding attendees: "There are nearly 4 billion women and girls on the planet. Despite the fact that women make up roughly half of the population and chemical exposure is widespread, knowledge of exposure routes and the true impacts of chemical exposures on women aredifficult to determine because there is a lack of gender-disaggregated data." Read her entire statement here.

Other speakers at the conference included Ms. Imogen Ingram (Island Sustainability Alliance, Cook Islands), Ms. Eunice Atieno Juma (MOKAN Women’s Group, Kenya), Minster Karolina Skog (Minister of Environment, Sweden), and Dr. Ligia Noronha (Director of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, UNEP). Shradha Shreejaya (Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development) facilitated.

To learn more about the speakers and the partnership, please see this introduction .

 

4 December, 2017:

IPENer Phyllis Omido (Center for Justice, Governance and Environmental Action- CJGEA, Kenya) participated in an event about environmental defenders: Stories from the front line of environmental protection. She was joined by John Knox (UN Secretary General’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment), Julius Opiyo (Global Witness), and Laetitia Zobel (UN Environment expert on indigenous people’s issues). For some background to the subject, please see : Global Witness Defenders of the Earth campaign .

2 December, 2017

Women and Chemicals Side Event

On 5 December , WECF , Balifokus , IPEN , and partners will premiere the film, "What Does Gender have to do with Chemicals?" during an event at UNEA3.

The documentary film addresses chemical and waste pollution areas, and looks at best practices from a gender perspective in Nigeria and Senegal. After the film, IPEN Steering Committee member Yuyun Ismawati from Balifokus will participate in a panel discussion on the topic of Strengthening Gender Policies for a Toxics-free Planet. At the conclusion of the panel, there will be a celebration of a new partnership on Women and Chemicals between IPEN and UN Environment. To see the flyer, visit this page .

1 December, 2017

A new video has been released by UN Environment at the 3rd Meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly featuring Minamata Disease survivor, Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto.

Shinobu calls for an end to pollution: "The fetal Minamata disease patients including myself are getting worse, year by year. Many people are still suffering and struggling from pollution. Today, I must repeat my message--Minamata disease is not over. Pollution must end."

The video is the result of a collaboration between Shinobu’s team, who attended the first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention in Geneva, UN Environment and IPEN.

Prior to her participation in COP1, Shinobu launched the Honoring Minamata Campaign at the Mercury Treaty INC2, together with IPEN and Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution, Japan

Click here to learn more about Shinobu’s story.

27 November, 2017

Chemicals and Waste Panel

IPEN Co-Chair Olga Speranskaya participated in a panel on Chemicals and Waste at the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum 27-28 November 2017, highlighting that children today are born already contaminated with hundreds of man-made chemicals and emphasizing the urgent need for strong global bans on toxic chemicals.

Olga Speranskaya speaking on the panel.

Marine Pollution Panel

Semia Gharbi and David Azoulay, representatives from IPEN Participating Organizations AEEFG and CIEL , spoke on a panel at the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum to address Marine Pollution. The panel was moderated by Sascha Gabizon from WECF . Plastic pollution was a topic specifically emphasized, and representatives from the #BreakFreeFromPlastic member groups spoke on the development of the Break Free From Plastics movement. Solutions to address the problem of pollution in the ocean were discussed.

17 November, 2017

IPEN has participated in the first two UN Environment Assemblies, and will now be participating in the third. Find out more about this year's Assembly here .

See IPEN's Views of Selected Issues to be discussed at UNEA3 for information about IPEN's positions on specific resolutions.

Events of the meeting will be as follows:

  • 27-28 November : Civil society will host the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum , which facilitates the participation of civil society in the Environment Assembly and associated meetings.
  • 29 November - 1 December : The Committee of Permanent Representatives will hold its third open-ended meeting.
  • 2-3 December : The Science, Policy and Business Forum will bring together top scientists, citizen groups, policymakers and business leaders to promote and operationalize science-driven policies and innovations that address planetary challenges and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • 3-6 December 2017 : The Sustainable Innovation Expo will take place on the margins of the Assembly and will complement the high-profile Leadership Dialogues. The Expo will showcase that science teaches problem solving; it will also encourage critical thinking in how important, though small, our world is. The Expo will also engage participants in the oldest science of all—astronomy.

29 September, 2017

Is Minamata Only for Gold?

Today IPENers asked delegates: Is Minamata Only for Gold?

With the focus on gold at the Convention, IPEN would like to remind the delegates about other aspects of the Convention that must be addressed, such as mercury waste, coal-fired power plants' contribution to mercury pollution, mercury in products, human rights and more.

Sounkoura Adetonah (GAPROFFA, Benin), Leslie Adogame (SRADev, Nigeria) and Yuyun Ismawati (Balifokus, Indonesia)Yu Tani (Collaboration Ctr for Minamata Disease Victims, Japan), Ram Charitra Sah (CEPHED, Nepal), Rochelle Diver (IITC, US), Denys Pavloyskyi (MAMA-86, Ukraine), Emily Boone (IPEN, US) and Gohar Khojayan (AWHHE, Armenia)

 

28 September, 2017

IPEN COP1 Bulletin for High Level Delegates

IPEN had an opportunity to get samples of hair from some High Level Delegates that attended a breakfast at the conference venue this morning. As we met the High Level Delegates, we shared with them a bulletin about some work IPEN has been doing at the COP1 and also about the recent Mercury in Women of Child-bearing Age in 25 Countries study. 

See the bulletin here.

Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (Ghana) getting his hair cut to test for mercury levels

Ado Lõhmus, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Environment (Estonia) signing a consent form for hair testing at the IPEN booth

28 September, 2017

What if the fish you ate was polluted by mercury?

IPENers served tuna fish snacks to delegates to raise awareness about mercury content in fish-an essential part of many diets around the world. Recently, IPEN published a report monitoring mercury levels in women of child-bearing age in the Asia and the Pacific region, where fish diets are prevalent. This report revealed that women of child-bearing age, living in four Pacific Island countries, have elevated levels of mercury in their bodies. The women tested aged between 18 - 44, from Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and Kiribati, and two landlocked Asian countries, Tajikistan and Nepal. At Mercury Treaty COP1, IPEN presented these results to delegates on a silver platter. In a more recent global report, IPEN and BRI (Biodiversity Research Institute) gathered hair samples from women of child-bearing age in 37 locations, across 25 countries, on 6 continents. It was found that 42% of the 1044 women sampled had average mercury levels over the US EPA health advisory level of 1ppm.

Rochelle Diver (IITC) and Emily Boone (IPEN) serve tuna fish snacks to raise awareness about high mercury levels in fish.Ram serves tuna to delegatesTadesse Amera (PAN-Ethiopia) and Tiffany Tool (IPEN) serve tuna fish snacks at Mercury Treaty COP1.

26 September, 2017: 

IPEN Raises Awareness about Mercury in Skin Cream

IPEN held an action to raise awareness about mercury content in some skin creams, particularly skin-lightening creams. Representatives in salon capes with face cleanser and shower caps spoke with delegates about the risks of using skin creams that contain mercury. Delegates and COP1 participants were encouraged to bring skin creams to the IPEN booth for mercury testing.  

IPENers dress in salon clothing to raise awareness about mercury in skin cream.IPENers raise awareness about mercury in skin creamIPENers raise awareness about mercury in skin cream.

25 September, 2017:

IPEN Press Release: Minamata Disease and Mercury Pollution: Past, Present, and Future

Geneva Switzerland:  IPEN, a global network of health and environmental NGOs, have brought together a mercury poisoning survivor from Minamata, Japan with researchers who have just exposed alarming levels of mercury in women of child-bearing age across the globe. Testimony was heard from Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto, who sustained significant neurological damage from in-utero mercury poisoning when her mother, like thousands harmed or killed by industrial mercury in Minamata Bay, consumed mercury-contaminated fish. Ms. Sakamoto called on government delegates to the Minamata Convention to take strong action to bring an end to global mercury poisoning and ensure there are no more Minamatas. Specifically, Convention delegates must end the global trade in mercury that is feeding small scale gold mining, drive down coal-fired power emissions and clean up contaminated sites. The Minamata Convention on Mercury commemorates the world’s most infamous mercury poisoning episode in Minamata Bay, Japan as a reminder of mercury’s devastating effects, and to catalyze action to prevent future Minamata disasters. Mr. Yoichi Tani, advisor for the past 40 years to a surviving community of Minamata Disease sufferers said, “Minamata is still a contaminated site. There are many Minamata disease victims struggling to be recognized and compensated. The situation in Minamata is not resolved.” 

Read the entire press release here

IPEN International Coordinator Bjorn Beeler opening the press conference

 

24 September, 2017

Minamata Disease survivor and activist Shinobu Sakamoto made an impactful opening statement on behalf of the Collaboration Center for Minamata Disease Victims, IPEN and Zero Mercury Working Group in plenary on the opening day of the conference. NGO colleagues stood behind her in solidarity as she made her statement, which called upon delegates to recognize that, although the Treaty is now in force, the work to address mercury pollution issues has just begun.   

Shinobu opening statement Hg COP1

24 September, 2017

Hair sampling at the IPEN booth is underway! IPEN is taking hair samples from all those interested and sending them to Biodiversity Research Institute's laboratories for mercury analysis. Results will be complied and reported on at UNEA3.

IPEN taking hair samples Hg COP1   IPEN taking hair samples Hg COP1   IPEN taking hair samples Hg COP1

Some participants perused IPEN's Mercury Salon Magazine while they were getting their hair cut. This magazine is a compliation of various projects by IPEN and partners related to mercury in cosmetics.

23 September, 2017

Honoring Minamata

IPEN will continue to support our colleagues from Japan as they state that Minamata Disease is Not Over Yet. Representatives from the Collaboration Center for Minamata Disease Victims (Minamata Disease Victims’ Mutual Aid Society) are in Geneva attending the COP1 and reitering their message of No More Minamata! "By agreeing to the Mercury convention and restricting the use of mercury all over the world, a tragedy like Minamata disease should never be repeated." 

Shinobu Sakamoto, Minamata Disease survivor and long-time activist, along with Yu Tani (Carer) and Hiroko Saisho (translator).

23 September, 2017

IPEN is participating in the 1st Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury ("Mercury Treaty COP1") taking place from 24 - 29 September in Geneva, Switzerland. 

IPEN team in Geneva

5 May, 2017:

Press Release: At UN chemicals meeting, political will clashes with narrow commercial interests

Governments at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) agreed to add three toxic chemicals to the treaty, but granted extensive loopholes for two of them. The chemicals are DecaBDE, SCCPs, and HCBD.1 All three chemicals are persistent, highly toxic, travel long distances and build up in the food chain. Loopholes were granted for DecaBDE and SCCPs and recent IPEN studies found both substances in children’s toys.2A small group of countries rejected proposals to at least label new products containing the substances. Countries and consumers concerned about contaminated products will have no information about their content.

“This is the beginning of the end for DecaBDE, SCCPs, and HCBD,” said Dr. Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair. “We urge governments to move quickly to prohibit these substances and not prolong harm through the use of exemptions.”

Read the entire press release here

1 May, 2017

Press Release: At UN meeting, governments grant unprecedented continued use of toxic chemicals found in children’s toys

Today at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8), governments rushed thru decisions to list two toxic chemicals, but provided extraordinary loopholes that permit all uses of them. The chemicals are DecaBDE, a flame retardant commonly found in electronic waste, and SCCPs, an industrial chemical used in metal working and as a flame retardant in plastics.1 Both chemicals are persistent, highly toxic, travel long distances and build up in the food chain. Recent IPEN studies found both substances widely present in children’s toys.2

“Delegates made a mockery of the theme of the meeting, “A Future Detoxified,” said Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN Sr. Advisor. “Today’s decisions guarantee harmful worker exposures, poisonous children’s toys, contaminated recycling streams, and more waste dumping. The real theme of the meeting seems to be “A Future De-Toxified.”

Read the entire press release here

28 April, 2017

IPEN Side Event: Screening of the documentary "Trashed"

Lee Bell, IPEN POPs and Mercury Advisor, introduced the film “Trashed.” Trashed is an environmental documentary written and directed by British film-maker Candida Brady. It follows actor Jeremy Irons as he investigates the global scale and impact of humanity's modern wasteful consumerism and pollution. The film is a call for urgent action to resolve the issue of existing deposits and drastically reduce our consumption towards sustainable levels and zero waste, but also demonstrates how this is already being achieved successfully in many communities around the world. The film was particularly relevant to show during the Conference of the Parties as discussions about low POPs content levels and other waste-related issues were taking place. 

Trashed film advert

27 April, 2017

Recycling of POPs is Not Allowed in the Stockholm Convention: This morning at the Conference of the Parties, IPEN and friends reminded delegates coming in to the venue about the legal obligations of the Stockholm Convention.

Recycling of POPs not allowed

27 April, 2017

Opening of the Technology Fair

IPEN participated in the COPs Technology Fair by further highlighting how an X-ray fluorescence machine can be used to test various items for certain POPs and heavy metals. Jitka Strakova from Arnika Association showed delegates how specific toys were tested; the results for which were published in the IPEN report POPs Recycling Contaminates Children's Toys with Toxic Flame Retardants.

Also during the Technology Fair, Tiffany Tool (IPEN) used a hand blender to make fruit smoothies for Conference delegates visiting IPEN's Toxic Toy Store. She explained that, although the hand blender used to make the smoothies at the booth was tested and did not contain short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), studies have shown that hand blenders used for food preparation leak SCCPs under normal use. The Stockholm Convention's POPs Review Committee (POPRC) recommended that SCCPs be listed in the Convention during the COP8. IPEN tested various toys (and other products) for SCCPs and the results are included in the new report Toxic Industrial Chemical Recommended for Global Prohibition Contaminates Children's Toys.

Tiffany Tool making smoothies at the IPEN booth

25 April, 2017

Press Release: At UN meeting, Canada and Chile stand alone trying to legitimize e-waste dumping and promote recycling of toxic chemical into children’s products

Today, at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties, Chile and Canada surprised delegates by proposing to allow recycling materials containing a toxic flame retardant widely found in electronic waste (e-waste). The proposal violates the Stockholm Convention which explicitly prohibits recycling and reuse of substances on its list.

DecaBDE is used in the plastic casings of electronic products and if it is not removed, it is carried into new products when the plastic is recycled. Toxicity studies indicate potential adverse developmental, neurotoxic, and reproductive effects, and DecaBDE or its degradation products may also act as endocrine disruptors.

Ironically, a new IPEN study shows that the toxic recycling policy advocated by these countries widely contaminates children’s products. In fact, in Canada all sampled toys made of recycled plastic contained both OctaBDE and DecaBDE.

Read the entire press release here

24 April, 2017

On the first day of the Conferences of the Parties, IPEN unveiled its "Toxic Toy Store," which displayed numerous toys from around the world that were tested to determine potential toxic ingredients, as well as IPEN and Partner documents, including IPEN's Toxic Toy Store Spring 2017 Catalog. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), decabromodiphenyl (DecaBDE) and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), which were found in some of the toys, are recommended for listing in the Stockholm Convention. One delegate, visibly distressed by the presence of toxic chemcials in the toys at the booth, stated that two of the toys being displayed were currently in her daughter's bedroom. 

Also at the store, IPEN used a X-ray fluorescence machine to test various items from delegates (phone cases, wallets, eyeglasses, jewelry, etc.) for heavy metals and bromine on-the-spot.

IPEN's Toxic Toy Store at the Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm Conferences of the PartiesJitka Strakova, Arnika, explains to a delegate where some recycled toxic materials can be found in toys

Eva Hladikova (Arnika Association)

24 April, 2017

IPEN held a lunchtime side event entitled "Toxic toy or toxic waste?: Recycling POPs into new products" at the conference center in Geneva. Lee Bell, BA MA (ESD) (IPEN Mercury and POPs Policy Advisor) facilitated the event, and Joseph DiGangi, PhD (IPEN Senior Science and Technical Advisor), RNDr. Jindrich Petrlik (Director, Arnika Toxics & Waste Programme and IPEN Dioxin, PCBs and Waste Working Group) and Mgr. Jitka Strakova (Arnika Toxics and Waste Progamme and IPEN Dioxin, PCBs and Waste Working Group) presented information related to two recent IPEN studies about brominated flame retardants, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, and other chemicals in toys; a new IPEN report about fly ash; toxic waste; low POPs content levels; and toxic recycling.

As delegates entered the event, IPENers handed them small bags filled with sugar that represented each person's approximate share of waste incineration ash that is produced each quarter of the year per each person living on planet Earth. The bags weighed 350 g. (slightly more than 1 ppb concentration), and, were it real waste incineration ash, it would contain approximately 375ng TEQ of dioxins. This amount of dioxins, if eaten, would be over 2,000 times a human's tolerable daily intake (2 pg/kg body weight/day). Even a 100 times lower exposure to dioxin (which can result in real contaminated food) is still worrying! The current Low POPs Content Level for dioxins in wastes (such as fly ash) is 15 ppb- 15 times more than the amount handed to the delegates attending the side event. IPEN believes that delegates must adopt the more stringent value for Low POPs Content Level for dioxin (PCDD/F) of 1 ppb.

 

23 April, 2017

Representatives from IPEN Participating Organizations and Partners in 30 countries met today in Geneva for an IPEN preparatory meeting prior to the beginning of the Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. The meetings begin on the 24th of April with a joint session of the three Conventions.

Group photo at IPEN prep meeting (Photo by John Wickens)

20 April, 2017:

Toxic Ash Poisons Our Food Chain

This new report was prepared by IPEN to address a major source of POPs contamination of the environment that is often overlooked, underestimated or incorrectly classified in risk assessments, exposure scenarios and regulatory controls on waste. 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. Current management practices and regulatory threshold levels for POPs that contaminate incinerator residues are not preventing releases of POPs into agricultural settings, the food chain and the broader environment.

Read the report here

16 April, 2017:

IPEN and Basel Action Network (BAN) Quick Views of Basel Convention COP13

In the run-up to the Basel Convention's 13th Conference of the Parties, IPEN and 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.

See the Quick Views here

16 April, 2017:

RAPAM and RAP-AL Letter to Argentine, Chilean and Mexican Governments about Rotterdam Convention Nominations

Led by Red de Acción sobre Plaguicidas y Alternativas en México (RAPAM), IPEN Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Red de Acción en Plaguicidas y sus Alternativas de América Latina (RAP-AL), more then 50 organizations, including NGOs and academics, sent letters to the Argentine, Chilean and Mexican authorities to urge them to support the nomination of paraquat (a toxic herbicide), chrysotile asbestos (a carcinogen) and other substances to be included in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention. Pressure from the chemical and asbestos industry in the region has been high in an attempt to blockade these nominations.

Read the letters here (español)

14 April, 2017:

IPEN Quick Views of Stockholm Convention COP8

In the run-up to the Stockholm Convention's 8th Conference of the Parties, IPEN has released its "Quick Views of Stockholm Convention COP8." This document is a summary statement of IPEN views on issues that COP8 will be called upon to address, including POPs wastes, technical assistance and regional centres, rules of procedure, compliance, listing of new POPs (DecaBDE, SCCPs and HCBD), effectiveness evaluation, exemptions and acceptable purposes, evaluation of PBDE, and more.

See the Quick Views here

7 April, 2017: 

IPEN Guide to Listing the 2017 POPs Candidates

The Stockholm Convention established a science-based process for new persistent organic pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention. The Convention recognizes that a lack of full scientific certainty should not prevent a candidate substance from proceeding in the evaluation or listing and clearly mandates Parties to decide on listing “in a precautionary manner.” This new Guide (English /русский /español / français / العربية) highlights three new candidates for listing in the Convention in 2017 - decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE), short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) - and provides the POPs Review Committee's recommendation for which annex the POPs should be listed under in the Convention, the chemicals' uses, alternatives, adverse effects, and more.

See the Guide here

3 April, 2017:

To the EU delegates of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions: Keep the Promise, Eliminate POPs

IPEN and colleagues in the European Union (EU) sent a letter to Representatives of the European Commission and EU Member States urging them to support decisions at the upcoming Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions' Conference of the Parties that uphold Convention principles and EU commitments to protect human health and the environment. Two key decisions at the Basel and Stockholm Conventions are: 1) determination of low POPs content level; and 2) listing of new substances in the Stockholm Convention.

For a circular economy, it is critical that hazardous substances be eliminated from the circle. Unfortunately, at the international level, the EU has a poor track record on this issue by repeatedly promoting toxic recycling policies under the Stockholm Convention. We urge the EU to take a clear position against recycling materials containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers – PentaBDE, OctaBDE or DecaBDE – at the 8th meeting of Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (COP8).

The Stockholm Convention requires treatment of POPs waste above the low POPs content level so that it no longer exhibits POPs characteristics. The proposed and provisional levels for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), and dioxins and furans (PCCD/F) create a loophole that allows for disposal options that may be less costly initially, but that leave behind substantial POPs residues that result in significant costs and harms to human health and the environment. We request the EU to support low POPs content levels of 50 ppm for PBDEs, 100 ppm for HBCDD, and 1 ng WHO-TEQ/g (1 ppb) for PCCD/F.

Read the entire letter here.

27 March, 2017:

Low POPs Content Levels Must Be Low

At the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions Conferences of the Parties, key decisions will be made that define what is included as POPs waste. The definition will be based on a threshold concentration for a range of specific POPs (e.g. dioxin, PCBs, PFOS, etc.) and any waste containing more than that threshold concentration value will be defined as "POPs waste."’ Such POPs waste will be subject to measures as required under Article 6 of the Stockholm Convention to ensure that it is “Disposed of in such a way that the persistent organic pollutant content is destroyed or irreversibly transformed.”

IPEN has developed a briefing paper addressing these threshold concentrations, which are known as Low POPs Content levels. The values that IPEN has proposed to be adopted for Low POPs Content are based on the protection of human health and the environment and on fully referenced, sound science. It should be highlighted that setting strict Low POPs Content levels is virtually the only way to prevent the transboundary movement of POPs waste such as incinerator residues and some electronic-wastes from industrialised countries to lower income countries. IPEN encourages delegates from Parties to the Conventions and observers to review this briefing paper and support the IPEN proposals for Low POPs Content.

20 March, 2017

IPENers will be participating in the Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions taking place from 24 April - 5 May, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. Although the Stockholm Convention COP is IPEN’s main focus, IPEN will also participate in the Basel and Rotterdam Convention meetings. Some of IPEN’s partners, such as Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Basel Action Network (BAN), and Rotterdam Convention Alliance (ROCA), amongst others, will also be participating. Some positions and documents from partners can also be found on this site.

IPEN Closing Statement

9 February, given by Dr. Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair:

IPEN would like to thank the Co-Chairs for leading the meeting and the Secretariat for preparing all the documents and for arranging a fruitful and open discussion between stakeholders. We support the delegate from Zambia and urge the need to translate the outcome document of this meeting into all UN languages to ensure active participation of all countries and stakeholders in providing comments. We all are closely watched by our constituencies who are expecting meaningful decisions from this and other meetings and papers that will be held within this preparatory process towards the ICCM5. Women, children, indigenous peoples, and victims of toxic chemicals pollution urgently need meaningful decisions to reduce the exposure. They are depending on us. IPEN is committed to continue working with all the participants and stakeholders within SAICM process to achieve the toxic-free future.

High Level Segment

7 February: Jeffer Castelo Branco, Director of Associação de Combate aos POPs (ACPO) in Brazil, spoke on the High Level Panel at the meeting. The Panel, organized by the Government of Brazil. was convened to address "A Holistic Approach to Addressing Sustainable Development." Mr. Castelo Branco, the only civil society representative on the Panel, spoke about the impact of toxic chemicals on workers' health and the environment and the reality of the chemical industry's failure to protect workers' health.

Jeffer Castelo Branco speaking at the High Level Segment (Photo by IISD)

 

Informal Dialogues

7 February: IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya was a panelist at the Informal Dialogue: Looking ahead: SAICM and the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste in the Light of Recent Developments. The dialogue was meoderated by Mr. Fernando Goméz and other panelists included Ms. Sabaa Khan (University of Eastern Finland), Mr. Marco Mensink (European Chemical Industry Council), Mr. Bob Diederich (OECD), and Ms. Christabel Mibenge (Ministry of Health, Health Promotion, Environment and Social Determinents, Zambia). Amongst other important messages, Dr. Speranskaya stated, "Industry is responsible to provide information about chemicals they produce and use. Information on health and environment cannot be confidential. No corporate interests could justify the need to keep information on toxic chemicals undisclosed.' Read Dr. Speranskaya's statement here.

Mr. Fernando Goméz, Ms. Christabel Mibenge, Ms. Sabaa Khan, Mr. Marco Mensink, Mr. Bob Diederich and Dr. Olga Speranskaya

 

7 February: Ms. Qian Cheng, Deputy Head of Toxics Campaign for Greenpeace East Asia, was a panelist at the Informal Dialogue: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Chemistry to Contribute to Sustainable Development. Mr. Achim Halpaap (United Nations Environment) moderated the discussion, and Ms. Jutta Emig (German Ministry of Environment), Ms. Marina Mattar (Brazilian Chemical Industry Association), and Ms. Noluzuko Gwayi (Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa) were additional panelists. Read Qian Cheng's statement here.

Marina Mattar, Qian Cheng and Achim Halpaap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1st meeting of the intersessional process for considering SAICM and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 is being held in Brasilia, Brazil, from 7 - 9 February, 2017. Numerous IPEN Participating Organization representatives are participating. For details about IPEN's activities at the meeting, please see the tabs above. For more information (including an agenda, other meeting documents and more), see the SAICM website

The IPEN team in Brasilia

1 February: IPEN Quick Views on the 1st meeting of the intersessional process for considering SAICM and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020

The IPEN Quick Views document is a summary statement of some IPEN views about issues that will be taken up at the 1st meeting of the intersessional process for considering SAICM and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020, including, among others, financing, a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approach, raising SAICM's political priority, responding to new and emerging policy issues, and Agenda 2030. Read the Quick Views here.

 

24 January: IPEN Beyond 2020 Perspectives

français / русский / español / اللغة العربية

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is the only international agreement that addresses the full range of known and newly discovered health and environmental concerns associated with the production and use of chemicals. The 2006 decision that established SAICM expires in 2020 and now there is a global process to determine what comes next. IPEN and Pesticide Action Network collaborated to produce a series of documents that highlight civil society views on key topics for the Beyond 2020 process. The papers describe SAICM’s importance, how chemical safety can contribute to sustainable development, and how actions should be financed. In addition, the papers deal with the relationship between women and chemical safety, how the industry should reduce and eliminate hazard through design, and the connection between human rights and chemical safety. Read all the papers here.

30 May, 2016

IPEN is very disappointed that China's position on lead in paint prevented the UNEA from adopting a global resolution on its elimination. This related article from Voice of America features quotes from IPEN's Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign Manager and IPEN's Senior Science and Techincal Advisor: China Blocks UN Resolution to Curb Lead in Paint

IPENers Sara Brosché, Shahriar Hossain, Imogen Ingram, Tadesse Amera, Semia Gharbi and Joe DiGangi at UNEA2

28 May, 2016

At the UN Complex in Nairobi where the UNEA2 meeting took place, graffiti artist Wide Two raiseed awareness of lead poisoning among government delegates. See a short video about it here. IPENers Sara Brosché and Tadesse Amera also took part in painting the mural.

Tadesse Amera painting the mural at UNEA2

Sara Brosché ready to paint the mural at UNEA2

25 May, 2016:

IPEN Steering Committee Member Imogen Pua Ingram, from the organization Island Sustainability Alliance, Cook Islands, was a speaker at the side event: Delivering on sound management of chemicals and waste and on climate in the light of the Paris Agreement – A complementary approach for people and the environment. The event, co-hosted by the governments of Sweden and the United States, explored the links between chemicals management and climate change and considered how important it is to evaluate chemicals and climate impacts as a system in national policies. The program for the event can be seen here.

23, May, 2016:

Sara Brosché, PhD, IPEN's Lead Paint Elimination Project Manager, participated in a side event called Four Years to Phase Out Lead in Paint Worldwide, which was organized by the Lead Paint Alliance and took stock of the progress towards their goal to have legal limits to lead in paint in all countries by 2020. At the event, the US Environmental Protection Agency presented an interactive map showing an estimate of economic cost of childhood exposure to lead by the New York University. During the panel "Cross-sector cooperation towards the phasing out of lead in paint,” Dr. Brosché talked about the work IPEN has been doing to eliminate lead from paint, and emphasized the need to engage all stakeholders to successfully eliminate lead paint in a country.

Additional participants included, amongst others, Mr. Eisaku Toda (Chemicals and Waste Branch, UNEP), Ms. Walker Smith (US Environmental Protection Agency), Mr. Peter Numatala (Kenya Bureau of Standards), Ms. Stela Drucioc (Ministry of the Environment, Republic of Moldova) and Mr. Jonas Leones (Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines).

For more information about the event, see: http://www.unep.org/chemicalsandwaste/LeadandCadmium/LeadPaintAlliance/M...
Sara Brosché speaking at the UNEA2 media event

23 May, 2016:

Joseph DiGangi, PhD, IPEN Senior Science and Technical Advisor, participated in a side event on Advancing Sustainable Chemistry in a Sustainable Development Context: Opportunities for Global, Regional and National Chemicals Management. The side event was organized collaboratively through the Government of Germany, Government of Ghana, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Chemicals and Waste Branch of DTIE (Department of Technology, Industry and Economics) and the Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Secretariat, and had the following objectives:


• Discuss the Sustainable Chemistry concept and related opportunities from developing countries’ perspectives;
• Examine the potential of Sustainable Chemistry in a SAICM beyond-2020 and 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda context;
• Provide an update on recent international developments and discussions related to Sustainable Chemistry and the chemicals and waste dimensions of the SDGs; and
• Showcase specific initiatives to advance sustainable chemistry, including related policy analysis and technical support.

Mr. DiGangi participated in the interactive panel discussion during the event.

For more information, see this invitation and the list of side events on the UNEA website.

19 May, 2016:

In the run-up to the 2nd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA2), which will take place 23 - 27 May, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, IPEN has released its Views of Selected Issues at UNEA2. This document is a summary statement of some IPEN views about issues that will be taken up at the UNEA2, including: stakeholder engagement, sound management of chemicals and wastes, lead and cadmium, lead battery recycling, sustainable consumption and production, and marine plastic debris and micro plastics. العربية / English / español / русский / français

For more information about the Assembly, please go here

Griffins Ochieng and Fredrick Onyango from CEJAD, Kenya at the IPEN booth (Photo by Sara Brosché)

16 May, 2016:

IPEN has created three posters for the UNEA2-

The costs of a rapidly growing chemical industry are unsustainable

IPEN: A Toxics-Free Future

Support a Safe Chemicals Agenda

IPEN UNEA2 poster- costs

IPEN UNEA2 poster- IPEN

IPEN UNEA2 poster- safe chemicals

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