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A Toxics-Free Future


Together: Working for a Toxics-Free Future in Iraq

Saadiyah F. Hassoon is an expert chemical engineer who graduated from the College of Engineering at the University of Baghdad in 1981. She worked for 34 years for the Iraqi government, and in the last 10 of them she was the head of the environmental department in state company for electrical industries. In 2003 she started to shift her focus to civil society work.

As a woman, it has not been easy to work, travel, keep up with my responsibilities to my family and community, and achieve success without challenges. In 2003, I found that there was much work needed on hazardous chemicals in Iraq, especially after seeing the environmental problems that have accumulated over the decades of war in Iraq, and I knew I had to do something.

I established the organization Together to Protect Human & Environment Association (Together) in 2005 and since then we have worked hard to raise women’s voices and demand our right to a clean, and healthy environment, with access to education and clean drinking water. My ambition has been to work on a national and regional level, starting from the grassroots level and working with policy makers. 

Working during this time period was a dangerous. Terrorists were threatening everyone, especially those working in NGOs. In spite of this situation, I didn’t stop working to achieve the goal of Together promoting a peaceful society and a clean environment, and working for a toxics-free future.

Over the years Together has worked on lead in paint issues, successfully winning a strict national safety standard to eliminate lead in paint -- a huge success for us.

We also have conducted an in-depth study on highly hazardous pesticides, participated in a global study in PFAS in products, and are now working on low POPs content waste level regulations for a healthier environment. Together is also managing projects which focuses on women subjected to chemical hazards like solvents, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and products that women use in their daily life like cosmetics, cleaners, dyes, and deodorants. Our work also focuses on exposures of chemicals used in electronic manufacturing industries. 

Together is the national coordinator for the Arab Network for Environment & Development (RAED) and a member in IPEN, Habitat International Coalition (HIC), and Housing & Land Rights Network (HLRN). Finally, I am so proud of my achievements during 18 years of hard work.