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A Toxics-Free Future



A study carried out by ABRASCO, the Brazilian Association of Collective Health, executed by researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz foundation and the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, finds that the Brzailian government provides companies that manufacture and sell pesticides tax exemptions and reductions adding up to nearly R$10 billion (US$ 2.2 billion) every year, in addition to other, less tangible protections. This lost revenue amounts to nearly four times the Ministry of the Environment’s total budget in 2019 (R$2.7 billion, or US$ 600 milllion) and more than double what the nation’s national health system [SUS] spent to treat cancer patients in 2017 (R$4.7 billion, or US$ 1 billion), according to journalists and Repórter Brasil and Agência Pública writing about the study.

“Our study clearly showed that it’s time for society to begin to reflect on subsidies for pesticides. First, because we are in the middle of a fiscal crisis in which many sectors are re-evaluating subsidies. But mostly because of the high amount the State is unable to levy,” affirms study coauthor, Wagner Soares, economist and graduate level professor in the Sustainable Development Practices program at UFRRJ.

After a Seminar focusing on Agrochemicals, Socio-enviornmental Impacts, and Human Rights in Goias, Brazil, many NGOS, including IPEN participating organizations came together to make an important statement:

IPEN representatives Lee Bell and Fernando Bejarano were invited by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment to participate in a two-day seminar on the treatment of PCBs and other POPs. Mr. Bell gave a presentation on behalf of IPEN on the latest developments in non-combustion technologies for POPs treatment.

Civil Society Participation in CONASQ – National Commission on Chemical Safety

In an effort to improve participation and collaboration among organizations and individuals concerning the SAICM Global Plan of Action, Associação de Proteção ao Meio Ambiente de Cianorte (APROMAC) pushed an explicit chemical implementation agenda at three consecutive meetings of Brazil's National Committee on Chemical Safety (CONSAQ). Additionally, they created a special webpage on their website focused solely on SAICM, which also provides monthly bulletins on SAICM issues.

Building Civil Society Capacities towards National and International Chemicals Policies

Associação de Combate aos Poluentes (ACPO) organized a meeting of eight representatives of chemical safety and environmental health NGOS from six Brazilian states in order to provide updates on the Stockholm Convention, SAICM and the Mercury Treaty process, as well as to increase the awareness of toxic chemicals in Brazil. During this meeting, a national network, REBLIT, was created to provide a central focus on the chemical agenda, to raise public awareness and to share experiences and information.

Building a Website for Raising Awareness on Chemicals in Brazil

In an effort to increase public awareness and education about the invisible dangers of toxics, Toxisphera built a website to enable citizens to post information about chemicals and reach a wider audience. This interactive website also allowed other networks and websites to share articles and publications informing the public about emerging themes of SAICM as well as the Stockholm Convention on POPs, domestic chemical prevention projects, and mercury related issues.