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A Toxics-Free Future

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Highlights Front Roll

Understanding the Connection between COVID-19 and Chemicals
Report Highlights Threats of Toxic Additives in Plastic
Holding Producers Responsible: Financing the Sound Management of Chemicals
Australia plastics waste ban highjacked by incineration proposals
IPEN Leader Speaks Against US Dumping Plastics and Chemicals in Africa
Study Reveals High Levels of Lead in Spray Paints
New Study Proves Dioxins in Plastic Toys Harm Children
Webinar series helps communities face wave of waste-to-energy proposals that hide toxic effects

Zero Waste Australia in concert with IPEN has created a webinar series aimed at steering communities back to an environmentally sound plastics waste strategy that doesn’t include waste-to-energy incineration projects, after the incineration industry seized upon a national declaration to end waste exports.

In 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) declared that waste plastic, glass, paper and tyres would no longer be exported, stating that: "The COAG waste export ban is the first step in taking responsibility for our own waste and using this resource to create jobs, spark innovation, and deliver strong environmental outcomes."

The waste industry was quick to see an opportunity. Now, much of Australia's waste will be reprocessed into Process Engineered Fuel and Refuse Derived Fuel — both mixtures of waste that include discarded material, including plastics — for continued export overseas or as fuel for paper mills, cement plants, and waste-to-energy incinerators in Australia.

The twelfth meeting of the Basel Convention Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG12) is taking place in a planned two-session approach due to the Covid-19 crisis: an online segment on September 1st - 3d and if possible, a face-to-face meeting in March. Recorded briefings on the set-up from UNEP are available in the UN languages here.

The online session will not take any decisions or negotiate any text but instead will focus on presentations of progress of the intersessional process, such as the various technical guidelines followed by interventions. More information about the online segment and meeting documents is available here and here.

Read IPEN's Interventions

View online side events

IPEN was well represented at the first segment of the 12th Open Ended Working Group of the Basel Convention along with delegates from scores of countries across the globe. The meeting sought to confirm schedules for advancing reviews of key technical guidelines for addressing some of the most critical global pollution issues in the world today including the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes such as plastic, mercury, and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The advancement of the technical guidance is to allow their presentation for adoption at COP 15 of the Basel Convention in July 2021.

More Governments Must Ratify the Treaty to Protect the Health of Children and the Environment

In a short video message on the third anniversary of the enactment of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, Minamata Disease survivors Ms Shinobu Sakamo and Mr Koichiro Matsunaga appeal to viewers to help encourage governments to ratify the treaty. Greater regulation of mercury use and trade are necessary to protect the health of people, and ensure not only that industries are held accountable, but that children are protected from the dangers of mercury poisoning now and in the future.

Impact will be felt in Asia Pacific region and the rest of the world

(Shenzhen, China) – The People’s Republic of China, one of the largest and fastest growing paint producing countries in the world, has established new health protective standards for lead in paint. Because China is Asia’s largest paint producer and has nearly one-third of the global market for paints, the new regulations will have important health ramifications not only in China, but throughout Asia and the rest of the world. The new standards will take effect December 1, 2020.

Re-exportation of Illegal Trash Re-Ignites Call to Ban All Waste Imports

Quezon City, PhIlippines - After sitting in Northern Mindanao for two years, the final batch of 80 container vans of contaminated plastic waste from South Korea are set to sail home this week amid the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

Deceptively declared as “plastic synthetic flakes,” the contaminated plastic waste materials, which arrived in July and October 2018 at the ports in Villanueva and Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, were found by the authorities to contain unsorted plastic materials, used dextrose tubes, soiled diapers, discarded electronics and household garbage in violation of national laws and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

Following successful bilateral negotiations led by the Bureau of Customs-Region 10, which the EcoWaste Coalition attended, a total of 251 container vans of illegal waste shipments were re-exported to South Korea this year on July 18 (53 containers), March 27 (47 containers), February 16 (50 containers) and January 19 (50 containers), and last year on January 19 (51 containers). The last 80 containers are scheduled for re-shipment on August 4 and 8 bringing the total number of returned containers loaded with garbage to 331.

“The completion of the complicated re-exportation procedures in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis that continues to disrupt and claim people’s lives is a big win in our people's pursuit of environmental justice and the rule of law during these most difficult times,” declared Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

The company has already done so in the USA and Canada and should not operate a double standard in Mexico

(Mexico City) - IPEN environmental and health organizations, together with other civil society organizations, sent a letter yesterday to the Ministry of Health, the Federal Commission for the Protection of Sanitary Risks and the Federal Attorney's Office of the Consumer, requesting to end the sale of J&J baby powder and any other brands containing mineral talc, to avoid risks to the health of consumers by applying the Precautionary Principle.

Click the link above to read the letter and press release (Spanish).

Ground-breaking report finds greater monitoring needed

Quezon City, Philippines/Gothenburg, Sweden - In the first public study of its kind, environmental health groups EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN uncovered spray paints with dangerous lead concentrations — some samples containing levels hundreds of times higher than global standards — on sale in the Philippines in violation of the country’s law banning lead in paints.

The report shows that nearly half of the spray paints tested exceeded the total lead content limit above 90 parts per million (ppm), and nearly a third contained levels higher than 10,000 ppm. Samples were obtained from various retail outlets, including hardware stores, home improvement centers, general merchandise marts, school and office supplies shops, in 20 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila and various parts of Luzon.

Several of the spray paints containing lead were imported from countries with existing, legally-binding lead paint regulations, such as China and Thailand. The Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) confirmed that none of the analyzed samples in this study was produced by one of its affiliates.

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