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A Toxics-Free Future

IPEN Participates in DIOXIN 2018: Symposium on Halogenated POPs & 10th International PCB Workshop

The 38th International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) & 10th International PCB Workshop, DIOXIN 2018, took place from 26-31 August 2018 in Kraków, Poland.  The symposium and workshop are recognized as the leading international POPs meetings for chemical scientists and regulators.

The message of Dioxin 2018 was: “No boundaries in POPs pollution, research and control.”

At the Conference, interesting findings in POPs research were presented by scientists and experts from many different countries around the world. While some showed a decrease in the presence of banned POPs in the environment, such as PCBs or DDT, other studies highlighted the still increasing levels of chemicals—most of which have been recently added to Stockholm Convention—such as perfluorinated chemicals (PFOS) or brominated flame retardants (e.g. deca-BDE).

Among others at the symposium,Abel Arkenbout, of IPEN Participating Organization and NGO ToxicoWatch, presented the results of research on “Emissions of dl-PCB, PBB, PBDD/F, PBDE, PFOS and PFOA from waste incinerators,” and “Temperature and Oxygen levels in the post-combustion zone of Waste-to-Energy incinerators,”and gave an oral-presentation on “Emission regimes of POPs from a Dutch incinerator: regulated, measured and hidden issues.”

Akarapon Teebthaisong, of Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH), gave two oral-presentations about “POPs contamination at ‘recycling’ and metallurgical sites in Thailand” and PCDD/Fs and PCBs in eggs (data from China, Kazakhstan and Thailand).

Additionally, an abstract, “High levels of PCDD/Fs around sites with waste containing POPs demonstrate the need to review current standards,”which wasco-authored by IPENers Lee Bell, Jamidu Katima, Jindrich Petrlik, Penchom Saetang, Jitka Strakova and others, was presented by Jindrich Petrlik, IPEN Co-Chair of Dioxin, PCBs and Waste Working Group and Arnika Toxics and Waste Programme director. 

Arnika also presented, “Toxic recycling, or How unsorted waste may contaminate consumer products in the Czech Republic.”

The conclusions and recommendations from the new study on dioxins around sites producing waste incineration fly ash are as follows: All described cases demonstrate that waste containing PCDD/Fs below the currently established provisional POPs limit (LPCL) of 15 ppb (15,000 pg TEQ/g) can lead to significant contamination around sites where the waste is reprocessed or disposed of in a way that doesn’t destroy or irreversibly transforms PCDD/Fs or dl-PCBs contained in the waste as required by Article 6 of the Stockholm Convention. Even waste above ~ 0.02 / 0.05 ppb can contaminate soil if used on surface without any treatment. Based on the findings of this and other studies, we recommend the establishment of a new limit (LPCL) for PCDD/Fs in wastes at 1 ppb, and to limit use of wastes containing PCDD/Fs + dl-PCBs above 0.05 ppb on surface soils without pre-treatment.

To see the complete abstract (español, français, عربى) as well as the other documents presented, please click HERE.

One of the most interesting presentations from the conference showed that brominated flame retardants added to mattresses might just make fires worse, rather than help to put them out, as BFRs increase the overall smoke toxicity during fire and lead to more deaths than in cases of flame retardant-free matresses. “Now we have scientific proof that, in some cases, BFRs are rather useless and are added just because the bromine industry wants to have business, not to protect human health,” says Jindrich Petrlik.