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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

Global mercury pollution has been recognised as a major problem that can only be tackled effectively by international regulation and government cooperation. Mercury is a hazardous neurotoxin that can cause many health problems in humans, and most exposure is caused by dietary impacts such as eating contaminated fish where mercury bioaccumulates.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury has been developed as the main international legal instrument to protect human health and the environment from mercury pollution with range of controls on trade, emissions, and use of mercury. The fifth Conference of the Parties (COP-5) of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (Mercury Treaty) will take place in Geneva from 30 October to 3 November 2023, and several important decisions will be discussed.

Find IPEN's Quick Views for COP-5 here.

Study finds plastic toys from 10 countries have high levels of toxic chlorinated paraffins

High levels of chemicals in several toys could qualify them as hazardous waste 

A study released today by IPEN and its members from ten countries reveals that shockingly high levels of the toxic chemicals chlorinated paraffins are common in children’s plastic toys. All thirty-one toys tested for the study were found to contain the harmful chemicals, which are linked to cancer, damage to developing brains, endocrine disruption, damage to the liver and kidneys, and threats to reproductive health.

The toys were purchased in Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Malaysia, Mali, Philippines, Uganda, and USA. All toys tested contained both short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs and MCCPs), even though SCCPs were banned globally under the Stockholm Convention in 2017. MCCPs are currently under evaluation for a potential global ban and evidence shows they are equally harmful and warrant the same action. Several toys contained levels of SCCPs above the current proposals to limit amounts of the chemical in hazardous waste, meaning the toys could be considered hazardous waste under health-protective guidelines.

“We were very disturbed to find that our children’s toys contain these highly toxic chemicals. Many plastics contain toxic chemicals, and our study shows these chemicals can make their way into our homes in products our children and families use,” said Mme. Kouyaté Goundo Sissoko from ONG Appui pour la Valorisation et la Promotion des Initiatives Privées (ONG AVPIP] in Mali. “Industry must end their use of toxic chemicals in plastics. Our children deserve safe toys.”   

International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2023

IPENers Back Accelerated Elimination of Lead Paints to End Childhood Lead Poisoning

Participating organizations (POs) of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) are taking part in the 11th edition of the annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week from October 22 to 28 that will put the spot light on lead, a major toxic threat to public health. With the end goal of protecting the health of children and other vulnerable groups such as women of reproductive age and workers, the POs will engage government, industry, and civil society stakeholders, as well as the media, to urge the authorities to adopt strong lead paint control instruments or push for effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms in countries with existing lead paint laws.

IPEN is a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a joint program of WHO and UNEP and convener of ILPPW. Since 2009, work conducted by IPEN, its member groups, and collaboration partners in the Alliance has ended manufacturing and selling lead paints by many companies, influenced the development of new regulatory controls in several countries, and supported stakeholders with tools they need to effect change.

Unfortunately, lead paint continues to be used in the majority of countries around the world. To move swiftly toward ending the use of lead paint, IPEN calls for national actions to adopt regulations banning the use of lead in all paint, and for listing of lead chromates, the pigments used in lead paints, under the Rotterdam Convention.

During ILPPW, IPEN POs will face the press, dialogue with policy makers, reach out to corporate executives, raise awareness and influence public opinion through the social media and other means in support of the global phase-out of paints containing lead additives. Some POs will use the occasion to advocate for the listing of lead chromates under the Rotterdam Convention’s prior informed consent (PIC) procedure to control the international trade of these most common lead-based pigments and the paints containing them.

Members of IPEN with representatives from Pesticide Action Network, Inuit Circumpolar Council, and Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Two groups of toxic chemicals, the PFAS “forever chemicals” PFCAs and the class of plastics additives medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs) meet the criteria for chemicals that should be globally banned, according to the Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review Committee (POPRC).

The Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review Committee (POPRC) is a subsidiary body to the Stockholm Convention established for reviewing chemicals proposed for global regulation. The 19th meeting of POPRC will convene in Rome this October 9-13. 

The Fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) will meet in Bonn, Germany from 25 - 29 September 2023. It aims to approve a new Beyond 2020 Instrument for the sound management of chemicals and waste. In addition, a resumed meeting of the intersessional process (IP4) will be held to finalize recommendations for ICCM5.

The second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC1) of the Plastics Treaty will take place from 29 May – 2 June 2023 in Paris, France.

See all of our work on toxic plastics at StopPoisonPlastic.org

New Report Outlines Science on Health Threats from Plastic Recycling

A new report from Greenpeace USA, in collaboration with IPEN and The Last Beach Cleanup, shows that recycling actually increases the toxicity of plastics and highlights the threats that recycled plastics pose to the health of consumers, frontline communities, and workers in the recycling sector. Along with previous research showing that very little plastic reaches recycling facilities, the report concludes that the upcoming global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris must focus on capping and then phasing down plastic production. Read the press release here.

 

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