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A Toxics-Free Future

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Highlights Front Roll

6th United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-6)
New Report: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Threats to Human Health
Plastics Treaty INC-3
Chemical Recycling: A Dangerous Deception
IPEN at the Mercury Treaty COP-5
See StopPoisonPlastic.org - our website on toxic plastics
Video: Plastics Poisoning Our Health
New report shows that more than two hundred highly hazardous pesticides prohibited in the EU are still widely used in the developing world

Nairobi-In a historic move for safer food and farming, the U.N. Environment Assembly (UNEA) today called for action by 2035 to eliminate the use of the world’s most toxic pesticides globally. Called highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs), these chemicals are known to cause significant environmental damage and pose serious threats to health. Exposures to HHPs have been linked to cancer, impaired neurodevelopment in children, reproductive health effects, and endocrine disruption, among other serious conditions.

IPEN and PAN have collaborated on efforts to end the use of HHPs around the world for more than a decade. An IPEN report released at UNEA earlier this week outlines 83 projects by public interest groups in 43 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) focused on ending the use of HHPs and promoting safer farming practices. The analyses in the report were based on the PAN International List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides. The report found that while wealthier nations have banned or regulated most HHPs, the toxic pesticides are still widely used in LMICs, with some countries reporting that almost 70% of all pesticides allowed for use were HHPs.

The call for UNEA action was led by African nations, with Ethiopia taking a leading role. “These highly toxic chemicals continue to threaten our health and the health of millions of people where HHPs are still used,” said Dr. Tadesse Amera, Executive Director of PAN-Ethiopia, International Co-coordinator of PAN, and IPEN Co-chair. “We know that organic and agroecological practices are available and profitable in many countries but marketing and sales of HHPs undermines the transition to these healthier practices. We need a swift phase-out of HHPs for our health and the health of the planet.” 

Everyday exposures to EDCs in the environment may be linked to increasing rates of infertility, diabetes, immune deficiencies, and other serious conditions

Highly Hazardous Pesticides pose ongoing threats, especially in the Global South

Nairobi, Kenya-A report from the world’s leading scientific and medical experts on hormone-related health conditions raises new concerns about the profound threats to human health from endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that are ubiquitous in our surroundings and everyday lives. 

The report, “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Threats to Human Health” provides a comprehensive update on the state of the science around EDCs, with increasing evidence that this large group of toxic substances may be implicated in rising global health concerns. 

The report from the Endocrine Society, co-produced with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), includes detailed analyses on exposure to EDCs from four sources: plastics, pesticides, consumer products (including children’s products), and per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of thousands of chemicals known or suspected to be EDCs. 

The Endocrine Society-IPEN report is being released during the U.N. Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) meeting in Nairobi. At UNEA key agenda items include welcoming the newly adopted Global Framework on Chemicals, advancing global action on highly hazardous pesticides, and threats to the circular economy from plastics and toxic chemicals.  The groups’ report anticipates an update from UNEP and the WHO expected later this year on their 2012 Report on State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.

IPEN members from around the wrold will participate in the sixth session of the U.N. Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) in Nairobi, Keny from February 26 to March 1, 2024. The theme of the session is "Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution."

In previous UNEA meetings IPEN has advocated for strong global protections from toxic chemicals, including successfully working for adoption of the resolution for a Plastics Treaty at UNEA-5.

McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Jolly Time found to have inconsistent use of PFAS and PFAS-free packaging

Toxic chemicals linked to cancer, infertility, endocrine disruption, and other serious health conditions can leach from packaging to food, posing threats to consumers globally 

A study released today by IPEN and 18 IPEN member groups found toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, including globally banned substances, in single-use, paper, cardboard, and plant-based molded fiber food containers and tableware purchased from seventeen countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean. PFAS chemicals have been linked to cancer, infertility, and endocrine disruption. Prior studies have shown that PFAS in food packaging can leach into food and higher levels of PFAS have been found in blood testing of people who regularly eat types of foods that are typically sold in PFAS-containing packaging.

PFAS, called “Forever Chemicals”due to their extreme persistence in the environment, are widely used in food packagingand single-use tableware to confer grease-resistance. But the study found some packagingmade without PFAS, demonstrating that alternatives to the toxic substances are available. The findings also show that leading global food companies, including McDonald’sKFC, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Jolly Time sell food in PFAS-free packaging in some countries but continue to use PFAS-tainted wrapping in other countries. 

Jackets and other clothing from thirteen countries contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and other serious health conditions

A study released today by Arnika, IPEN and 13 IPEN member groups and partners found toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, including globally banned substances in outdoor jackets and clothing purchased from thirteen countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Most of the outdoor jackets were marketed for children and many of the products come into direct contact with skin. PFAS, called “Forever Chemicals” due to their extreme persistence in the environment, are used in clothing and other products to confer stain- and water-resistance. But the study also found jackets and clothing made without PFAS, demonstrating that safer alternatives to the toxic substances are available.

Chemical Recycling: A Dangerous Deception

A new report from Beyond Plastics and IPEN debunks the plastic industry’s claims that chemical recycling, also known as “advanced recycling,” will play a significant role in reducing global plastic pollution. In fact, the science and data outlined show that chemical recycling has failed for decades and will not contribute significantly to resolving the plastics crisis.

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